Words & Speeches of WW2, 11th to 14th December, 1939

Monday December 11th, 1939
Extracts from White Book issued by Finnish Government, outlining the Soviet’s demands:
To make possible the blocking of the Gulf of Finland by artillery from both coasts to prevent enemy warships or transports entering the Gulf of Finland.
To make it possible to prevent any enemy gaining access to those islands in the Gulf of Finland situated west and north-west of the entrance to Leningrad.
To move the Finnish frontier along the Karelian Isthmus, now 20 miles from Leningrad – that is, within the range of big guns – to positions farther north and north-west.
To adjust the frontier in the north in the Petsamio region, where the frontier was badly and artificially drawn.
The following questions of common interest should be settled by mutual arrangement.
First: Leasing to the Soviet Union for 30 years the port of Hangoe and the territory adjoining situated within a radius of five to six nautical miles to the south and east, and three to the north and west, for the purpose of establishing a naval base with coastal artillery capable , in conjunction with the naval base at Paldiski (Estonia), of blocking access to the Gulf of Finland.
For the protection of the naval base the Finnish Government should permit the Soviet Union to maintain in the port of Hangoe the following: One infantry regiment, two anti-aircraft, batteries, three Air Force regiments, one battalion of armoured cars – the total not to exceed 5,000 men.
Finland in exchange for other territories, should grant the following: The islands of Suursaari, Sriskara, Lavanskari, Tytarskari and Koivisto, par of th Karelian Isthmus to a total fo about 1,066 square miles.

Tuesday, December 12th
Herr Von Ribbentrop in the preface to German White Book ‘Documents for the Period Proceeding the War’:
Since enemy propaganda is busy misleading the world about the cause of the war, it is important to prove beyond all doubt, with the help of official documents that Britain alone caused the war, and desired it in order to destroy Germany.
This collection of 482 documents deals with all the most important of the events from which the war with Poland, and then with Britain and France, developed. The documents show the systematic struggle conducted by the Poles, ever since the Great War, against Danzig and to destroy everything German in Poland. They prove the unlimited and gracious patience of the Fuehrer, and his statesmanlike endeavours to put German-Polish relations on a permanent basis that would do justice to the interests of both sides. They prove, on the other side, the short-sightedness and lack of understanding of the Polish rulers, who destroyed the possibility of reaching a final settlement that was offered again and again by Germany.
Above all, once can see from them how, immediately after Munich, Britain’s will to war became more and more obvious and how the British Government finally used the blindness of the Polish Government – Which Britain hand deliberately brought about – to unleash against Germany a war that had been planned long ago.
It would be necessary to give the history of the whole post-war period fully to unmask the hypocritical policy of British, whereby she opposed any attempt by Germany to free herself from the chains of Versailles, and stopped any possibility of a revision of those dictates at the conference table.
But it is sufficient to look a the short period since the autumn of 1930, on the basis of the documents in this White Book, to recognise that Britain had determined beforehand to meet the progress of the Führer with force – the Führer, whose statesmanship had removed the worse crimes of Versailles without bloodshed, and who would have succeeded in the same way in finding a peaceful solution of the German Polish question if Britain had not misused Poland as a tool in her desire for war.
This historic fact is confirmed by Britain’s insulting challenge to Germany in answer to the final magnanimous offer of peace which the Führer made in his Reichstag speech on October 6th……

Wednesday December 13th
Lord Halifax, Foreign Secretary, in the House of Lords:
….We are blamed…for not having made sufficient effort to conciliate Germany. I am not aware that Germany has exhausted herself in efforts to conciliate us, and I entirely decline to see this country put into the dock in international affairs and held in any way to blame comparably with Germany for the tragedy into which the world has moved…..
I am quite certain Hitler is very anxious for peace on his own terms. I cannot be sure that he is anxious for peace on terms that would make for the peace of Europe in later generations.
Nobody can feel more strongly than I do the horror and tragedy of war. Nobody can feel more strongly than any one of your Lordships about how criminally wrong it would be to miss any opportunity for peace.
But do not you come back to the fundamental question: Were you or were you not right to make a stand for the cause which led you into this war three months ago? I could understand the pacifist saying you were wrong, but if you were right, would it not be wrong to stop until you had done your utmost to secure the cause for which you went to war?…..

Mr Paul Reynauld, French finance Minister, in the Chamber of Deputies:
This is the language of sacrifice….I consider victory to be certain if Frenchmen will show themselves worthy of the great hours of their history. The war potential of the Allies is immense because the freedom of the sea, though disturbed, is still maintained.
After six years of the Nazi regime the German people are undergoing a nervous strain comparable with that which they underwent at the beginning of 1918 after three and a half years of war. Nazi leaders know that a military check would set in motion factors leading to the collapse of the regime drawing its sustenance from prestige and terrorism.
We must prepare ourselves against the dangers of prolonged military inaction. Hitler who is a revolutionary agitator, has watched German democracy fall to pieces. He has always since 1933 places his hope in the weakness of democracy, and he is still playing this card, believing that internal dissension will come as time passes…..
It is possible that this war, which began in a sort of apathy, many finish in a general conflagration. Perhaps in the darkest days our idea of liberty and of property will exist only in our hearts, but it will be there ready to blossom fourth after the days of trial.
That day is upon us, but we shall win. We shall conquer the enemy if first of all we conquer ourselves.

Resolution of League of Nations on Russian Invasion of Finland:
The Assembly of the League, having determined that by the aggression which she has committed against Finland the Soviet Union has violated all its agreements and special political accord with Finland, as well as the Pact of Paris (the Kellogg-Briand pact) and Article 12 of the Covenant of the League: and inasmuch as it has proceeded to a denunciation without legal right of the treaty of non-aggression concluded with Finland in 1932 which should have remained in force until the end of 1945.
Solemnly condemns the action of  the Soviet union against the Finnish State, addresses the present appeal to each member of the League so that it might furnish such material and humanitarian aid to Finland which is it able to do, and might sustain from any act which might abstain from any act which might diminish Finland’s power of defending herself, authorises the Secretary General to give all the aid of the League’s technical services to the assistance of Finland…..
Considering that the Soviet Union, in spite of the invitation extended to it, and which it rejected before the Council and the Assembly could make an inquiry into the conflict with Finland.
That by virtue of the fact that is has violated its most essential obligations towards the League and its guarantees for the peace and security of nations, and has acted in this affair as if the conditions outlined in Article 15 of the Covenant did not apply to itself.
That is has vainly tried to justify its rejection by pretending to be in relations with a Government which does not exist, either legally of in fact, and has ignored the Government of the Finnish people which represents Finland’s free institutions.
That the Soviet Union is not only guilty of violation of its obligations under the Covenant, but by this very fact is place beyond the jurisdiction of the Covenant.

Tuesday, December 14th
Resolution expelling Russia from League of Nations:
The Council having taken cognizance of the resolution adopted by the Assembly on December 14, 1939, regarding the appeal of the Finnish Government, (1) associates itself with the condemnation by the Assembly of the action of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic against the Finnish State, and (2) for the reasons set forth in the resolution of the Assembly, in virtue of Article 16, paragraph 4, of the Covenant, finds that, by it’s act, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has placed itself outside the League of Nations. It follows that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is no longer a member of the League.

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