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Europe’s gas alliance with Russia is a match made in heaven

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | November 3, 2019

Amidst the excitement over the killing of the ISIS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, a development of much impact on international security passed by when Denmark made the innocuous announcement on October 30 that it would permit the proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to pass through its exclusive economic zone.

Copenhagen modestly explained that it was “obliged to allow the construction of transit pipelines” under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Nord Stream 2, which will connect Russia’s Leningrad Region  to Germany’s Baltic coast, bypassing the traditional route via Ukraine, aims to double the capacity of the already-built Nord Stream 1 to 110 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year that is more than a quarter of the European Union’s gas consumption.

On October 31, Gazprom, Russia’s energy Leviathan, had said 83 percent of the pipeline construction — more than 2100 km of the pipeline — was complete. The permit to construct in the Danish Exclusive Economic Zone south-east of Bornholm covers a 147-km-long route section.

Pipelay has been completed in Russian, Finnish and Swedish waters, and for the most part in German waters. The construction of both landfall facilities in Russia and Germany is nearing completion. Thus, the development last week signifies that Russia is certain to finish the project by the end of this year.

Despite the rising tensions in Russia’s relations with the United States, a massive energy project is all set to slither along the seabed between Russia and the European Union. The US wants to stifle the serpent in its infancy but Germany and Russia navigated it to the home stretch.

The project is expected to ensure safe and stable supplies of gas to Europe. The competitive Russian gas supplies will enable European customers to save anywhere around 8 billion euros on their gas bill in 2020.

More importantly, according to a study conducted by the University of Cologne EWI, “When Nord Stream 2 is available, Russia can supply more gas to the EU decreasing the need to import more expensive LNG. Hence, the import price for the remaining LNG volumes decreases, thereby reducing the overall EU-28 price level.”

Herein lies the rub. Europe has become a natural gas battleground for the US and Russia. Of course, apart from being a prized market, Europe is also a political battleground between the US and Russia.

Russia traditionally dominated the European market while the European Union appears to be keen to wean itself off Russian gas, given the geopolitical implications of over-reliance on Moscow for its energy security. On the other hand, the US is looking to step up its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe and faces a big resourceful competitor who cannot be dislodged from the market  — Russia.

Russia loomed large as the largest supplier of natural gas to the EU in 2018. According to the European Commission’s latest data on EU imports of energy products in October, eleven member states imported in 2018 more than 75 percent of their total national imports of natural gas from Russia.

Russia has multiple pipelines in operation, which gives it a big advantage in cutting down transportation costs for the European consumers, as compared to more expensive LNG imports from the US. Clearly, both geoeconomics and geopolitics are at play here.

The US’ transatlantic leadership is largely conditional on the climate of relations between Europe and Russia in general and between Germany and Russia in particular. Washington is acutely conscious that Nord Stream 2 can provide the underpinning for a stable, predictable relationship between Europe and Russia, which would go against the grain of the Trump administration’s projection of Russia as a revisionist power that the US is determined to counter.   

In sum, Washington apprehends that if Nord Stream 2 is completed, it will come as a severe blow to transatlantic relations, although on the face of it, the US has been arguing that the project runs counter to the Western sanctions imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea.

Actually, this argument is sheer sophistry, since Europe’s dependence on Russian energy supplies is a legacy inherited from the days of the Soviet Union. Moscow is a stakeholder in preserving its reputation as a stable, reliable supplier of energy to Europe at competitive prices. The crux of the matter is that the European consumer prefers the cheaper Russian gas to the expensive LNG exports from the US.

Meanwhile, the Ukraine crisis alerted Russia to the geopolitical reality that it could be vulnerable to US pressure politically, which in turn prompted its energy pivot to China. Gazprom aims to become China’s top gas exporter by 2035. When the Power of Siberia pipeline (under construction in Eastern Siberia to transport gas to Far East countries) becomes active later this year, it will deliver 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually to China, which will make China Russia’s second-largest gas customer after Germany.

However, paradoxically, Russia’s gas exports to Europe are only increasing in recent years. In 2018, Gazprom’s gas sales to Europe and its share of Europe’s gas market reached record highs. This trend can only continue as the Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream pipelines, which will become active shortly this year, will deliver an additional 86.5 billion cubic meters annually to Europe.

Simply put, Europe’s addiction to Russian gas remains a fact of life and with the continent’s own gas production on the decline, Europe needs to import much bigger volumes of gas and lots of it is going to come from Russia.

The amazing part has been the dogged resistance by Germany to the US pressure tactic to abandon Nord Stream 2. The US even threatened to sanction German companies; US Congress passed resolutions calling for an end to construction of the pipeline. Germany’s manufacturing economy is dependent on imports for 98% of its oil and 92% of its gas supply, and cheap gas is the lifeblood of its export-based economy.

But then, there could be more to it politically than meets the eye. Can it be a coincidence that Germany is also resisting US pressure to shut out Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G networks? Like with Nord Stream 2, Washington advanced the same argument apropos Huawei — national security concerns. But Germany snubbed the calls from the US.

The Economist magazine wrote some months ago that the “The Atlantic Ocean is starting to look awfully wide. To Europeans the United States  appears ever more remote.” To be sure, the coming into fruition of Nord Stream 2 is yet another sign that the transatlantic relationship currently faces significant challenges.

The US-European policy divisions have emerged on a wide range of regional and global issues. Although US and European policies toward Russia remain broadly aligned, Nord Stream 2 turned out to be a key US-European friction point.

November 3, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 1 Comment

Another regional election defeat for Merkel, as German leader’s party beaten by right-wing AfD

RT | October 27, 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) lost yet another regional election, coming behind both left-wing Linke and right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the eastern state of Thuringia.

It’s not the first time in 2019 that Germany’s ruling party has taken a hammering in local polls. Merkel’s CDU and its coalition partner, the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD) already saw their formerly safe lead in Saxony and Brandenburg eroded last month by the rise of the AfD.

The AfD, which surged from nothing into third place in 2017’s federal elections, took 23.8 percent of the vote in Thuringia, according to exit polls released Sunday. Merkel’s CDU took 22.5 percent. The left-wing Linke won the state, taking 29.7 percent of the vote.

At the back of the pack, the SPD took 8.5 percent, while the Greens took 5.4.

For the AfD, pipping the CDU into second place is a major coup, considering the party only managed to win 10 percent in the last election in 2014. Back then, the CDU was the overall winner, with 33.5 percent, though Linke, the SPD, and the Greens would band together to form a coalition government.

For the CDU and SPD, Sunday’s results are the worst since reunification three decades ago.

Thuringia is a small state with a population of 2.1 million that used to be part of the Eastern Bloc.

Though the CDU and SPD remain in power in the west of the country, the ruling centrists have seen their support eviscerated in the east, pointing to a culture clash of sorts between both sides of the old Cold War-era border. The east remains relatively disadvantaged compared to the west, and the AfD has courted the region’s electorate by opposing the closure of coal mines and calling for urban regeneration.

Linke too has positioned itself as a champion of the working class, promising increased social spending, a raised minimum wage, and tax increases on the wealthy.

Opposition to Merkel’s ‘open door’ immigration policies saw the AfD initially surge in popularity, after the chancellor welcomed more than a million migrants to Germany in 2015. Since then, the party has found support in the east, where public opinion against immigration is strongest.

And, while Germany’s green party enjoyed strong support in this summer’s European elections, its share of the vote remained stagnant in Thuringia, suggesting that the environmentalism currently in vogue in the west finds few fans in poorer parts of the country.

“Thuringians have voted for the Wende 2.0,” Bjoern Hoecke, the AfD’s leader in the state, said on Sunday. “This is a clear sign that a large part of Thuringia says: This can’t go on. We need renewal – this should be taken seriously.”

“Wende” is a German word meaning “turnaround,” and was used to describe the collapse of East Germany three deacdes ago. AfD leaders have repeatedly used the phrase on the campaign trail in eastern states, suggesting that the demise of Merkel’s centrism is every bit the revolution the fall of communism was.

With the center gutted and the AfD and Linke taking the most votes, there is little in common between both parties, save for a more friendly attitude to relations with Russia than Merkel’s. Both are currently enjoying more support than would have been imaginable in 2014, though every single mainstream German party has ruled out working with the AfD.

October 27, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Bundestag MPs demand that US troops leave Germany to avoid tensions with Russia

RT | October 25, 2019

German MPs have demanded that the government expel US forces stationed in Germany. MPs argue that their presence only serves the purposes of the US illegal wars in the Middle East and stokes tensions with Moscow.

