We have strong forces in Modlin, Brest and Lviv, west of Warsaw in the area of Łowicz and Kutno, but Warsaw is the central point. For both political and moral reasons, having Warsaw and having the capital is extremely important for the enemy. It is always like that. It is an honour to be a resident of the capital. But the time comes when many Varsovians become numb to this honour. Well, it's hard, you have to be prepared, it's not over, this honour will still need to be defended. All calculations in time translated into normal peace language fail in war, everything changes at a rapid pace.
How different Warsaw looked yet so recently. Three weeks ago – full of spirit, light, excitement. Rather joyful excitement. Waiting a bit childishly for something unknown, some new thrill. Well, there it is. What Warsaw looks like today – we all know. These are changing days, changing hours of war, and therefore one should not be glad that today has passed peacefully and that yesterday has passed peacefully and that peace will prevail. I'm not trying to scare anyone, I'm not saying it has to happen. It may be that we will no longer hear grenades on the streets of Warsaw. It may be that not a single bomb will fall on a Warsaw house anymore. But because there is a war, you have to be prepared for the worst. Because it can all happen again.
At five I listened to Hitler's speech. After an enthusiastic greeting and welcome, he spoke from Die befreite Stadt Danzig. The speech, however, wasn't worthy of this otherwise great statesman. He raged, quibbled, got excited, insulted, begged, coaxed, and, above all, he lied and lied... He lied by saying that Poland started the war; he lied by speaking about the oppression of Germans in Poland ("Barbaren!"); he lied by speaking of his always good, peaceful intentions, and so on.
After that, he served up a series of insults against Polish authorities, Churchill, Cooper (Duff), and Eden. He spoke about his desire for an accord with the English and French peoples, and he still talked about the injustice of the Versailles Treaty, at which point he announced that Poland will never exist within the borders established by this treaty(!). Finally, he announced that English efforts to overthrow the ruling regime in Germany will never succeed, which proves the existence and seriousness of such movements. At the end, Hitler discussed his good relations with Russia (?) and the impossibility of a German-Russian conflict breaking out. After a few pathetic remarks about Gdansk, he finished his speech.
Führer speech in Danzig: last chance for democracy. Jubilant cheering broke out for Adolf Hitler as he made his entrance into liberated German Danzig.
For the whole night, we heard the noise of fighting on the right bank of the Vistula. There was hardly a break in the rattling of machine gunfire. Heavy shelling kept us awake in fainthearted vigil.
The sound of battle was not approaching so probably yet another attempt at breaking our defense by the enemy has failed. How brave our defenders are!
I heard that the Italian radio reported the arrival of 29 cars in Italy carrying the President of the Republic, ministers and their deputies. They say Marshal Rydz-Śmigły is with them as well. If that's true, that would be too much!
The Poles are still gallantly resisting, though their government has fled; but the Russian invasion has been decisive and the Polish campaign is now over. The German people are unfortunately elated by their series of rapid successes, and Hitler evidently hopes that he can now conclude a generous peace settlement. He made a speech at Danzig this afternoon in which he threatened that if we carried on the blockade, the Germans had a terrible weapon in store, which could not be used against them, but which they had no wish to employ. This is probably meant to intimidate, but it does give one a slight feeling of uneasiness, because even Hitler and his satellites usually have something on which to base statements of this kind. For instance Ribbentrop said last May or June that he was preparing the greatest diplomatic defeat that England had ever known, and though we laughed Scornfully at the time we are now obliged to admit that the Russo-German pact does deserve that definition.
The Russians have just attacked Poland. Why? To share the spoils, or to stop the German hordes? Poland is done for; since yesterday activity has slowed down, no more artillery, no fresh troops. The Staff give me to understand that the offensive will not take place. What a pity that nearly a fortnight has been wasted before being able to attack.
There was shooting throughout the night. A few Red Army soldiers and commanders were killed. Comrade Ponomarenko was in Novogrudok during this restless night and ordered the local authorities and punitive organs to ensure order in the town, which was done.
There were fights with Polish forces in several locations.
A difficult situation developed in terms of fuel supply, resupply didn’t keep up with the pace of our progress. The supply at the district headquarters was very bad. There were no local resources, the shelves didn’t have motorized tank parts and they didn’t built up any inventory. Therefore, I was forced to take the following measures: make two working tanks from three existing tanks, filled with fuel, and leave the third tank in place without fuel waiting for fuel to be delivered. We carried out this difficult work of transferring the fuel from tank to tank overnight in the forest in total darkness. See more
We moved with a certain amount of caution and care, in one word, like we were at war. The tanks approached the police station. I exited the tank and entered the gendarmerie accompanied by three officers with revolvers in their hands. It turned out that the entire town’s police force was gathered in the police station in order to decide on some matters and we entered at that very moment.
