WITNESS TO HISTORY
PEACE GETS THE NELSON'S EYE
SIR HARTLEY SHAWCROSS:
"Step by step I have arrived at the conviction that the aims of Communism in Europe are sinister and fatal.
"At the Nuremberg Trials, I, together with my Russian colleague, condemned Nazi aggression and terror.
"I believe now that Hitler and the German people did not want war. But we declared war on Germany, intent on destroying it, in accordance with our principle of balance of power, and we were encouraged by the 'Americans' around Roosevelt.
"We ignored Hitler's pleadings not to enter into war. Now we are forced to realise that Hitler was right. He offered us the co-operation of Germany; instead, since 1945, we have been facing the immense power of the Soviet Union. I feel ashamed and humiliated to see that the aims we accused Hitler of, are being relentlessly pursued now, only under a different label." -- British Attorney General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, Stourbridge, March 16th, 1984 (AP)
COMPLETE DISARMAMENT OFFERED BY HITLER:
On May 17th, 1933, in a speech to the Reichstag, Hitler offered complete German disarmament, if others would do likewise. There was no response.
After October 14th, 1933, Hitler again put forward proposals which included arms limitation, particularly the elimination of weapons designed for use against civilian populations, and the preparation of a mutual non-aggression pact. France said 'non!' Others did not responds at all, and France, Britain and Russia increased their arms build-up.
On May 21st, 1935, Hitler sought to limit the dropping of gas, incendiary and explosive bombs out side of battle zones. He was also ready to agree to the abolition of the heaviest artillery and tanks, and to accept any limitation on the size of naval vessels. Again, there was no response save for France making an aggressive anti-German alliance with the Soviet Union.
On March 31st, 1936, Hitler formulated a nineteen-point peace plan that included the reduction of arms, and to bring aerial warfare under the protection of the Geneva Convention. His proposals were ignored.
The repeated rejection of Hitler's proposals to assure equitable peace in Europe would indicate that the Western powers were preparing for armed conflict against Germany, a conflict from which only the allies could benefit. Lord Lothian had predicted such a war in a speech on June 5th, 1934.
HITLER PREFERRED CONCILIATION:
"It must be possible for our two great people (Germany and France) to join together and collaborate in opposing the difficulties which threaten to overwhelm Europe." -- Adolf Hitler, March, 1935
IT WAS THE ALLIES, NOT HITLER WHO BROKE THE TERMS OF THE VERSAILLES TREATY
"It was not Germany that unilaterally broke the Versailles Treaty -- it was unilaterally broken by those powers who could not decide to carry out in their turn the disarmament which was imposed on Germany and which, in accordance with the Treaty, should have been followed by them. The Versailles Dictate was thus rendered invalid in regard to the points at issue. . .
"The German Government, consequent on the failure of the other states to fulfil their disarmament obligations, have on their part renounced those articles of the Versailles Treaty which constituted a discrimination against Germany for an unlimited period of time owing to the one sided burden this laid upon Germany contrary to the provisions of the Treaty." Adolf Hitler
"This Treaty brought in the first division of Europe, namely a division of the nations into the victors on the one side and vanquished on the other, the latter nations being outlawed." Adolf Hitler, Reichstag speech, Fourth Anniversary
"When the German people trusting to the promises made by President Wilson in his Fourteen Points, laid down their arms in November, 1918, a fateful struggle thereby came to an end for which perhaps individual statesmen, but certainly not the peoples themselves could be held responsible.
