Thoughts about D-day (3)


The occasion of the German/Polish War of September 1939 was the Polish refusal, under British encouragement, to negotiate a transfer of the German city of Danzig from a purely notional Polish sovereignty to the adjacent German territory.  The Polish refusal to negotiate was encouraged by the British Guarantee, seconded by France.  The Guarantee appeared to put the military resources of the French and British Empires at the service of the Polish Government.  It also put Germany under military encirclement by the armies of three states.  That act of hostile military encirclement altered the game of European politics fundamentally, superseding the particular issue of Danzig.

Assuming that the future is not a pre-written scroll which unrolls over time, but is a blank page which is written on year by year, the writing being determined by action in the present, then it follows that the course of affairs in the world would not have been as it was either if Britain and France had not placed Germany under hostile military encirclement in the Spring of 1939, or if they had acted as the Poles expected them to act when the encirclement predictably led to war.

This goes against the grain of Western Christian understanding of the world.  It is also unacceptable to the post-1945 British ideology of the War, into which Irish understanding has now been incorporated.  But, if one does not assume that the future is not predetermined, but is determined by action in the present, thought becomes impossible and is replaced by rituals of mythology.

And if one assumes that the future is not predetermined but is caused by action in the present, it follows that what Hitler did was influenced by the context set for him by the masters of the world in the late 1930s—the two great Empires.

The Anglo/French/Polish military encirclement of Germany, combined with the view of German Intelligence that Britain and France were not making practical arrangements to deliver on the Guarantee to Poland, led Germany to break the encirclement by making war on Poland.  Anglo/French failure to deliver on the Guarantee led to the Polish military collapse, the flight of the Polish Government, and the occupation by the Soviet Union of the Russian territory lost in the 1920 War.

Poland had taken part, along with Germany, in the dismantling of Czechoslovakia masterminded by Britain in October 1938, and in 1939 it had chosen war with Germany, in a military alliance with Britain and France which proved to be illusory, in preference to negotiating a transfer to Germany of the German city of Danzig over which it had no actual authority.  Thus, in the course of a year, British foreign policy led to the disappearance of two crucial Versailles states:  buffer states between Western Europe and Bolshevik Russia.

Eight months later the futile French declaration of general war on Germany, in place of action in support of Poland, and the abortive attempt to engage in actual war with Russia in Finland, led to the occupation of France and the withdrawal of the British army.  British policy then drew Germany into Greece and Yugoslavia.  Suddenly Europe was German from the Pyrenees to the Russian border.

This remarkable expansion of German power was not the fruit of a systematic plan of conquest put into effect by an immensely powerful army.  Militarily it came about through a series of defensive actions by an Army which at the outset could have had no serious thought of conquering Europe.

Through that series of defensive actions the German Army grew in expertise, in bulk and in armaments.  There was then only one Power in Europe, in the world, capable of engaging it in serious battle:  Bolshevik Russia—the very thing Fascism had arisen to oppose.

If one believed in Providence, one could see it as having nurtured Germany through a series of practice wars for the moment when it could strike at Bolshevism at its source.  And it would be surprising if somebody within the British power structure—which had some idea of itself as the force of Providence—had not seen it that way.


The Anti-Fascist War began in June 1941—the defensive war of Bolshevism against Fascist invasion.

Fascism, which had saved European civilisation from Bolshevism, embarked on a war of destruction on the Bolshevik state.  And Britain, which had set off this bizarre series of events by giving Czechoslovakia (with its strong natural border and advanced arms industry) to Germany in October 1938, formed an alliance with Bolshevism against Fascism and broadcast Bolshevik propaganda for four years, before reverting to the view that Bolshevism was the fundamental enemy of Western civilisation.

Nazi Germany did not cease to see itself in the role of defender of Western civilisation against barbarism when Britain joined the barbarians.  Therefore the war in the East—which was the war for three years—was a war without rules, or quarter, or restraint.  When civilisation is at war with its enemy there can be no restraint.  Witness the 'Indian Mutiny'.