Lawmakers from the opposition Left Party have tabled a motion calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to immediately stop financing the American military presence in the country and to annul a 1990 treaty allowing US soldiers to be deployed on German soil in the first instance.

“More than 35,000 US soldiers are stationed in Germany, more than in any other European land,” the document, published on the Bundestag’s website, points out, adding that American military bases are used to further Washington’s “policy of war in the Middle East.” The lawmakers particularly expressed their outrage over the fact that the German bases are used “in the continuing illegal practice of targeted US assassinations in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” apparently referring to the American use of strike drones.

The document also states that the continued presence of American forces on German soil leads to nothing but escalation of an already tense situation with regard to relations with Russia. The MPs also denounced any deployment of American troops to bases in Poland and other Central and Eastern European states, saying that such actions cannot be interpreted as anything but “war preparations.”

They also drew attention to the fact that the US troops are being transferred through the territory of the former East Germany, thus violating the spirit of the 1990 ‘2+4’ agreement that facilitated Germany’s reunification on condition that no foreign troops or nuclear weapons would be deployed or stationed there.

A stockpile of 20 US nuclear bombs at the Buehel airbase in western Germany also came in for criticism from the MPs, who found the possibility of these weapons being used by the German Air Forces “in case of emergency” quite disturbing. [The American military] “presence is incompatible with the peace principle enshrined in the constitution.”

The Basic Law, as it is called in Germany, indeed states that “acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional.”

Yet, Berlin apparently is not planning to get rid of the American forces on its soil just yet. The 2020 federal budget shows that the German taxpayer would have to spend €71 million ($78.72 million) on the upkeep of the US and other foreign forces stationed on its territory.

Washington, however, believes this is not enough. In August, two American ambassadors, Georgette Mosbacher in Warsaw and Richard Grenell in Berlin, have hinted that the US was so angry with Berlin not spending enough on defense that it may relocate its forces to neighboring Poland.

“It’s really insulting to expect the US taxpayers to keep paying for over 50,000 Americans in Germany,” Grenell told DPA news agency at that time. The remark sparked quite a stir among German politicians, with Dietmar Bartsch, an MP from the Left Party, saying that American should indeed pull out and take their nukes with them.

Ordinary Germans also do not seem to be particularly scared of the US troops suddenly stripping them of their “protection” as most said that a withdrawal from Germany of American forces would not make them any less secure, according to an August survey.

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

US and EU Gang up to Demonize Iran Over Saudi Airstrikes

Strategic Culture Foundation | September 27, 2019

The European Union’s statement this week condemning Iran over the recent airstrikes on Saudi Arabia’s key oil industry sites was a tawdry piece of political cowardice. Not only tawdry, but dangerous as well.

For the EU is giving credence to Washington’s intensified attempts to demonize Iran, imposing ever-harsher economic sanctions and escalating tensions that could explode into an all-out war. Ironically, this is in spite of the EU claiming to be facilitating diplomacy to promote peace and security in the Middle East.

To be more precise, it wasn’t an EU joint statement issued at the United Nations general assembly this week. It was a statement formulated by only three members of the bloc: Britain, France and Germany. In practice, however, the biggest members of the EU were speaking on behalf of the others. (Full statement here.)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated the following:

“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais, and reaffirm in this context our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its population. It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.”

Thus, the Europeans are repeating assertions made by the United States and Saudi Arabia by which they accuse Iran of being responsible for firing drones and cruise missiles at the vital Saudi oil installations. No credible proof has so far been presented to support such an assertion.

The European powers are engaging in a reprehensible blame game which will only embolden further Washington’s reckless aggression against Iran.

Tehran has categorically rejected all accusations that it was in some way involved in the airstrikes against Saudi Arabia. The Yemeni Houthi rebels have from the outset following the attacks claimed full responsibility.

Iran may support the Yemeni rebels and have at some time provided weapon technology, but the Houthis are capable of developing and deploying their own fire power.

By blaming Iran, the US and Europeans are giving political cover to Saudi Arabia and its nefarious role in starting and waging a genocidal war against Yemen for the past four years. It is arguably the right of the Yemenis to retaliate against Saudi Arabia in acts of self-defense. And it is in Iran’s right to support the Yemenis, just as the US, British and French support Saudi Arabia. Why should there be a double standard?

What is even more despicable is that the European trio (the so-called E3) have been massive weapons suppliers to Saudi Arabia, in particular Britain and France. The British and French (and Americans, of course) have made hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years from weaponizing the Saudi war on Yemen, even though that has led to nearly 100,000 civilian deaths. Why doesn’t the E3 issue condemnation, rather than “solidarity” to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, over this genocidal slaughter?

A further aspect to the joint statement issued by Britain, France and Germany is that these powers are signaling their support for US President Donald Trump’s efforts at sabotaging the international nuclear accord with Iran. That landmark deal was co-signed by the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China back in July 2015.

Trump reneged on the UN-endorsed treaty when he unilaterally walked away from it in May 2018. It was typical American bad faith and backsliding whenever international agreements don’t suit their selfish interests.

Russia and China continue to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is known formally as). Iran has recently begun to suspend certain commitments, such as increasing stocks of enriched uranium. The Iranian position of partial non-compliance is understandable. The US has trashed its obligations to the deal, and the Europeans have barely stepped up to the plate to implement sanctions relief for Iran, which is mandated by the JCPOA. Four years after the deal was done!

Britain, France and Germany claim to be still committed to the nuclear deal, according to a press statement by EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini at the UN this week.

But it is evident that, on the contrary, the E3 troika is instead moving to undermine the JCPOA. Blaming Iran with groundless accusations of attacking Saudi Arabia is part of the sinister shift by stealth. The day before the E3 issued their joint statement, Britain’s Boris Johnson was disparaging the nuclear as a “bad deal” and urged a renegotiation for what he sycophantically called a “Trump deal”.

Here is another weasel-worded section from the EU joint statement:

“Conscious of the importance of collective efforts to guarantee regional stability and security, we reiterate our conviction that the time has come for Iran to accept negotiation [sic] on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery… We urge Iran to engage in such a dialogue and refrain from further provocation and escalation.”

That is a clear – albeit with backhanded verbosity – attempt to pressure Iran into accepting Trump’s demand for the JCPOA to be replaced by further restrictions on Iran’s rights to pursue self-defense and normal regional and international relations. In weak-kneed fashion, the EU is augmenting Trump’s agenda of demonizing and criminalizing Iran so that it might succumb to subjugation.

Why the Europeans are acting with such cynicism is to conceal the glaring fact of their own weakness vis-a-vis Washington’s dictates and imperialist bullying. They should be admonishing the Americans for bad faith and reckless aggression; they should be condemning Saudi Arabia for a merciless slaughter in Yemen; they should be with-holding lucrative weapons sales to Saudi Arabia if they were really interested in peace; and if the Europeans really were genuine about non-proliferation and Middle Eastern stability, they should be whole-heartedly implementing the nuclear accord with Iran and providing the country the normalized economic trade that it is entitled to – just as Russia and China have done.

But no. And so to cover up their spinelessness, the Europeans are obliged to gang up with Washington to blame the victim of imperialist abuse – Iran. Such European cowardice is leading to more conflict.

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Revisiting Stuxnet: The Israeli-American Computer Virus That Started Cyber-Warfare

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | September 8, 2019

New evidence has surfaced to demonstrate how both American and Israeli intelligence services, aided by European partners, have long been targeting Iran in spite of clear evidence that it constituted no threat. The story involves the Stuxnet virus or “worm,” which was first employed in 2007 and eventually identified and exposed by cybersecurity experts in 2010. It constituted one of the first effective uses of a cyber-weapon, carried out in secret by two countries against a third country with which the two were not at war.

Stuxnet was one of a series of viruses developed by Israel and the United States shortly after the turn of the century to target and disrupt specific operating systems in computers by accessing what are referred to as the programmable logic controllers, which operate and manage machinery, to include the centrifuges that are employed in separating and enriching nuclear material. The systems are accessed through Microsoft Windows operating systems and networks, which in turn provide access to the Siemens software that was in use at the Iranian nuclear research facility at Natanz. The centrifuges themselves could be ordered by the virus to speed up and spin wildly, causing them in many cases to tear themselves apart.

The insertion of Stuxnet in the Iranian computers in 2007 by means of a thumb drive reportedly ruined twenty percent of Iran’s existing centrifuges, more than 1,000 machines, but it also spread and infected several hundred thousand computers using Microsoft and Siemens software and eventually wound up in large numbers of machines outside Iran. Though the Stuxnet virus had been designed with safeguards to prevent its spread, it did eventually infect other computers and propagate worldwide. Its use by its developers was regarded as particularly reckless after it was discovered and identified.