"The German nation put up such an heroic fight because it was sincere in its conviction that it had been wrongfully attacked and was therefore justified in fighting. . . the Peace Treaty of Versailles did not seem to be for the purpose of restoring peace to mankind, but rather to perpetuate hatred." Adolf Hitler
"Germany suffered most as a consequence of this Peace Treaty and the general insecurity which was bound to arise from it. The unemployment figure rose to a third of the number usually employed in the nation, which means, however, that by counting the families of the unemployed as well there were 26 million people in Germany out of a population of 65 millions faced by an absolutely hopeless future." Adolf Hitler
"The fantastic political and economic burdens imposed by that treaty have entirely disillusioned the German people and annihilated its belief in justice." Adolf Hitler
"Historians will one day record that never were the peaceful proposals of one man met with more hatred than mine. When Germany became the example to the world of the peaceful solution of social problems and economic difficulties, the hatred of the Bolsheviks and capitalists, the exploiters of nations, was turned against her. Only then did I turn to create the new German Wehrmacht." Adolf Hitler, 1936
HESS ON THE VERSAILLES TREATY
"The masses of the German people could not believe that a pledge so solemnly given by the supreme head of the United States of America could afterwards be openly ignored." Rudolf Hess, Stockholm
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
". . . then I would point out that the League has never been a real league of peoples. A number of great nations do not belong to it or have left it. And nobody on this account asserted that they were following a policy of isolation. I should also like to call attention to the fact that up to now the outstanding feature of the League of Nations has been talk rather than action." Adolf Hitler, Reichstag speech, Fourth Anniversary
"The German people once built up a colonial empire without robbing anyone and without violating any treaty. And they did so without any war. That colonial empire was taken away from us. And the grounds on which it was sought to excuse this act are not tenable.
"Moreover, Germany has never demanded colonies for military purposes, but exclusively for economic purposes. Therefore, as a matter of course our demand for colonies for our densely populated country will be put forward again and again." -- Adolf Hitler, Reichstag speech; Fourth Anniversary
THE ARMS BUILD-UP AGAINST GERMANY CONTINUED APACE
"Czechoslovakia provided Soviet Russia with landing fields for aircraft, thereby increasing the threat against Germany." -- Adolf Hitler
1936, Hitler sent notes to the British Government advocating outlawing bomber type aeroplanes and bombing as a means of warfare. Anthony Eden defended the bomber as an 'effective and humane police weapon,' in maintaining law and order among the unruly tribes in some of the British colonies.
On April 1st, 1936, Hitler's proposals for a European pacification plan for Europe were delivered to the Geneva League of Nations. His proposals included the prohibition of the dropping of gas, poisonous or incendiary bombs; the prohibition of dropping any bombs outside fighting fronts, the prohibition of artillery weapons over 12 miles from battle zones.
"The German Government hereby declare themselves prepared to accede to every such arrangement insofar as it is internationally valid."
He went on to say that he understood that Germany's economic prosperity caused problems, and put forward a proposal that soon, after steps being taken for mutual disarmament:
"There would be an exchange of opinions on the economic situation in Europe."
As with all Germany's proposals for arms limitation, non-aggression pacts, the confinement of weapons to battle zones, etc. these proposals were also ignored.
"As one who fought in the front line trenches to other front line soldiers throughout the world, as a Leader of the German nation to the leaders of other nations, I ask: Must this thing be? With goodwill and co-operation cannot we save humanity from this?" -- Rudolf Hess
"If the powers in Western Europe were not blind they would not hesitate to sign the Pact of Non-Aggression suggested by Germany; a Pact which guarantees the peace of Europe for a period of twenty-five years." -- The influential Spanish newspaper, A.B.C., three months before the outbreak of war
"The ex-soldiers who are now in the German Government honourably desire peace and understanding. I appeal to the ex-servicemen and to men of goodwill in the governments of all nations to give us their combined support in striving towards this goal. In peace we desire to build in common what is destroyed in common through war." Rudolf Hess. Speech to ex-soldiers, Konigsberg
HITLER ON PEACE
"There is not a single German who wants war. The last war cost us 2 million lives and seven and a half million wounded. At such a price, this could not have been a victory even if we had won.
