After the conversation between English Ambassador Henderson and Chancellor Hitler, the Western states, France and England, issued extensive mobilisation decrees for the army, navy and air forces. These decrees were issued without waiting for the results of the Franco-English-Soviet military talks in Moscow.
This is proof that the blackmail practiced by Chancellor Hitler in recent years has come to an end and German power must try other approaches to further its ends. Feeding the Germanic wolf “Munich-style” has sharpened and increased his appetite – instead of satiating it. Germans dream of hegemony over the world.
During the night of 25-26th August the attack was cancelled. Certain troops had already begun to move forward and had to be recalled. It was plain that diplomatic maneuvers were in progress. There was a last flicker of hope that peace might yet be preserved. But nothing positive reached the troops at the front.
Faithfulness to the alliance with Poland and unwavering readiness of England.
The session of the House of Commons began at 2:45 as scheduled, inaugurated by Prime Minister Chamberlain’s review of his governments foreign policy. The Prime Minister, after receiving warm applause from the assembly, brought up the issue of Gdańsk discussed during the last foreign debate on July 21. He restated his conviction that there was no issue that could not be resolved by peaceful negotiations. The Prime Minister continued: unfortunately, since then, the international situation is deteriorating and today we are facing the threat of war.
Berlin is showering us with requests for the list of our needs. We convene at the Palazzo Venezia at ten o'clock with the chiefs of staff of the three armies and with Benni.
We go over the list. It's enough to kill a bull-if a bull could read it. I remain alone with the Duce and we prepare a message to Hitler. We explain to him why it is that our needs are so vast, and we conclude by saying that Italy absolutely cannot enter the war without such provisions. The Duce makes some mention also of his political action to follow.
Bonnet informed me: Voroshilov asserted that further negotiations regarding the Berlin agreement are pointless thereby putting all responsibility on us for our refusal to let the Soviet troops pass. Molotov told the French ambassador the same, stating we showed disdain towards Soviet help offered, and by refusing it we are completely responsible for breaking the arrangement and therefore for the Soviet-German pact. See more
The issue of the Baltic States is out-dated, as there is no threat of German aggression. He pointed that our non-aggression pact with the Germans was a precedent for the Soviet-German pact. Asked about Danzig he said Russia would follow France and England. Questioned about secret clauses he refused to answer stating he did not ask about secret clauses in the French arrangements. The matter of the recent mutual help agreement with Turkey will be considered by the Soviet government taking the new situation into account.
Most people in Warsaw expect war every day. We English and American journalists do not hold this view; we anticipate a pause, after the German diplomatic triumph of the Russian Pact. The ultimate publication of the documents shows that rumour had been right, after all. It now appears that Hitler intended to march today - the day of my halt at the Tempelhof.
Meanwhile, it is my business to get back to the Silesian frontier, to report events there for the Daily Telegraph.
Agony continues, but it’s worse. Only a “miracle” could save us from the devil, the very Father of Lies, who has taken over half of the world. As he is the “original mankiller”.
No one believes in a miracle, and therefore there are no doubts about the war.
The weather is nice: in Bagatelle park (from which we walked along the canal to the café), it is peaceful, it is green, there are ducks, roses, fish, daisies, “the vault of the blue sky”… but this vault is already directed towards people, from it will come death — the bomb...
There is mail correspondence between Adolf Hitler and the Prime Minister of France, Daladier, in which the Führer explains again that “Danzig and the Polish Corridor must be returned to Germany.” Poland mobilizes 19 million soldiers and drops bombs on German homes in Kattowitz. The Reichsparteitag [National Party Day rally held annually in Nuremberg] is cancelled.
The report of the death of the NCO was confirmed.
Drove to Headquarters, 4th Army; Kluge was beside himself over the order to withdraw the troops but arranged everything in an orderly, rational manner.
Drove to the frontier guard in Preussenfeld and to the customs post at the border; all quiet.
Also nothing out of the ordinary in Oberst Büchs’ frontier guard sector [subsequently the 2nd Frontier Guard Detachment from 1 September to 24 October 1939] in Krajenke. See more
In the evening a telex arrived from the Army Command asking how we envisioned the operation if it was to be carried out on the sixth day of mobilization at the earliest.
The diplomats are negotiating - but with warm cannon! The English fleet is in blockade positions in the North Sea.