Ironically, two comprehensive studies by the American Government’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted in 2007 and 2012 determined that no Iranian nuclear weapons program existed and that Iran had never taken any serious steps to initiate such research. Israel was also aware that there was no program but it was active in planting fabricated information suggesting that a secret facility existed that was engaged in weapon development. It has frequently been observed that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warning for twenty years that Iran is “six months away” from having an atomic bomb.

Nevertheless, even though the Iranian nuclear threat was known to be a fantasy by 2007 at the latest, the Israeli government, sometimes working in collusion with American intelligence agencies, took steps to interfere with Iran’s existing and completely legal and open to inspection civilian atomic energy program. A multifaceted plan was developed and executed that included using surrogates to identify then kill Iranian scientists and technicians while also developing and introducing viruses into the country’s computer systems. This was in spite of the fact that Iran was fully compliant with international norms on nuclear research and had its facilities regularly inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran was also a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Israel, possessing its own nuclear arsenal consisting of as many as 200 weapons, had refused to sign.

All of the background to Stuxnet has been known for some time, but one mystery remained: how did the virus get introduced into the Natanz computers as the research center was “quarantined” and not connected to the internet so that it could not be attacked from outside? That question has now been answered.

The Dutch external intelligence service AIVD had been approached by the U.S. and Israel in 2004 to provide help in locating a suitable Iranian to be groomed for the project. At that time, Holland had a large expat Iranian community and it was a relatively easy country for Iranian travelers to enter. Eventually, an Iranian engineer was identified, recruited and trained to plant the Stuxnet virus at the Natanz Iranian nuclear research site in 2007, with the objective of sabotaging the uranium enrichment centrifuges in what was to be the first-ever major use of a cyber-weapon.

The actual insertion of the thumb drive was part of a broader operation which began with a thorough debriefing of the engineer, who had previously been a contractor at Natanz, regarding the location of the centrifuges and other hardware within the facility, making it possible to write code that could target the centrifuges and their control systems specifically.

The Israeli-American-Dutch agent/mole, who was responding to an offer of considerable money and resettlement in the West, set up a computer systems maintenance and repair company in Iran that eventually was able to obtain contract work at Natanz. The agent made several visits to the facility to fine-tune his approach to installing the virus prior to actually doing so.

According to the media report, the operation was called the “Olympic Games” after the five-ring Olympian symbol because it wound up including the intelligence agencies of five countries after Germany and France joined in on the effort. It should be noted that Holland, Germany and France all had nominally friendly relations with Iran at the time. Then U.S. President George W. Bush personally approved the attack after his concerns that the virus might escape from Iran and cause a major international crisis were addressed by technical experts.

There were several arrests and executions at Natanz after the virus was discovered and it is not known if the Dutch mole ever collected on his money and the promised resettlement. More recently, Iran entered into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the U.S., the United Nations, Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia in 2015. President Donald Trump withdrew from the arrangement last year for reasons best described a fatuous and, as of now, JCPOA is still in place but under considerable strain from all sides.

One might argue that the continuing Iran nuclear crisis all started with the reckless deployment of Stuxnet, which was based on a flawed assessment, did not have to be done, and was executed for all the wrong reasons, primarily consisting of pressure from Israel on Washington to “do something.” It also demonstrated that cyber-warfare was for real and could do great damage to infrastructure, a genie that has been let out of the bottle and has made the world a much less safe place. It has, in fact, become a global problem that continues to vex politicians and national security experts worldwide.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Germany Invaded Poland

By John Wear – Inconvenient History – 2019-01-15

Great Britain’s Blank Check to Poland

On March 21, 1939, while hosting French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain discussed a joint front with France, Russia and Poland to act together against German aggression. France agreed at once, and the Russians agreed on the condition that both France and Poland sign first. However, Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck vetoed the agreement on March 24, 1939.[1] Polish statesmen feared Russia more than they did Germany. Polish Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz told the French ambassador, “With the Germans we risk losing our liberty; with the Russians we lose our soul.”[2]

Another complication arose in European diplomacy when a movement among the residents of Memel in Lithuania sought to join Germany. The Allied victors in the Versailles Treaty had detached Memel from East Prussia and placed it in a separate League of Nations protectorate. Lithuania then proceeded to seize Memel from the League of Nations shortly after World War I. Memel was historically a German city which in the seven centuries of its history had never separated from its East Prussian homeland. Germany was so weak after World War I that it could not prevent the tiny new-born nation of Lithuania from seizing Memel.[3]

Germany’s occupation of Prague in March 1939 had generated uncontrollable excitement among the mostly German population of Memel. The population of Memel was clamoring to return to Germany and could no longer be restrained. The Lithuanian foreign minister traveled to Berlin on March 22, 1939, where he agreed to the immediate transfer of Memel to Germany. The annexation of Memel into Germany went through the next day. The question of Memel exploded of itself without any deliberate German plan of annexation.[4] Polish leaders agreed that the return of Memel to Germany from Lithuania would not constitute an issue of conflict between Germany and Poland.[5]

What did cause conflict between Germany and Poland was the so-called Free City of Danzig. Danzig was founded in the early 14th century and was historically the key port at the mouth of the great Vistula River. From the beginning Danzig was inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, with the Polish minority in 1922 constituting less than 3% of the city’s 365,000 inhabitants. The Treaty of Versailles converted Danzig from a German provincial capital into a League of Nations protectorate subject to numerous strictures established for the benefit of Poland. The great preponderance of the citizens of Danzig had never wanted to leave Germany, and they were eager to return to Germany in 1939. Their eagerness to join Germany was exacerbated by the fact that Germany’s economy was healthy while Poland’s economy was still mired in depression.[6]

Many of the German citizens of Danzig had consistently demonstrated their unwavering loyalty to National Socialism and its principles. They had even elected a National Socialist parliamentary majority before this result had been achieved in Germany. It was widely known that Poland was constantly seeking to increase her control over Danzig despite the wishes of Danzig’s German majority. Hitler was not opposed to Poland’s further economic aspirations at Danzig, but Hitler was resolved never to permit the establishment of a Polish political regime at Danzig. Such a renunciation of Danzig by Hitler would have been a repudiation of the loyalty of Danzig citizens to the Third Reich and their spirit of self-determination.[7]

Germany presented a proposal for a comprehensive settlement of the Danzig question with Poland on October 24, 1938. Hitler’s plan would allow Germany to annex Danzig and construct a superhighway and a railroad to East Prussia. In return Poland would be granted a permanent free port in Danzig and the right to build her own highway and railroad to the port. The entire Danzig area would also become a permanent free market for Polish goods on which no German customs duties would be levied. Germany would take the unprecedented step of recognizing and guaranteeing the existing German-Polish frontier, including the boundary in Upper Silesia established in 1922. This later provision was extremely important since the Versailles Treaty had given Poland much additional territory which Germany proposed to renounce. Hitler’s offer to guarantee Poland’s frontiers also carried with it a degree of military security that no other non-Communist nation could match.[8]

Germany’s proposed settlement with Poland was far less favorable to Germany than the Thirteenth Point of Wilson’s program at Versailles. The Versailles Treaty gave Poland large slices of territory in regions such as West Prussia and Western Posen which were overwhelmingly German. The richest industrial section of Upper Silesia was also later given to Poland despite the fact that Poland had lost the plebiscite there.[9] Germany was willing to renounce these territories in the interest of German-Polish cooperation. This concession of Hitler’s was more than adequate to compensate for the German annexation of Danzig and construction of a superhighway and a railroad in the Corridor. The Polish diplomats themselves believed that Germany’s proposal was a sincere and realistic basis for a permanent agreement.[10]

On March 26, 1939, the Polish Ambassador to Berlin, Joseph Lipski, formally rejected Germany’s settlement proposals. The Poles had waited over five months to reject Germany’s proposals, and they refused to countenance any change in existing conditions. Lipski stated to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop that “it was his painful duty to draw attention to the fact that any further pursuance of these German plans, especially where the return of Danzig to the Reich was concerned, meant war with Poland.”[11]

Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck accepted an offer from Great Britain on March 30, 1939, to give an unconditional guarantee of Poland’s independence. The British Empire agreed to go to war as an ally of Poland if the Poles decided that war was necessary. In words drafted by British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, Chamberlain spoke in the House of Commons on March 31, 1939:

I now have to inform the House… that 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. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to that effect.[12]

Great Britain for the first time in history had left the decision whether or not to fight a war outside of her own country to another nation. Britain’s guarantee to Poland was binding without commitments from the Polish side. The British public was astonished by this move. Despite its unprecedented nature, Halifax encountered little difficulty in persuading the British Conservative, Liberal and Labor parties to accept Great Britain’s unconditional guarantee to Poland.[13]

Numerous British historians and diplomats have criticized Britain’s unilateral guarantee of Poland. For example, British diplomat Roy Denman called the war guarantee to Poland “the most reckless undertaking ever given by a British government. It placed the decision on peace or war in Europe in the hands of a reckless, intransigent, swashbuckling military dictatorship.”[14] British historian Niall Ferguson states that the war guarantee to Poland tied Britain’s “destiny to that of a regime that was every bit as undemocratic and anti-Semitic as that of Germany.”[15] English military historian Liddell Hart stated that the Polish guarantee “placed Britain’s destiny in the hands of Poland’s rulers, men of very dubious and unstable judgment. Moreover, the guarantee was impossible to fulfill except with Russia’s help.…”[16]

American historian Richard M. Watt writes concerning Britain’s unilateral guarantee to Poland: “This enormously broad guarantee virtually left to the Poles the decision whether or not Britain would go to war. For Britain to give such a blank check to a Central European nation, particularly to Poland—a nation that Britain had generally regarded as irresponsible and greedy—was mind-boggling.”[17]

When the Belgian Minister to Germany, Vicomte Jacques Davignon, received the text of the British guarantee to Poland, he exclaimed that “blank check” was the only possible description of the British pledge. Davignon was extremely alarmed in view of the proverbial recklessness of the Poles. German State Secretary Ernst von Weizsäcker attempted to reassure Davignon by claiming that the situation between Germany and Poland was not tragic. However, Davignon correctly feared that the British move would produce war in a very short time.[18]

Weizsäcker later exclaimed scornfully that “the British guarantee to Poland was like offering sugar to an untrained child before it had learned to listen to reason!”[19]

The Deterioration of German-Polish Relations

German-Polish relationships had become strained by the increasing harshness with which the Polish authorities handled the German minority. The Polish government in the 1930s began to confiscate the land of its German minority at bargain prices through public expropriation. The German government resented the fact that German landowners received only one-eighth of the value of their holdings from the Polish government. Since the Polish public was aware of the German situation and desired to exploit it, the German minority in Poland could not sell the land in advance of expropriation. Furthermore, Polish law forbade Germans from privately selling large areas of land.

German diplomats insisted that the November 1937 Minorities Pact with Poland for the equal treatment of German and Polish landowners be observed in 1939. Despite Polish assurances of fairness and equal treatment, German diplomats learned on February 15, 1939, that the latest expropriations of land in Poland were predominantly of German holdings. These expropriations virtually eliminated substantial German landholdings in Poland at a time when most of the larger Polish landholdings were still intact. It became evident that nothing could be done diplomatically to help the German minority in Poland.[20]

Poland threatened Germany with a partial mobilization of her forces on March 23, 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Polish Army reservists were mobilized, and Hitler was warned that Poland would fight to prevent the return of Danzig to Germany. The Poles were surprised to discover that Germany did not take this challenge seriously. Hitler, who deeply desired friendship with Poland, refrained from responding to the Polish threat of war. Germany did not threaten Poland and took no precautionary military measures in response to the Polish partial mobilization.[21]

Hitler regarded a German-Polish agreement as a highly welcome alternative to a German-Polish war. However, no further negotiations for a German-Polish agreement occurred after the British guarantee to Poland because Józef Beck refused to negotiate. Beck ignored repeated German suggestions for further negotiations because Beck knew that Halifax hoped to accomplish the complete destruction of Germany. Halifax had considered an Anglo-German war inevitable since 1936, and Britain’s anti-German policy was made public with a speech by Neville Chamberlain on March 17, 1939. Halifax discouraged German-Polish negotiations because he was counting on Poland to provide the pretext for a British pre-emptive war against Germany.[22]

The situation between Germany and Poland deteriorated rapidly during the six weeks from the Polish partial mobilization of March 23, 1939, to a speech delivered by Józef Beck on May 5, 1939. Beck’s primary purpose in delivering his speech before the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, was to convince the Polish public and the world that he was able and willing to challenge Hitler. Beck knew that Halifax had succeeded in creating a warlike atmosphere in Great Britain, and that he could go as far as he wanted without displeasing the British. Beck took an uncompromising attitude in his speech that effectively closed the door to further negotiations with Germany.

Beck made numerous false and hypocritical statements in his speech. One of the most astonishing claims in his speech was that there was nothing extraordinary about the British guarantee to Poland. He described it as a normal step in the pursuit of friendly relations with a neighboring country. This was in sharp contrast to British diplomat Sir Alexander Cadogan’s statement to Joseph Kennedy that Britain’s guarantee to Poland was without precedent in the entire history of British foreign policy.[23]

Beck ended his speech with a stirring climax that produced wild excitement in the Polish Sejm. Someone in the audience screamed loudly, “We do not need peace!” and pandemonium followed. Beck had made many Poles in the audience determined to fight Germany. This feeling resulted from their ignorance which made it impossible for them to criticize the numerous falsehoods and misstatements in Beck’s speech. Beck made the audience feel that Hitler had insulted the honor of Poland with what were actually quite reasonable peace proposals. Beck had effectively made Germany the deadly enemy of Poland.[24]

More than 1 million ethnic Germans resided in Poland at the time of Beck’s speech, and these Germans were the principal victims of the German-Polish crisis in the coming weeks. The Germans in Poland were subjected to increasing doses of violence from the dominant Poles. The British public was told repeatedly that the grievances of the German minority in Poland were largely imaginary. The average British citizen was completely unaware of the terror and fear of death that stalked these Germans in Poland. Ultimately, many thousands of Germans in Poland died in consequence of the crisis. They were among the first victims of British Foreign Secretary Halifax’s war policy against Germany.[25]

The immediate responsibility for security measures involving the German minority in Poland rested with Interior Department Ministerial Director Waclaw Zyborski. Zyborski consented to discuss the situation on June 23, 1939, with Walther Kohnert, one of the leaders of the German minority at Bromberg. Zyborski admitted to Kohnert that the Germans of Poland were in an unenviable situation, but he was not sympathetic to their plight. Zyborski ended their lengthy conversation by stating frankly that his policy required a severe treatment of the German minority in Poland. He made it clear that it was impossible for the Germans of Poland to alleviate their hard fate. The Germans in Poland were the helpless hostages of the Polish community and the Polish state.[26]

Other leaders of the German minority in Poland repeatedly appealed to the Polish government for help during this period. Sen. Hans Hasbach, the leader of the conservative German minority faction, and Dr. Rudolf Wiesner, the leader of the Young German Party, each made multiple appeals to Poland’s government to end the violence. In a futile appeal on July 6, 1939, to Premier Sławoj-Składkowski, head of Poland’s Department of Interior, Wiesner referred to the waves of public violence against the Germans at Tomaszów near Lódz, May 13-15th, at Konstantynów, May 21-22nd, and at Pabianice, June 22-23, 1939. The appeal of Wiesner produced no results. The leaders of the German political groups eventually recognized that they had no influence with Polish authorities despite their loyal attitudes toward Poland. It was “open season” on the Germans of Poland with the approval of the Polish government.[27]

Polish anti-German incidents also occurred against the German majority in the Free City of Danzig. On May 21, 1939, Zygmunt Morawski, a former Polish soldier, murdered a German at Kalthof on Danzig territory. The incident itself would not have been so unusual except for the fact that Polish officials acted as if Poland and not the League of Nations had sovereign power over Danzig. Polish officials refused to apologize for the incident, and they treated with contempt the effort of Danzig authorities to bring Morawski to trial. The Poles in Danzig considered themselves above the law.[28]

Tension steadily mounted at Danzig after the Morawski murder. The German citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would show them no mercy if Poland gained the upper hand. The Poles were furious when they learned that Danzig was defying Poland by organizing its own militia for home defense. The Poles blamed Hitler for this situation. The Polish government protested to German Ambassador Hans von Moltke on July 1, 1939, about the Danzig government’s military-defense measures. Józef Beck told French Ambassador Léon Noël on July 6, 1939, that the Polish government had decided that additional measures were necessary to meet the alleged threat from Danzig.[29]