"What European statesman today could effect a territorial conquest by means of war? Is it necessary to kill 2 millions in order to conquer a territory with 2 million inhabitants? For us that would mean sacrificing 2 million Germans -- the flower of the nation's manhood -- in exchange for a mixed population that is neither wholly German nor has much in common with Germany. Sound common-sense is opposed to such a war." -- Adolf Hitler, Paris Soir, January 26th, 1936
"If the Germany of today takes her stand on the side of peace she does so not because of weakness or cowardice. She takes her stand on the side of peace because of the National Socialist conception of People and State.
"In each and every war for the subjugation of an alien people, National Socialism recognises a process which sooner or later will alter the inner nature of the victor -- will weaken him and therewith render him vanquished in turn. Setting aside a mere transitory weakening of the enemy, the European states have nothing whatsoever to gain from war of any kind, except a trifling alteration of frontiers which could be entirely out of proportion to the sacrifices entailed.
"The blood that was shed on European battlefields during the past 300 years bears no proportion to the national result of the events. In the end France has remained France, Germany Germany, Poland Poland and Italy Italy." -- Adolf Hitler, 'The Thirteen Points', Reichstag Speech
"The German Government are ready in principle to conclude pacts of non-aggression with their neighbour states, and to supplement these pacts with all provisions aiming at the isolation of the war-maker and the localisation of the areas of the war." -- Adolf Hitler, 'The Thirteen Points', Reichstag Speech
Referring to the original aims of the Geneva Red Cross Convention to work towards reducing armaments, Hitler stated his intention to extend this.
". . . In this instance the German Government have in mind to ban all arms which bring death and destruction not so much to the fighting soldiers but to non-combatant women and children. . . they believe that it will be possible to proscribe the use of certain arms as contrary to international law and to excommunicate from the community of mankind -- its rights and its laws -- those nations who continue to use them." -- Adolf Hitler, 'The Thirteen Points', Reichstag Speech
"Three times I have made concrete offers for armament restriction. These offers were rejected. The greatest offer which I then made was that Germany and France together should reduce their standing armies to 300,000 men; that Germany, Great Britain and France, should bring down their air forces to parity and that Germany and Great Britain should conclude a naval agreement. Only the last offer was accepted as real limitation of armaments.
"The other German proposals were either flatly refused or where answered by the conclusion of those alliances which gave Central Europe to Soviet Russia as the field of play for its gigantic forces."
"If the rest of the world entrenches itself in indestructible fortresses, builds enormous flying squadrons, gigantic tanks and casts huge guns, it cannot consider it a menace if German National Socialists march in columns wholly unarmed, thereby giving visible expression of the German feeling of national community and providing it with effective protection. . . the German nation and the German Government have not asked for arms at all, but only for equality of rights.
"But if every other nation is allowed to have certain arms, we are on principle not prepared to allow ourselves to be excluded from this rule as a nation with lesser rights!
"The German nation has more than fulfilled its disarmament obligations. It is now the turn of those states that have been increasing their armaments to fulfil their own obligations in the same way. Germany has as much right to security as other nations." -- Adolf Hitler
"May the time not be far off when all other European nations will come to the realisation that the primary necessity is putting an end to the quarrels and strife of centuries and of building up of a finer community of all peoples is: The recognition of a higher common duty arising out of common rights." -- Adolf Hitler
"MY FIRST PROPOSAL:
"Germany demands at all costs equality with other nations, but it is prepared to renounce all further armaments if other nations will do the same. In other words, general disarmament down to the last machine-gun. This proposal was not even deemed worthy of the rest of the world as fit for a single discussion."
"I MADE A SECOND PROPOSAL:
"Germany was willing to restrict her army to 200,000 men on the condition that other nations would do the same. This also was rejected."
"I MADE A FURTHER PROPOSAL:
"Germany was prepared, provided other nations wanted this, to renounce all heavy artillery, tanks, bombing planes and if necessary all types of aeroplanes. But this was also rejected."
"I WENT FURTHER and proposed to limit by international agreement all European armies to 300,000 men. This was also rejected."