The first good joke has happened: inmates of the Kaiserbad Sanator my quarters [HQ Army Group North], suspect a spy in every harmless passer-by. Today four sanitorium patients fell upon a man messing about in the garden, took him into custody in spite of his loud protests, and locked him up. The alleged "spy" turned out to be a plainclothesman from my headquarters!
The obvious gravity of the existing crisis imposes on everyone the urgent obligation of considering all possible means by which the outbreak of an all-out war could be prevented. With this in mind I consider myself entitled to propose some possible solutions to be considered.
The dispute between the governments of Poland and the German Reich could be a subject of direct discussion between the two governments. See more
If it turns out to be impossible or unenforceable the second approach could be to put the dispute into arbitration. The third option: there could be a conciliation through a third uninterested factor, where it would seem advisable that the parties use the services of one of the traditionally neutral states or an uninterested republic from the western hemisphere, placed completely outside the sphere and contentious issues of the current crisis.
If you decide to try one of these approaches you can count on real and total sympathy of the United States and our nation when considering these alternatives. I appeal to you, as I have appealed to the German Reich’s government, for your agreement to refrain from any specific hostile act.
In reply to my letter from Ciechocinek, Mr. Dymitr wrote me a rude letter complaining that I was talking about family issues and lakes in Gopło while Poland faces a terrible catastrophe. But I do not know what Poland and the world are facing.
After Mackensen went away the Duce prepared the answer. He expressed regrets at not being able to intervene. He again proposed a political solution. The Duce is really out of his wits. His military instinct and his sense of honor were leading him to war. Reason has now stopped him. See more
But this hurts him very much. In the military field he was badly served by his collaborators who, under the illusion of eternal peace, have lulled dangerous illusions in him. Now he has had to confront the hard truth. And this, for the Duce, is a great blow.
However, Italy is saved from a great tragedy, that very tragedy which is about to fall on the German people. Hitler is entering the war with an alarming scarcity of equipment and with a divided country.
The alliance has been settled, and now the Germans must decide. But they are not in a hurry to do this. Hitler has put off a speech and an inspection tour in Tannenberg that were announced for tomorrow. So a new extension of the state of distress.
I read President Kwapinski's appeal for volunteers to dig antiaircraft trenches. I immediately signed up at the police station, having received permission to do so at home before. Like all my friends, I'm going to work tomorrow morning. The lack of tools is no obstacle for the massive number of volunteers. All Jews (Hasids too), the old, the young, women, like all other citizens (except for the Germans), volunteer in droves. The bloody Kraut won't pass! At the border they record continual incidents of German aggression that are pure provocation.
Broadcast shortly after midnight. Have been trying not to be a prophet, but did say this: "I don't know whether we're going to have war or not. But I can tell you that in Berlin tonight the feeling is that it will be war unless Germany's demands against Poland are fulfilled." See more
Tomorrow morning's (Sunday's) papers reveal for the first time that Hitler is demanding now not only Danzig and the Corridor but everything Germany lost in 1918, which means Posen and Silesia. Just before I went on the air DNB informed me that rationing will be instituted beginning Monday. There will be ration cards for food, soap, shoes, textiles, and coal. This will wake up the German people to their situation! It is just possible, however, that Hitler is doing this to impress London and Paris. The Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg was called off tonight. This will also arouse the people from their apathy. Tomorrow morning's papers will steep up the tension .
It was dark when we reached Warsaw - where we were hardly expected to arrive at aII. Unlike Berlin, the city seems not changed since I left it a month ago, with its well-lighted streets and music in the outdoor restaurants. But there were more journalists at the Hotel Europejski; and when we went on after dinner to the Bristol Bar, I saw a difference there. The Bristol, for all its poor music and bad cabaret, had always been crowded; but now it was jammed until five in the morning. See more
You found there night-working; journalists, ambassadors, high officers, gigolos, war-contractors, courtesans, spies, and neutral diplomats glad of their status but not wishing to miss the fun. The medley of figures, jostling, hugging, whispering, laughing, composed a scene as mixed and tumbled as a dream. It all built up an atmosphere which seemed to make for the release of every inhibition. Something of all this vanished after Poland's secret mobilisation began, for then spirits might no longer be sold. Warsaw could never be really gay without Vodka. Yet events provided their own intoxication; wild rumours circulated and there was vast boasting.