On July 29, 1939, the Danzig government presented two protest notes to the Poles concerning illegal activities of Polish custom inspectors and frontier officials. The Polish government responded by terminating the export of duty-free herring and margarine from Danzig to Poland. Polish officials next announced in the early hours of August 5, 1939, that the frontiers of Danzig would be closed to the importation of all foreign food products unless the Danzig government promised by the end of the day never to interfere with the activities of Polish customs inspectors. This threat was formidable since Danzig produced only a relatively small portion of its own food. All Polish customs inspectors would also bear arms while performing their duty after August 5, 1939. The Polish ultimatum made it obvious that Poland intended to replace the League of Nations as the sovereign power at Danzig.[30]

Hitler concluded that Poland was seeking to provoke an immediate conflict with Germany. The Danzig government submitted to the Polish ultimatum in accordance with Hitler’s recommendation.[31]

Józef Beck explained to British Ambassador Kennard that the Polish government was prepared to take military measures against Danzig if it failed to accept Poland’s terms. The citizens of Danzig were convinced that Poland would have executed a full military occupation of Danzig had the Polish ultimatum been rejected. It was apparent to the German government that the British and French were either unable or unwilling to restrain the Polish government from arbitrary steps that could result in war.[32]

On August 7, 1939, the Polish censors permitted the newspaper Illustrowany Kuryer Codzienny in Kraków to feature an article of unprecedented candor. The article stated that Polish units were constantly crossing the German frontier to destroy German military installations and to carry captured German military materiel into Poland. The Polish government failed to prevent the newspaper, which had the largest circulation in Poland, from telling the world that Poland was instigating a series of violations of Germany’s frontier with Poland.[33]

Polish Ambassador Jerzy Potocki unsuccessfully attempted to persuade Józef Beck to seek an agreement with Germany. Potocki later succinctly explained the situation in Poland by stating “Poland prefers Danzig to peace.”[34]

President Roosevelt knew that Poland had caused the crisis which began at Danzig, and he was worried that the American public might learn the truth about the situation. This could be a decisive factor in discouraging Roosevelt’s plan for American military intervention in Europe. Roosevelt instructed U.S. Ambassador Biddle to urge the Poles to be more careful in making it appear that German moves were responsible for any inevitable explosion at Danzig. Biddle reported to Roosevelt on August 11, 1939, that Beck expressed no interest in engaging in a series of elaborate but empty maneuvers designed to deceive the American public. Beck stated that at the moment he was content to have full British support for his policy.[35]

Roosevelt also feared that American politicians might discover the facts about the hopeless dilemma which Poland’s provocative policy created for Germany. When American Democratic Party Campaign Manager and Post-Master General James Farley visited Berlin, Roosevelt instructed the American Embassy in Berlin to prevent unsupervised contact between Farley and the German leaders. The German Foreign Office concluded on August 10, 1939 that it was impossible to penetrate the wall of security around Farley. The Germans knew that President Roosevelt was determined to prevent them from freely communicating with visiting American leaders.[36]

Polish Atrocities Force War

On August 14, 1939, the Polish authorities in East Upper Silesia launched a campaign of mass arrests against the German minority. The Poles then proceeded to close and confiscate the remaining German businesses, clubs and welfare installations. The arrested Germans were forced to march toward the interior of Poland in prisoner columns. The various German groups in Poland were frantic by this time; they feared the Poles would attempt the total extermination of the German minority in the event of war. Thousands of Germans were seeking to escape arrest by crossing the border into Germany. Some of the worst recent Polish atrocities included the mutilation of several Germans. The Polish public was urged not to regard their German minority as helpless hostages who could be butchered with impunity.[37]

Rudolf Wiesner, who was the most prominent of the German minority leaders in Poland, spoke of a disaster “of inconceivable magnitude” since the early months of 1939. Wiesner claimed that the last Germans had been dismissed from their jobs without the benefit of unemployment relief, and that hunger and privation were stamped on the faces of the Germans in Poland. German welfare agencies, cooperatives and trade associations had been closed by Polish authorities. Exceptional martial-law conditions of the earlier frontier zone had been extended to include more than one-third of the territory of Poland. The mass arrests, deportations, mutilations and beatings of the last few weeks in Poland surpassed anything that had happened before. Wiesner insisted that the German minority leaders merely desired the restoration of peace, the banishment of the specter of war, and the right to live and work in peace. Wiesner was arrested by the Poles on August 16, 1939 on suspicion of conducting espionage for Germany in Poland.[38]

The German press devoted increasing space to detailed accounts of atrocities against the Germans in Poland. The Völkischer Beobachter reported that more than 80,000 German refugees from Poland had succeeded in reaching German territory by August 20, 1939. The German Foreign Office had received a huge file of specific reports of excesses against national and ethnic Germans in Poland. More than 1,500 documented reports had been received since March 1939, and more than 10 detailed reports were arriving in the German Foreign Office each day. The reports presented a staggering picture of brutality and human misery.[39]

W. L. White, an American journalist, later recalled that there was no doubt among well-informed people by this time that horrible atrocities were being inflicted every day on the Germans of Poland.[40]

Donald Day, a Chicago Tribune correspondent, reported on the atrocious treatment the Poles had meted out to the ethnic Germans in Poland:

… I traveled up to the Polish corridor where the German authorities permitted me to interview the German refugees from many Polish cities and towns. The story was the same. Mass arrests and long marches along roads toward the interior of Poland. The railroads were crowded with troop movements. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The Polish authorities seemed to have gone mad. I have been questioning people all my life and I think I know how to make deductions from the exaggerated stories told by people who have passed through harrowing personal experiences. But even with generous allowance, the situation was plenty bad. To me the war seemed only a question of hours.[41]

British Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin was concentrating on obtaining recognition from Halifax of the cruel fate of the German minority in Poland. Henderson emphatically warned Halifax on August 24, 1939, that German complaints about the treatment of the German minority in Poland were fully supported by the facts. Henderson knew that the Germans were prepared to negotiate, and he stated to Halifax that war between Poland and Germany was inevitable unless negotiations were resumed between the two countries. Henderson pleaded with Halifax that it would be contrary to Polish interests to attempt a full military occupation of Danzig, and he added a scathingly effective denunciation of Polish policy. What Henderson failed to realize is that Halifax was pursuing war for its own sake as an instrument of policy. Halifax desired the complete destruction of Germany.[42]

On August 25, 1939, Ambassador Henderson reported to Halifax the latest Polish atrocity at Bielitz, Upper Silesia. Henderson never relied on official German statements concerning these incidents, but instead based his reports on information he received from neutral sources. The Poles continued to forcibly deport the Germans of that area, and compelled them to march into the interior of Poland. Eight Germans were murdered and many more were injured during one of these actions.

Hitler was faced with a terrible dilemma. If Hitler did nothing, the Germans of Poland and Danzig would be abandoned to the cruelty and violence of a hostile Poland. If Hitler took effective action against the Poles, the British and French might declare war against Germany. Henderson feared that the Bielitz atrocity would be the final straw to prompt Hitler to invade Poland. Henderson, who strongly desired peace with Germany, deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.[43]

On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union entered into the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. This non-aggression pact contained a secret protocol which recognized a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. German recognition of this Soviet sphere of influence would not apply in the event of a diplomatic settlement of the German-Polish dispute. Hitler had hoped to recover the diplomatic initiative through the Molotov-Ribbentrop nonaggression pact. However, Chamberlain warned Hitler in a letter dated August 23, 1939, that Great Britain would support Poland with military force regardless of the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement. Józef Beck also continued to refuse to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Germany.[44]

Germany made a new offer to Poland on August 29, 1939, for a last diplomatic campaign to settle the German-Polish dispute. The terms of a new German plan for a settlement, the so-called Marienwerder proposals, were less important than the offer to negotiate as such. The terms of the Marienwerder proposals were intended as nothing more than a tentative German plan for a possible settlement. The German government emphasized that these terms were formulated to offer a basis for unimpeded negotiations between equals rather than constituting a series of demands which Poland would be required to accept. There was nothing to prevent the Poles from offering an entirely new set of proposals of their own.