"I SUBMITTED STILL FURTHER PROPOSALS:
"Limitation of all aircraft, abolition of air bombing and gas warfare, security for those in non-warfare areas, abolition of at least all heavy artillery and tanks. All these proposals were also declined. All had been in vain." Adolf Hitler
The German re-occupation of the de-militarised Rhineland in 1936 is often held up as proof of Hitler's willingness to break his word. In fact, France was the first to break the Rhine Pact, and the Locarno and League of Nations Agreements too, by signing a Pact with the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, thereby collaborating in an aggressive military build-up encircling Germany.
Hitler reminded the French that as early as winter, 1935/36, the Soviet Union, with which France was collaborating, was mobilising the world's largest army, tank and air forces along eastern Europe's borders.
"Then a completely new state of affairs has been brought about and the political system of the Rhine Pact had been destroyed both in the letter and in the spirit. . . with a military pact with the Soviet Union exclusively directed against Germany and in violation of the Rhine Pact." -- Adolf Hitler
In the same speech, Hitler offered:
"to negotiate with France and Belgium for the establishment of a bilateral demilitarised zone, proposed the conclusion of a non-aggression pact between Germany, France and Belgium for a period of twenty-five years, invited England and Italy as guarantors with the same inclusion of the Netherlands should they so wish. He at the same time offered agreements with countries to the east of Germany." Adolf Hitler, March, 1936
These proposals were rejected.
GERMANY PLEADS FOR PEACE
"I speak in the name of the entire German nation when I say that all of us most sincerely desire to root out an enmity whose sacrifices are out of all proportion to any possible gain.
"The German people are convinced that their honour has remained pure and unstained upon a thousand battlefields, just as they see in the French soldier only their ancient but glorious opponent.
"We, and the whole German nation, should all be happy at the thought that we could spare our children and our children's' children what we ourselves as honourable men have had to watch in the long and bitter years and have, ourselves had to suffer.
"The history of the last one hundred and fifty years, with all its varied changes and chances, should have taught both at least one lesson; that important and permanent changes can no longer be purchased by a sacrifice of blood.
"I, as a National Socialist, and all my followers, absolutely refuse, however, by reasons of our national principles, to acquire, at the cost of the life-blood of those who love and are dear to us, men and women of a foreign nation who, in any case, will never love us.
"It would be a day of untold blessing for the whole of humanity if the two nations once and for all would banish the idea of force from their mutual relationships; the German nation is prepared to do this.
"While boldly asserting the rights which the treaties themselves give us, I will, however, declare equally boldly that in future there will be for Germany no more territory conflicts between the two countries.
"After the return of the Saar Basin to the Reich it would be insanity to think of a war between the two states. For such a war there could no longer be, from our point of view, any reasonable or moral excuse.
"For nobody could demand that millions of young lives be destroyed in order to correct the present frontiers. Such a correction would be of a problematical extent and even more problematical worth.
"The German nation has more than fulfilled its obligations with regard to disarmament. It is now the turn of the highly armed states to fulfil similar obligations to no less extent." Adolf Hitler, October, 14th, 1933
A LAST CHANCE APPEAL FOR PEACE
On August, 25th, days before the outbreak of war, Hitler made a generous and comprehensive offer of a final understanding with England. On August, 27th, 1939, an emissary, Dahlerus, took these proposals to 10 Downing Street for presentation to Prime Minister Chamberlain and Foreign Minister Lord Halifax. These proposals in essence were:
1. Germany would sign a Pact of Alliance with Britain
2. Britain would act as mediator with Poland for the return of Danzig and the corridor to Germany with Poland being allowed the use of the port of Danzig.
3. Germany would guarantee the sovereignty of Poland.
4. Agreement on Germany's confiscated colonies.
5. Adequate guarantees for the well-being of German minorities in Poland.
6. Germany would provide aid in the defence of the British Empire when called upon to do so.
Britain ignored these proposals choosing instead to guarantee Poland's unjust occupation and retention of territory given to her as 'victors booty' following the first world war under the terms of the Versailles Treaty.
