A record of the Declarations and Solemn Speeches of the World’s Leaders.
Friday September 1st
Hitler in a speech to the Reichstag:
“I am determined to solve (1) the Danzig question, (2) the question of the Corridor, and (3) to see to it that a change is made to the relationship between Germany and Poland that shall ensure peaceful co-existence. In this I am resolved to continue the fight until either the present Polish Government is willing to bring about this change or until another Polish Government is ready to do so….
When statesmen in the West declare that this affects their interests, I can only regret such a declaration. It cannot for a moment make me hesitate to fulfil my duty.
Germany has no interests in the West, and our Western Wall is for all time the frontier of the Reich on the West. Moreover, we have no aims of any kind there for the future. This attitude on the part of the Reich will not change…
I will not war against women and children. I have ordered my Air Force to restrict itself to attacks on military objectives. If, however, the enemy thinks he can from that draw Carte Blanche on his side to fight by the other methods, he will receive an answer that will deprive him of hearing and sight. This night for the first time Polish regular soldier fired on our own territory. And, from now on, bombs will be met with bombs. Who-ever fights with poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Who-ever departs from the rules of humane warfare can only expect that we shall do the same. I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and it’s rights are secured…..
“I am from now on just First Soldier of the German Reich. I have once more put on that coat that was the most sacred and dear to me. I will not take it off again until victory is secured, or I will not survive the outcome….
“If our will is so strong that no hardship or suffering can subdue, then our will and our German might will prevail.”
Saturday September 2nd
Dr Szathmary, Minister of the Slovak Republic in Warsaw, to Colonel Beck, Polish Foreign Minister:
“In the name of Slovak people and it’s representatives who, under the pressure of the Third Reich, have been reduced to silence and have been reproached for penetrations exclusively in the interests of Germany, I protest against:
“The brutal disarmament of the Slovak Army,
“The Arbitrary occupation of Slovakia by the troops of the Third Reich,
“The use of Slovakia as a base for warlike action against the brotherly Polish people
“The Slovak people associates itself with armed resistance against the aggressor to regain it’s freedom in collaboration with the civilised nations of the world and in order that it may freely decide its own destiny.
Sunday September 3rd
Mr Chamberlain broadcasting from Downing Street..
“This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertakings have been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.
“You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed…..Up to the last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between Germany and Poland, but Hitler would not have it…
“His action shows convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practise of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force. We and France are today in fulfilment of our obligations going to the aid of Poland….We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace….
“It is the evil things that we shall be fighting against – brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution – and against them I am certain that the right will prevail.”
Mr Chamberlain in House of Commons:
“…..This country is now at war with Germany….It is as sad day for all of us. For none is it sadder than for me. Everything that I worked for, everything that I had hoped for, everything that I believed in during my public life has crashed into ruins this morning….
“I trust I may live to see the day when hitlerism has been destroyed and a restored and liberated Europe has been re-established.”
Rt. Hon. A Greenwood:
“….The intolerable agony and suspense from which all of us have suffered is over. We now know the worst. The hated word ‘War’ has now been spoken in Britain in fulfilment of her pledged word and unbreakable intention to defend the liberties of Europe….May the war be swift and short and the peace which follows stand proudly for ever on the shattered ruins of an evil name.”
M Daladier in a broadcast:
“The responsibility for the bloodshed rest wholly on the Hitlerite Government. The fate of peace was in the bands of Hitler. He has willed war….By standing up against the most horrible of all tyrannies and by making good our word, we are fighting to defend out land, our homes and our liberty….”
HM The King in a broadcast:
“In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.
“For those second time in the lives of most of us we are at war. Over and Over again we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies. But is has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict. For we are called, with our Allies, to meet the challenge of principle which, if it to prevail would be fatal to any civilised order in the world.
“It is the principle which permits a State, in the selfish pursuit of power, to disregard it’s treaties and it’s solemn pledges; which sanctions the use of force, or threat of force, against the Sovereignty and independence of other States.
“Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right; and if this principle were established throughout the world, the freedom of our own country and of the whole British commonwealth of Nations would be in danger.
“but fat more than this – the peoples of the world would be kept in the bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and of the security of justice and liberty among nations would be ended.
“This is the ultimate issue which confronts us. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, and of the world’s order and peace. It is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge.
“It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas, who will make our cause their own.
“I ask them to stand calm, firm and united in this time of trial. The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield. But we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God.
“If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever services or sacrifice is may demand then, with God’s help, we shall prevail.
“May, He bless and keep us all.”
Monday September 4th
Message broadcast by the Prime Minister to to the German Nation:
“Your country and mine are now at war. Your Government has bombed and invaded the free and independent State of Poland, which this country is in honour bound to defend….
“You are told by your Government that you are fighting because Poland rejected your Leader’s offer and resorted to force, What are the facts?
“The so-called ‘offer’ was made to the Polish Ambassador in Berlin on Thursday evening, two hours before the announcement by your Government that it has been ‘rejected’. So far from having been rejected, there had been no time even to consider it…..
“You may ask why Great Britain is concerned. We are concerned because we gave our world of honour to defend Poland against aggression.
“Why did we feel it necessary to pledge ourselves to defend this Eastern Power when our interests lie in the West, and when your Leader has said he has no interest in the West? The answer is that – and I regret to have to say it – nobody in this country any longer places any trust in your Leader’s word.
“He gave his word that he would respect the Locarno Treaty; he broke it.
“He gave his word that he neither wished nor intended to annex Austria; he broke it.
“He declared that he would not incorporate the Czechs in the Reich; he did so.
“He gave his word after Munich that he has no further territorial demands on Europe; he broke it.
“He gave his word that he wanted no Polish provinces; he broke it.
“He has sworn to you for years that he was the mortal enemy of Bolshevism; he is now it’s ally.
“Can you wonder that his world is, for us, not worth the paper it is written on?
“The German-Soviet Pact was a cynical volteface, designed to shatter the Peace Front against aggression. This gamble failed. The Peace Front stands firm. Your Leader is now sacrificing you, the German people, to the still more monstrous gamble of a war, to extricate himself from the impossible position in to which he has led himself and you.
“in this war we are not fighting against you, the German people, for whom we have no bitter feeling, but against a tyrannous and forsworn regime, which has betrayed not only its own people, but the whole of Western civilisation, and all that you and we hold dear.”