The Germans, in offering to negotiate with Poland, were indicating that they favored a diplomatic settlement over war with Poland. The willingness of the Poles to negotiate would not in any way have implied a Polish retreat or their readiness to recognize the German annexation of Danzig. The Poles could have justified their acceptance to negotiate with the announcement that Germany, and not Poland, had found it necessary to request new negotiations. In refusing to negotiate, the Poles were announcing that they favored war. The refusal of British Foreign Secretary Halifax to encourage the Poles to negotiate indicated that he also favored war.[45]

French Prime Minister Daladier and British Prime Minister Chamberlain were both privately critical of the Polish government. Daladier in private denounced the “criminal folly” of the Poles. Chamberlain admitted to Ambassador Joseph Kennedy that it was the Poles, and not the Germans, who were unreasonable. Kennedy reported to President Roosevelt, “frankly he [Chamberlain] is more worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the Germans.” However, neither Daladier nor Chamberlain made any effort to influence the Poles to negotiate with the Germans.[46]

On August 29, 1939, the Polish government decided upon the general mobilization of its army. The Polish military plans stipulated that general mobilization would be ordered only in the event of Poland’s decision for war. Henderson informed Halifax of some of the verified Polish violations prior to the war. The Poles blew up the Dirschau (Tczew) bridge across the Vistula River even though the eastern approach to the bridge was in German territory (East Prussia). The Poles also occupied a number of Danzig installations and engaged in fighting with the citizens of Danzig on the same day. Henderson reported that Hitler was not insisting on the total military defeat of Poland. Hitler was prepared to terminate hostilities if the Poles indicated that they were willing to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.[47]

Germany decided to invade Poland on September 1, 1939. All of the British leaders claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Prime Minister Chamberlain broadcast that evening on British radio that “the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe (war in Poland) lies on the shoulders of one man, the German Chancellor.” Chamberlain claimed that Hitler had ordered Poland to come to Berlin with the unconditional obligation of accepting without discussion the exact German terms. Chamberlain denied that Germany had invited the Poles to engage in normal negotiations. Chamberlain’s statements were unvarnished lies, but the Polish case was so weak that it was impossible to defend it with the truth.

Halifax also delivered a cleverly hypocritical speech to the House of Lords on the evening of September 1, 1939. Halifax claimed that the best proof of the British will to peace was to have Chamberlain, the great appeasement leader, carry Great Britain into war. Halifax concealed the fact that he had taken over the direction of British foreign policy from Chamberlain in October 1938, and that Great Britain would probably not be moving into war had this not happened. He assured his audience that Hitler, before the bar of history, would have to assume full responsibility for starting the war. Halifax insisted that the English conscience was clear, and that, in looking back, he did not wish to change a thing as far as British policy was concerned.[48]

On September 2, 1939, Italy and Germany agreed to hold a mediation conference among themselves and Great Britain, France and Poland. Halifax attempted to destroy the conference plan by insisting that Germany withdraw her forces from Poland and Danzig before Great Britain and France would consider attending the mediation conference. French Foreign Minister Bonnet knew that no nation would accept such treatment, and that the attitude of Halifax was unreasonable and unrealistic.

Ultimately, the mediation effort collapsed, and both Great Britain and France declared war against Germany on September 3, 1939. When Hitler read the British declaration of war against Germany, he paused and asked of no one in particular: “What now?”[49] Germany was now in an unnecessary war with three European nations.

Similar to the other British leaders, Nevile Henderson, the British ambassador to Germany, later claimed that the entire responsibility for starting the war was Hitler’s. Henderson wrote in his memoirs in 1940: “If Hitler wanted peace he knew how to insure it; if he wanted war, he knew equally well what would bring it about. The choice lay with him, and in the end the entire responsibility for war was his.”[50] Henderson forgot in this passage that he had repeatedly warned Halifax that the Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland were extreme. Hitler invaded Poland in order to end these atrocities.

Polish Atrocities Continue against German Minority

The Germans in Poland continued to experience an atmosphere of terror in the early part of September 1939. Throughout the country the Germans had been told, “If war comes to Poland you will all be hanged.” This prophecy was later fulfilled in many cases.

The famous Bloody Sunday in Toruń on September 3, 1939, was accompanied by similar massacres elsewhere in Poland. These massacres brought a tragic end to the long suffering of many ethnic Germans. This catastrophe had been anticipated by the Germans before the outbreak of war, as reflected by the flight, or attempted escape, of large numbers of Germans from Poland. The feelings of these Germans were revealed by the desperate slogan, “Away from this hell, and back to the Reich!”[51]

Dr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas writes concerning the ethnic Germans in Poland:

The first victims of the war were Volksdeutsche, ethnic German civilians resident in and citizens of Poland. Using lists prepared years earlier, in part by lower administrative offices, Poland immediately deported 15,000 Germans to Eastern Poland. Fear and rage at the quick German victories led to hysteria. German “spies” were seen everywhere, suspected of forming a fifth column. More than 5,000 German civilians were murdered in the first days of the war. They were hostages and scapegoats at the same time. Gruesome scenes were played out in Bromberg on September 3, as well as in several other places throughout the province of Posen, in Pommerellen, wherever German minorities resided.[52]

Polish atrocities against ethnic Germans have been documented in the book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland. Most of the outside world dismissed this book as nothing more than propaganda used to justify Hitler’s invasion of Poland. However, skeptics failed to notice that forensic pathologists from the International Red Cross and medical and legal observers from the United States verified the findings of these investigations of Polish war crimes. These investigations were also conducted by German police and civil administrations, and not the National Socialist Party or the German military. Moreover, both anti-German and other university-trained researchers have acknowledged that the charges in the book are based entirely on factual evidence.[53]

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland stated:

When the first edition of this collection of documents went to press on November 17, 1939, 5,437 cases of murder committed by soldiers of the Polish army and by Polish civilians against men, women and children of the German minority had been definitely ascertained. It was known that the total when fully ascertained would be very much higher. Between that date and February 1, 1940, the number of identified victims mounted to 12,857. At the present stage investigations disclose that in addition to these 12,857, more than 45,000 persons are still missing. Since there is no trace of them, they must also be considered victims of the Polish terror. Even the figure 58,000 is not final. There can be no doubt that the inquiries now being carried out will result in the disclosure of additional thousands dead and missing.[54]

Medical examinations of the dead showed that Germans of all ages, from four months to 82 years of age, were murdered. The report concluded:

It was shown that the murders were committed with the greatest brutality and that in many cases they were purely sadistic acts—that gouging of eyes was established and that other forms of mutilation, as supported by the depositions of witnesses, may be considered as true.

The method by which the individual murders were committed in many cases reveals studied physical and mental torture; in this connection several cases of killing extended over many hours and of slow death due to neglect had to be mentioned.

By far the most important finding seems to be the proof that murder by such chance weapons as clubs or knives was the exception, and that as a rule modern, highly-effective army rifles and pistols were available to the murderers. It must be emphasized further that it was possible to show, down to the minutest detail, that there could have been no possibility of execution [under military law].[55]

The Polish atrocities were not acts of personal revenge, professional jealously or class hatred; instead, they were a concerted political action. They were organized mass murders caused by a psychosis of political animosity. The hate-inspired urge to destroy everything German was driven by the Polish press, radio, school and government propaganda. Britain’s blank check of support had encouraged Poland to conduct inhuman atrocities against its German minority.[56]

The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland explained why the Polish government encouraged such atrocities:

The guarantee of assistance given Poland by the British Government was the agent which lent impetus to Britain’s policy of encirclement. It was designed to exploit the problem of Danzig and the Corridor to begin a war, desired and long-prepared by England, for the annihilation of Greater Germany. In Warsaw moderation was no longer considered necessary, and the opinion held was that matters could be safely brought to a head. England was backing this diabolical game, having guaranteed the “integrity” of the Polish state. The British assurance of assistance meant that Poland was to be the battering ram of Germany’s enemies. Henceforth Poland neglected no form of provocation of Germany and, in its blindness, dreamt of “victorious battle at Berlin’s gates.” Had it not been for the encouragement of the English war clique, which was stiffening Poland’s attitude toward the Reich and whose promises led Warsaw to feel safe, the Polish Government would hardly have let matters develop to the point where Polish soldiers and civilians would eventually interpret the slogan to extirpate all German influence as an incitement to the murder and bestial mutilation of human beings.[57]


END NOTES

[1] Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 207.

[2] DeConde, Alexander, A History of American Foreign Policy, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1971, p. 576.

[3] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 25, 312.

[4] Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 209.

[5] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 50.

[6] Ibid., pp. 49-60.

[7] Ibid., pp. 328-329.

[8] Ibid., pp. 145-146.

[9] Ibid., p. 21.

[10] Ibid., pp. 21, 256-257.

[11] Ibid., p. 323.

[12] Barnett, Correlli, The Collapse of British Power, New York: William Morrow, 1972, p. 560; see also Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 211.

[13] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 333, 340.