[See the German White Book for details of the efforts made by Adolf Hitler to avoid war. Germans living in the free city of Danzig were being oppressed, tortured and killed by Polish government forces.]
"I hope that the outside world will realise that Hitler's government has no idea of steering towards war, even though this has often been asserted abroad. As Adolf Hitler himself has said, Germany has no need of another war to avenge the loss of her military honour, because she never lost that honour. Germany does not want war of any kind. Germany wants real and abiding peace." -- Rudolf Hess
"I owe it to my position not to admit any doubt as to the possibility of maintaining peace. The peoples want peace. It must be possible for governments to maintain it. We believe that if the nations of the world could agree to destroy all their gas and inflammatory and explosive bombs it would be a much more useful achievement than using them to destroy each other." -- Adolf Hitler
"National Socialist Germany wishes for peace because it recognises the simple fact that no war would be likely to substantially ameliorate the state of distress in Europe. The distress would probably be made the greater thereby. . . If only the leaders and rulers had wanted peace, the people would never have wished for war." -- Adolf Hitler
"The Fuhrer is one of the soldiers who fought in the trenches. I am one also. Nearly all the Fuhrer's collaborators are men who fought in the most terrible war of all time. We know what war is, and for that reason we are lovers of peace." Rudolf Hess
"The world which we are not harming in any way, and from which we only ask that it will allow us to go about our business in peace, has been submerging us for months under a flood of untruths and calumnies." -- Adolf Hitler, 14th October, 1933
"The German Government has the honest intention to do everything in its power to discover and permanently set up such relations with the British people and State as will forever guard against a renewal of the only conflict that has ever been between two peoples." -- Adolf Hitler, May 21st, 1935
"As far as concerns our two countries, there is no longer any point whatsoever in dispute between Great Britain and Germany. This, I believe, became clear to everybody after the conclusion of the German-English Naval Pact, on June 18th, 1935, which marks the first step on the road to a practical peace policy." Adolf Hitler, June 18th, 1935
Agreeing to limit German naval strength to just 35% of Royal Navy tonnage -- in respect of her Empire commitment -- and 15% below that of France, he said:
"There has only been one struggle between these two nations, and the German Government has the straight-forward intention to try and form, and maintain, a relationship with the British people and State which will for all time prevent a repetition of this."
"The British Heir Apparent, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, recently uttered a word which has called forth a warm re-echo in our country. He said: 'No one is more fitted to stretch out the hand of friendship to Germany than we, the English ex-servicemen who fought them -- and have forgotten all that.'
"I believe that I cannot better supplement this thought of our English comrades than by saying: We gladly grasp your hand in friendship."
BRITISH/GERMAN EX-SERVICEMEN FOR PEACE
"Through your visit you have found a road which ought to lead to an understanding between our two nations. That our people feel as we do has been proved to you by the welcome which the population of Berlin accorded you on your arrival.
"When we who had fought against one another have now come together this may be the beginning of relations which shall develop from country to country, from ex-soldier to ex-soldier. And just as we, who are now comrades, have forgotten the quarrel that once led us to fight one another as brave soldiers, so it is our wish that with the passing of the years our people will see those wounds healed which the war inflicted.
"You, my English comrades, used to call us Fritz when we were fighting against you, and we used to call you by your old soldier name, Tommy. May both our peoples so understand one another in the future as we, Tommy and Fritz, understand one another now." -- Reich Leader, National Socialist War Victims Relief to a British Legion deputation visiting Germany
MAJOR F.W.C. FETHERSTONE-GODLEY
"There is a tremendous desire on the part of all German ex-servicemen for world peace. Their main desire appeared to be the closest possible co-operation between Great Britain and Germany. An Anglo-German organisation would perhaps be scarcely practicable, but this strong feeling for co-operation ought to be turned to good purpose.
"It is hoped in the not too distant future to have ex-servicemen throughout the world linked together in some way as to pursue the common objective of world peace. In Germany it is difficult to divorce ex-service matters from national affairs, because the present government is so largely composed of ex-servicemen.