The police did not fight back, and put down their weapons upon my request. While we disarmed the police, several workers loudly broke into the crowd with that comrade with whom I spoke on the edge of the town of Volkovysk. They began to take up arms, and they began to beat up one of the policemen. I immediately left the building and ordered my officers not to touch the workers – it is they who pour out their hatred of the Polish sirs.
Vilnius drama accomplished. The Soviet army has already taken Vilnius. Lithuania did not have much time to think. If the wait lasted longer, then perhaps Lithuania would be more tempted to take Vilnius, because the public opinion in Lithuanian intellectual circles was very willing to put pressure on the government to look for a way to take advantage of the opportunity. The government has received backup for the front regardless.
At the beginning of the war, Germans suggested that Lithuanians to take Vilnius, but they refused because they would have to do so against Poland, as German allies and partners. By doing so, they would break neutrality and engage in war.
Today I have had a glimpse of an actual battle, one of the last of the Polish war, which is as good as over. It was going on two miles north of Gdynia on a ridge that stretched for seven miles inland from the sea. There was something about it that was very tragic and at the same time grotesque.
We stood on a hill called the Sternberg in the midst of the city of Gdynia under a huge - irony! - cross. It was a German observation post. Officers stood about, peering through field-glasses. Across the city over the roofs of the modern buildings of this model new town that was the hope of Poland we watched the battle going on two miles to the north. See more
The Germans were using everything in the way of weapons, big guns, small guns, tanks, and airplanes. The Poles had nothing but machine-guns, rifles, and two anti-aircraft pieces which they were trying desperately to use as artillery against German machine-gun posts and German tanks. You could hear the deep roar of the German artillery and the rat-tat-tat of the machine-guns on both sides. The Poles - we gathered from the sound of their fire, because you could see very little, even through glasses - not only were defending themselves from trenches and behind clumps of bushes but were using every building they held as machinegun nests.
After a half-hour, a German shell struck the roof of the school and set it on fire. Then German infantry, supported - or through the glasses, it looked as though they were led - by tanks, charged up the hill and surrounded the building. But they did not take it. The Poles kept machine-gunning them from the basement windows of the burning building.
Directly below us in Gdynia's streets, women and children stood about, sullen and silent, watching the unequal battle. Before some of the buildings, long lines of Poles stood waiting for food. Before mounting the hill I had noted the terrible bitterness in their faces, especially in those of the women.
I rode through Wimbledon Common to Richmond Park on a horse incongruously called "Peaceful". Riding is an agreeable sedative and I find it easy to dream placidly and forget the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
I had my first conversation with Halifax in the Foreign Office. We briefly touched on the events of Munich and then my plans for the future were discussed in detail. Sir Orme Sargent was present. I asked Lord Halifax to give his consent to the formation of a Czechoslovak collective body which should represent a Government or become the actual Government. This body would be the apex of our whole diplomatic and consular service. Above all, it would stand at the head of our Army, which was then in a process of re-creation. From the very beginning Lord Halifax's attitude was encouraging and positive. He asked me to continue with the organisation of our action and to keep the Foreign Office informed regarding the progress of the whole movement.
The Soviet Russian invasion of Poland proceeded in a curiously Napoleonic form. There was no advance war propaganda of any sort, no preparation of ‘public opinion’, no councils deciding or approving anything at all. The government decreed. Meetings across the country acclaimed the decree. Their commeniques are framed to accord with the national tone. In the shadow of great struggles two provinces which formerly belonged to the Russian Empire are occupied.
Diplomatic considerations? Before a great army is set in motion, a great Empire hears things which only Europe, capitalist Europe should hear. The text sounds as if Hitler had edited it. And yet is snatches his war aim away from him. The Red Army marches into Europe.
After determining the position of the Warsaw Waterworks, the Luftwaffe was sent against the main waterworks; two smaller waterworks lie within range of our artillery.
A definitive demarcation line between us and the Russians, west of the first line and running roughly along the San-Vistula-Narew river line, has been declared. Asked Army Command not to evacuate the areas east of this line too quickly, because there are large quantities of supplies and booty there and a great deal of bridge equipment.
23rd Division [Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt] is to be transferred to the west; I offered a motorized and later a panzer division as well. In the evening I discussed the attack on Praga in detail with Böckmann.