[14] Denman, Roy, Missed Chances: Britain and Europe in the Twentieth Century, London: Indigo, 1997, p. 121.

[15] Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West, New York: Penguin Press, 2006, p. 377.

[16] Hart, B. H. Liddell, History of the Second World War, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970, p. 11.

[17] Watt, Richard M., Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate 1918 to 1939, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979, p. 379.

[18] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 342.

[19] Ibid., p. 391.

[20] Ibid., pp. 260-262.

[21] Ibid., pp. 311-312.

[22] Ibid., pp. 355, 357.

[23] Ibid., pp. 381, 383.

[24] Ibid., pp. 384, 387.

[25] Ibid., p. 387.

[26] Ibid., pp. 388-389.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid., pp. 392-393.

[29] Ibid., pp. 405-406.

[30] Ibid., p. 412.

[31] Ibid. p. 413.

[32] Ibid., pp. 413-415.

[33] Ibid. p. 419. In a footnote, the author notes that a report of the same matters appeared in the New York Times for August 8, 1939.

[34] Ibid., p. 419.

[35] Ibid., p. 414.

[36] Ibid., p. 417.

[37] Ibid., pp. 452-453.

[38] Ibid., p. 463.

[39] Ibid., p. 479.

[40] Ibid., p. 554.

[41] Day, Donald, Onward Christian Soldiers, Newport Beach, Cal.: The Noontide Press, 2002, p. 56.

[42] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 500-501, 550.

[43] Ibid., p. 509

[44] Ibid., pp. 470, 483, 538.

[45] Ibid., pp. 513-514.

[46] Ibid., pp. 441, 549.

[47] Ibid., pp. 537, 577.

[48] Ibid., pp. 578-579.

[49] Ibid., pp. 586, 593, 598.

[50] Henderson, Nevile, Failure of a Mission, New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940, p. 227.

[51] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 390.

[52] De Zayas, Alfred-Maurice, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, 2nd edition, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p. 27.

[53] Roland, Marc, “Poland’s Censored Holocaust,” The Barnes Review in Review: 2008-2010, pp. 132-133.

[54] Shadewalt, Hans, Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland, Berlin and New York: German Library of Information, 2nd edition, 1940, p. 19.

[55] Ibid., pp. 257-258.

[56] Ibid., pp. 88-89.

[57] Ibid., pp. 75-76.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Inventing ‘2nd Skripal case’? Moscow rejects any link to asylum-seeker assassination in Germany

RT | August 28, 2019

Russia denies “any links” to the death of a Chechen man who was gunned down in Berlin last week. The German press, meanwhile, said the incident may end up being a “second Skripal case.”

“This case has nothing to do with the Russian state, the [Russian] authorities,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said on Wednesday.

“I categorically reject any links between… this murder and official Russia.”

His comments came in response to speculation that Moscow may have been somehow involved in the assassination of a man in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in central Berlin on Friday. German media identified the victim as 40-year-old Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian national of Chechen origin who had fought against the Russian troops during the war in Chechnya. Public broadcaster Deutsche Welle cited a 2017 letter by a local NGO to the migration services, saying that Khangoshvili served under infamous warlords Shamil Basayev and Abu al-Walid, who coordinated terrorist attacks on Russian soil and were killed by Russian security forces.

Khangoshvili is said to have fled Georgia in 2016 after surviving an assassination attempt. He sought asylum in Germany but this was rejected. The German authorities had also reportedly considered him an Islamist threat at some point. Other reports said that Khangoshvili had ties with the Georgian security services and assisted in anti-terrorism operations.

The suspect in Khangoshvili’s murder was quickly apprehended by police. He was identified as 49-year-old Vadim S., a Russian national who recently traveled to Berlin from Moscow via Paris.

The story has caused a stir in the German press. The victim’s brother, Zurab Khangoshvili, claimed that Russian agents committed the crime but provided no evidence. Security sources told Der Spiegel the investigation could potentially be a “second Skripal case” in terms of its “consequences,” if the alleged involvement of Russia is proven.

Last year, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, UK. The British authorities quickly pinned the blame on Moscow. This led to London and its allies expelling a number of Russian diplomats and imposing new sanctions on Russia. Moscow has strongly denied any involvement in the incident.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Israel: Netanyahu approved Germany-Egypt submarine deal for $142m discount

MEMO | August 28, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing new questions over his role in the so-called “Submarine Affair”, after reports emerged that he approved a deal between Egypt and Germany in order to secure a multi-million-dollar discount for Israel’s own naval purchases, not for “security reasons” as he previously claimed.

The affair – sometimes known by its case number 3000 – involves allegations that several of Netanyahu’s close associates lobbied senior Israeli defence officials to sign deals with German shipbuilding firm ThyssenKrupp. These associates are suspected of “skimming” millions of shekels off the top of the deals for their personal profit and are now being investigated for corruption.

These investigations revealed that one deal saw Egypt order two submarines and two anti-submarine warships from ThyssenKrupp. Though Germany does not require Israeli permission to sell its ships to other countries, it has traditionally refrained from doing so to give Israel dominance in the region.

However, on this occasion the Germany-Egypt sale reportedly went ahead without the approval of then Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon; instead, former Defence Ministry officials and aides to German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that Netanyahu had personally approved the deal.

Amidst the outcry that ensued, Netanyahu agreed to a rare TV interview to discuss the deal. “My reasons are security reasons and security reasons alone,” he told Israel’s Channel 12, “the State of Israel has secrets that only the prime minister knows and a handful of people”.

Now it has emerged that Miki Ganor – a former ThyssenKrupp sales agent in Israel and previously a state witness in Case 3000 – told corruption investigators that Netanyahu approved the sale to Egypt in exchange for a discount of half a billion shekels ($142 million) on the purchase of Israel’s sixth submarine from the German firm.

It was this discount which ensured that the Germany-Egypt deal went ahead, in the process securing a huge cut for Ganor and his associates, the Times of Israel explained, citing a report by Israel’s Channel 13 yesterday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the latters trip to Germany in February 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Germany in February 2016

Ganor agreed to turn state witness in 2017, admitting to bribing a string of Israeli officials. He agreed to provide evidence for the prosecution in exchange for serving only one year in prison and paying a ten million shekel ($2.7 million) fine.

However, in a shock move, in March Ganor presented himself to Israel Police and asked to change his previous statement, despite standing by it during 50 meetings over the course of the investigation. Ganor instead claimed he had been pressured by the police into confessing.

The move was, however, reportedly prompted by Ganor’s discovery that signing a state witness agreement had put his name on an international banking blacklist, thereby blocking his access to tens of millions of shekels under his name in banks in Cyprus and Austria.

He was subsequently arrested for “obstructing an investigation with false information”. Later that month, Israel Police withdrew its state witness arrangement with Ganor, since recommending that he be charged with five counts of bribery and one count of receiving an illicit gift, in addition to six counts of money laundering.

However, as the Times of Israel explained, Ganor’s “testimony is still usable in court, and the part about Netanyahu’s reason for approving the submarine deal hasn’t been affected by [his] retraction of some of his testimony.”

Critics of Netanyahu have been quick to respond to the fresh allegations, particularly given the proximity of Israel’s upcoming general election, which is slated for 17 September.

De facto opposition leader and head of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, Benny Gantz, said in a statement that “it is unacceptable for the prime minister to carry out arms deals that affect the strategic balance in the region while being suspected of involving personal considerations”.

Blue and White number two Yair Lapid echoed this sentiment, accusing Netanyahu of “deflecting and lying as to why he approved the sale of advanced submarines to Egypt”. The former finance minister also called the affair the “worst corruption scandal in Israel’s history,” calling for a state inquiry into the allegations.

Netanyahu’s Likud party hit back at Blue and White – its biggest election rivals – for criticising the prime minister, labelling their statements “desperate attempts […] to revive this corpse [in order to] divert the public’s attention from the internal mess in their party”.

The prime minister does not seem to have issued his own statement on the revelations, only retweeting the Likud party’s statement.

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August 28, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Washington’s Nord Stream 2 Sanctions May Have Boomerang Effect on US Interests – German Media Reports

By Svetlana Ekimenko – Sputnik – 27.08.2019

The US Congress has moved forward with legislation to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project in defiance of criticism from Washington’s allies in Europe, as the joint venture brings together Russia’s Gazprom, Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.

Possible US sanctions against companies involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline could potentially harm US oil and gas projects in the Gulf of Mexico, writes the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

“From the point of view of Germany, the name of the US proposed sanctions bill, ‘Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act’, is in itself an insolence”, writes the author.