"The youth of Germany is obviously being trained to regard peace as the greatest ideal, realising that the future of civilisation depends on its maintainance." -- Major F.W.C. Fetherstone-Godley, British Legion Delegate. Daily Mail
"Our aim is to make our people happy once more by guaranteeing to them their daily bread. The work involved is great, and the world should leave us to carry it out in peace." Adolf Hitler, 22nd October, 1933
"We Germans don't like this war. We think it is needless and silly." -- Joseph Goebbels, Daily Mail, January, 13th,1940
"In this hour I feel it to be my duty before my own conscience to appeal once more to reason and common sense in Britain. I consider myself in a position to make this appeal since I am not the vanquished begging favours, but the victor speaking in the name of reason. I see no reason why this war must go on. I am grieved to think of the sacrifices which it will claim. I would like to avert them." -- Adolf Hitler, July 19th, 1940 to the Reichstag
"After the victories against Poland and in the West, I again decided -- and for the last time -- to hold out my hand to England and to point out that a continuation of the war could only be senseless for England, and that there was nothing to prevent the conclusion of a reasonable peace. Indeed there were no differences between England and Germany except those artificially created." -- Adolf Hitler, November, 1941
And this time the German government was still working for a negotiated peace and issued the following statement:
"It is quite certain that the peace which will follow the German victories will not be of the Versailles type but will be a peace for the benefit of all nations. The people of those countries occupied today will regain their freedom but in the common interests of all nations they will have to compromise with certain legalities and conditions." -- Adolf Hitler
This was Hitler's last great peace initiative which was declined. Britain went on to suffer 350,000 dead, £25,000,000, 000,000 (in 1945 values), the loss of her Empire, Britain impoverished and beholden to American finance, middle Europe destroyed, and eastern Europe subjugated and enslaved by the Soviet Union; their erstwhile allies.
"I realised that the fight was not against enemy nations, but against international capital." -- Adolf Hitler
"There you are! Unrestricted warfare in the whole Pacific Ocean, where America really doesn't belong! And when we make a Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia which belonged to Germany for a thousand years, it is considered aggression." -- Joachim von Ribbentrop, Germany's Foreign Minister from his Nuremberg cell
"Just imagine going to war over Danzig -- such a world catastrophe, just to prevent Germany from getting a piece of territory that belonged to her, because Britain was afraid Germany was getting too strong." -- Joachim von Ribbentrop, Germany's Foreign Minister
"Do you think gentlemen, that I am an idiot and will let myself be forced into war because of the question of the Danzig Corridor?" -- Adolf Hitler
FRANCE ATTACKS GERMANY -- GERMANY RESPONDS
On September 3rd, 1939, Britain and France declared war against Germany; the French piercing the German border and occupying German territory between the Rhine and the Moselle. Rather than retaliating, Hitler again offered peace on October 6th, which was again rebuffed.
Fearing that a prolonged defensive war in the West along similar lines to those fought at such appalling loss of life in the First World War, would leave Germany weakened and vulnerable to the Red Army waiting at Germany's eastern borders, Hitler was forced to counter attack in the hope that the defeat of France would bring Britain to the negotiating table.
On May 10th, with forces far inferior to those of France and Britain, Hitler finally decided to close Germany's front door. The French and British (BEF) armed forces were routed and a fortnight later retreated across the English Channel on anything that would float.
"A colossal military disaster." -- Winston Churchill
"This is the end of the British Empire." -- Anthony Eden
"Whilst as in all battles there were genuine tales of derring do which were reported with understandably a little embroidery, it was not until twenty-years after the event that Richard Collier recounted stories never rebutted, of anarchic servicemen abandoned by officers, drunken revelry between French, British and Senegalese troops, mutiny; of a Kentish Police Officer who recalled 'only too well the sight of dispirited men hurling their rifles from the trains carrying them from Dover." -- Richard Collier, The Sands of Dunkirk, London, Collins, 1961
The Sunday Dispatch put the success of the evacuation down to divine intervention following a nation-wide service of prayer following which the notoriously rough channel "became as smooth as a pond" and
"a fog descended to shield our troops from devastating attack by the enemy's air strength." -- 'The First Casualty', Phillip Knightley, Andre Deutsch. London. 1975
"In 1962, General Sir Harold E. Franklyn, who had been a divisional commander at Dunkirk, complained that the evacuation had been 'over-glamourised'. He said reports of 'merciless bombing' and 'the hell of Dunkirk' were quite ridiculous. 'I walked along the beach on several occasions and never saw a corpse. . . there was very little shelling." -- The First Casualty, Phillip Knightley, Andre Deutsch. London. 1975
"Never was a great disaster more easily preventable," said Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart. Military historian who pointed out that the German breakthrough reported as being due to overwhelming superiority, was actually achieved with armies inferior in numbers to those opposing them.
In fact, the 'miracle of Dunkirk' owes more to Hitler's conciliatory stance than to the Almighty calming the waters and placing a fog between the retreating British Expeditionary Force and its German pursuers.
FRIENDSHIP WITH BRITAIN -- 338,000 BRITISH AND FRENCH TROOPS -- SAVED BY HITLER
In explaining why Hitler intervened in the military operations to allow the escape of 188,000 British and 150,200 French troops at Dunkirk, General Blumentritt said:
"He then astonished us by speaking with admiration of the British Empire, of the necessity for its existence and of the civilisation that Britain had brought to the world.
"He compared the British Empire with the Catholic Church -- saying they were both essential elements of stability in the world. He said that all he wanted from Britain was that she should acknowledge Germany's position on the continent.
"The return of Germany's lost colonies would be desirable but not essential, and he would even offer to support British troops, if she should be involved in any difficulties anywhere. He concluded by saying that his aim was to make peace with Britain, on a basis that she would regard as compatible with her honour to accept."
"The German generals in charge were dumbfounded and outraged at Hitler's attitude in thus preventing them from pressing an advantage which they believed would result in the capture of the entire British Expeditionary Force. But Hitler was adamant in his refusal and issued the most peremptory orders for the German armoured forces to stay at a distance while the British embarkation went on."
Thus, the success of the British retreat at Dunkirk being described as 'the miracle of Dunkirk' owes its miraculous nature more to the French Army fighting a rearguard retreat and Hitler again behaving in a conciliatory way.
As William Joyce cynically put it: " England is fighting to the last Frenchman."
Very often, the Wehrmacht (and Waffen SS) found their military advantage removed by the more conciliatory Hitler, and it was not unknown for the armed forces to disregard such orders:
"During the pursuit of the British forces towards Dunkirk the Leibstandarte (regiment) was ordered to cross the heavily defended Aa Canal and seize the town of Watten. On the afternoon of 24th May, 1940, however the Fuehrer's Headquarters countermanded the crossing. Dietrich (Sepp) simply disregarded Hitler's order and a few hours later his troops were over the canal." -- Heinz Hoehne, The Order of the Death's Head, p.481/482
It is interesting but hardly surprising to note that even fifty years on, Hitler's Germany is held to be the aggressor in attacking a weaker France, when the undeniable fact is that the far more militarily powerful France -- without in anyway being threatened by Germany, invaded her neighbour and throughout the autumn and spring 1939 - 1940 shelled German communities; in the face of which Germany showed remarkable tolerance before retaliating. In doing so and as the foremost British historian A.J.P. Taylor pointed out, Hitler was motivated to do so 'only on preventive grounds.'
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
Likewise the myths that surround the 'Battle of Britain' have been repeated so often that they are now accepted as gospel. It was Phillip Knightley, the special correspondent (Sunday Times) and author who in his book, The First Casualty -- The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker from the Crimea to Vietnam', revealed that Britain in 'its finest hour' was far from being the underdog of legend.