The US is pushing to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2 despite likely consequences that such restrictions may have.

Thus, European companies involved in laying the pipeline and targeted by Washington’s sanctions play a key role in the global energy market.

For a long time, these companies worked in the Gulf of Mexico as subcontractors of the American corporations Chevron and Exxon Mobil, recalls Handelsblatt.

Therefore, if they are included in the sanctions lists, projects in the Gulf of Mexico will be disrupted, since it is impossible to quickly replace such highly specialised firms.

Overall, the US economy views the proposed sanctions against Nord Stream 2 critically, the author points out. Such restrictions would also be likely to harm US gas exporters, prompting European buyers to reduce LNG imports from the United States and increase supplies from other countries.

Proposed US Sanctions on Nord Stream 2

The Nord Stream 2 project has long drawn opposition from a number of countries, with the United States, which is trying to sell more of its own liquefied natural gas to overseas allies, insisting that the project will make Europe dependent on Moscow – claims that Russia has repeatedly rebuffed.

Moscow has insisted that the pipeline project is strictly commercial, ultimately seeking to boost Europe’s energy security.

Nevertheless, in early August, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill on sanctions against companies providing vessels for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

The document prohibits entry into the US for anyone involved in the “sale, lease, provision or assistance in providing” ships for laying Russian offshore pipelines at a depth of 30 metres or more, as well as the freezing of their assets in US jurisdiction.

Companies from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Finland, and Sweden may fall under the sanctions.

The project is being implemented by Nord Stream 2 AG, with Gazprom investing half of the funds, and the remainder being contributed by European partners: Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall, Austria’s OMV, France’s Engie, and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell.

Germany has been strongly behind Nord Stream 2, emphasizing the commercial focus of the project.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she supported the BDI’s (Federation of German Industries) stance that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for delivering Russian natural gas to Europe is necessary given the German initiative to stop using nuclear and coal energy.

Austria, which is interested in reliable supplies of fuel, and Norway, whose government owns 30 percent of the shares of Kvaerner, one of the gas pipeline construction contractors, also spoke in favor of the project.

Nord Stream 2 Project

The 745-mile-long (1,200 km) Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, and Sweden to deliver Russian gas to European consumers.

The completed project will double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline network, allowing a total of up to 110 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas to be transported to Western Europe via pipelines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

According to a statement made by project operator Nord Stream 2 AG on 26 August, the pipeline is 75 percent complete.

August 27, 2019 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US Nuclear Weapons Should Be Out of Germany Along With Its Troops, German Lawmaker Says

By Polina Strelnikova – Sputnik – 12.08.2019

US Ambassador Richard Grenell’s renewed criticism of Berlin’s failure to spend more on defence and praising an idea to withdraw American troops from Germany has prompted a backlash in one of Washington’s key allies in Europe. The head of the left-wing party Die Linke’s parliamentary group has welcomed this idea.

Member of the German Parliament Bundestag Dietmar Bartsch has told the German editorial network RND that the German government should “absolutely accept” US Ambassador Richard Grenell’s offer and not only discuss a plan to pull out US troops from Germany but also try to get rid of Washington’s nuclear weapons in the country.

“The US ambassador is right: US taxpayers should not have to pay for US troops in Germany. The US taxpayers also do not have to pay for deploying nuclear weapons in Germany. If the Americans pull their soldiers out, they should take their nuclear weapons with them”, he demanded.

He insisted that they should take them back home and not to Poland, noting that the latter scenario “would be another dramatic escalation in relations with Russia, which does not coincide with European and German interests”.

However, not everyone on the left wing of the German political spectrum seemed to like the idea. German MP Carsten Schneider, who represents the Social Democrats, called Grenell’s statements, which echoed an earlier remark by US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher, “completely inappropriate for allies”. He stated that Germany cannot be blackmailed, and that the “general’s pose wears off”.

The criticism was prompted by Grenell’s recent interview with the German news agency DPA, in which he stated that it was “insulting to expect that the US taxpayer pays for more than 50,000 Americans in Germany, but the Germans use their trade surplus for domestic purposes” and backed Donald Trump’s idea to relocate troops from Germany to Poland.

Mosbacher earlier noted that Poland meets its payment obligation of 2% of GDP, as agreed upon within NATO, while Germany does not do that, so it would be better if American troops go to Poland.

Although Germany announced plans to increase military spending up to 1.35% in 2019 and hopes to boost the number up to 1.5% by 2023, it still falls short of planning to reach the 2% goal, set by NATO members in 2014.

Trump has persistently criticised Germany’s reluctance to comply with this voluntary goal since having taken office. He also previously suggested that a 2,000-strong increase to American forces stationed in Poland should be achieved at the expense of those based in Germany.

Meanwhile, US warheads deployed in Germany have been a point of heated debates within the country with many, including politicians from coalition junior partner, the SPD, demanding that US nuclear weapons be removed from its territory.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Germany won’t take part in US Strait of Hormuz initiative – FM

RT | July 31, 2019

Germany will refuse to take part in a US-led maritime mission in the Strait of Hormuz, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced. Maas said that there “cannot be a military solution” to the current crisis in the Persian Gulf.

Speaking in Warsaw, Poland on Wednesday, Maas said that Germany will turn down Washington’s request, which was revealed by the US Embassy in Berlin on Tuesday. The joint US, British, and French operation is aimed at protecting sea traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, and combating so-called “Iranian aggression.”

The mission was conceived following Iran’s seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker earlier this month, itself widely considered a tit-for-tat response to Britain’s seizure of an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar several weeks earlier.

That Germany would refuse to assist the American-led mission is no surprise. Washington’s request was the subject of intense debate in Berlin, with opposition parties on the left and right pressuring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government into saying no.

“We have to avoid further escalation in the Strait of Hormuz,” Maas said on Wednesday. “That has always been our position.” Compared to the United States and some of its allies, Germany has enjoyed relatively cordial relations with Tehran since the 1970s.

Germany remains party to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal), a landmark agreement that granted Iran sanctions relief in exchange for a curb on its nuclear weapons program. The United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal last year, precipitating the current standoff with Tehran.

Despite Germany’s refusal to join the US-led mission, some politicians in Berlin remain open to another kind of deployment. “The alternative is a European mission, if necessary without the British, if they decide for the US,” Norbert Roettgen, a member of Merkel’s CDU party, told German media on Tuesday.

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 3 Comments

German Intelligence Claims Regarding Russian Media ‘Baseless’, ‘Unacceptable’ – Russian FM

Sputnik – July 4, 2019

The German intelligence agency is blaming Russian media for spreading disinformation but has refused to provide examples. The allegation is another attempt to foment a hostile atmosphere around Russian news outlets, which runs against media freedom principles, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“We have seen the published report written by Germany’s counterintelligence that contains a number of accusations against Russia and, apart from the allegations that Russian intelligence services have been actively conducting espionage on German soil, has a particularly big section dedicated to influence of Russian media on German public opinion. For example, the Sputnik news agency and the RT Deutsch TV channel are accused — I quote — ‘of disseminating propaganda and disinformation’”.

“The statements were made in the report without any evidence or facts provided … The conclusions made in the report are however unambiguous”, Zakharova said at a briefing.

The diplomat called such policies toward Russian media “unacceptable and violating the basic principles of media freedom and freedom of expression”, and urged relevant international organizations, including the OSCE media freedom representative office, to take note.

Zakharova also mentioned that the report claimed that Russian media outlets “are disguised as independent media to hide the fact that they belong to the Russian state” and “exert subtle influence” on the German public, although neither RT nor Sputnik have made any attempt to conceal the source of their funding.

According to the spokeswoman, the report is “full of such peremptory accusations” and fully coincides with the opinion of the German Federation of Journalists, which in January urged national regulators supervising media activities to not issue a license for RT Deutsch.

The Russian Foreign Ministry therefore views the report as “another stage of inciting the atmosphere of hostility and toxicity around Russian media”, Zakharova stated, stressing that this “aggressive attitude” was being fomented with the direct participation of German intelligence services.

Last week, the German Interior Ministry and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution issued its annual report for 2018. The report accused Moscow of spying activities and “disseminating pro-Russian propaganda and disinformation” through its state-run media.

Russia media in Germany took a negative turn in January when the German Federation of Journalists claimed that RT Deutsch was a “tool for Kremlin propaganda” and called for denying a broadcaster license to the outlet.

The secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists, Timur Shafir, denounced his German colleagues’ statements as “a blatant and unprincipled violation of the basic principles of the profession”

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | | 1 Comment