British air defence consisted of 1,416 aircraft against 963 German aircraft. Britain had the further advantage of retrieving downed pilots and salvaging downed aeroplanes whereas German aircraft and pilots were irretrievably lost.
". . . yet throughout the battle the RAF regularly lost more fighters than the Luftwaffe -- it was the German bombers that swelled the score and to break even the British had to shoot down a great many of them."
which in fact he goes on to point out owed more to the radar advantage.
Fighter pilots often found Churchill's rhetoric embarrassing, not the least such descriptions as 'crusaders' who 'grin when they fight'. It was in many respects an ignoble and bloody confrontation in which German pilots, knowing that the parachuting enemy could be airborne again within hours had no compunction about firing on them. Similarly, the RAF had no qualms about shooting down a Heinkel 59 clearly marked with a Red Cross and civilian markings, as it engaged itself in rescuing downed German pilots.
In fact, the only RAF pilot to win a Victoria Cross, Flight-Lieutenant J.B. Nicholson, was wounded by the Home Guard who mistaking him for a German pilot, blazed away at him as he parachuted to earth.
FIGHTING ON THE BEACHES -- OF NEW ENGLAND (U.S.A)
The Duke of Windsor was appointed Governor of the Bahamas, the gold reserves of the Bank of England were shipped off to Ottawa, the Minister of Information, Alfred Duff Cooper sent his son Julius to Canada -- but failed to inform everyone. Parents who could afford to shipped their families out to America or the Commonwealth. Royal Navy ships were placed on standby to evacuate members of the Royal Family and key members of the government to the United States.
"In June, July and August of 1940, over 6,000 children took part in the exodus of the rich." -- The Fears that Flawed the Finest Hour, P. Addison, Sunday Times Magazine, May 21st, 1972
"The working class began to feel, with some justification, that the rich had plans to get out whilst the going was good." -- The First Casualty, Phillip Knightley, Andre Deutsch. London. 1975
RUDOLF HESS AND HIS FLIGHT FOR PEACE
"The Fuhrer does not want to defeat England and wants to stop fighting." --
Rudolf Hess on his peace mission to England
"The decision to go was the hardest I have ever made in my life. It was rendered easier, however, when I visualised the endless rows of coffins, both in Germany and in England, with mothers in dire distress following behind. I am convinced that the mothers on both sides of the channel will have understood my action." -- Rudolf Hess
Hess was imprisoned and never released. He died under suspicious circumstances which have never adequately been explained, nearly fifty years on. In terms of the rank he held, the length of imprisonment and the denial of a properly constituted trial, the imprisonment of Rudolf Hess must rank as the first and worst example of peace emissary detention.
HITLER'S REPLY TO ROOSEVELT - April 15th, 1939
"During the whole of my political activity I have always propounded the idea of a close friendship and collaboration between Germany and England. In the NSDAP, I found innumerable others of like mind. This desire for Anglo-German friendship and co-operation conforms not merely to sentiments based on the racial origins of our two peoples but also to my realisation of the importance of the existence of the British Empire for the whole of mankind." -- Hitler's Reply to Roosevelt. April 15th, 1939
"Now there is no doubt that the Anglo-Saxon people of Britain have accomplished immense colonising work in the world. For this, I have sincere admiration." -- Hitler's Reply to Roosevelt, April 15th, 1939
When asked by Joachim von Ribbentrop, his Foreign Minister, what he should do if it came to the point of surrender, Hitler replied that he should try to remain on good terms with Britain. "He always wanted that you know." Ribbentrop sadly concluded.
"It is not true that I wished for war in 1939, neither I nor anyone else in Germany. War was provoked exclusively by those international statesmen who were of Jewish race or who worked in the interests of international Jewry. . ." -- Adolf Hitler, Last Will and Testament. April 29,1945
Next -- Chapter 9 -- THE 'RACE NATION' DECLARES WAR ON GERMANY