NOTE ON TEXT ENCODING: To display English and German text, select Character Encoding "Western." For Russian, select Character Encoding "Cyrillic (Windows".

The Secret Protocols to the M-R Pact Did NOT Plan Any Partition of Poland

Up to at least September 7 Hitler was considering making peace with Poland if Poland sued for peace. General Franz Halder, Chief of the General Staff of the Army (Chef des Generalstabs des Heeres), wrote in his "War Diary" -- Halder F. Kriegstagebuch. Tдgliche Aufzeichnungen des Chefs des Generalstabes des Heeres 1939-1942. Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1962-1964. I have used Band I. Vom Polenfeldzug bis zum Ende der Westoffensive (14.8.1939 - 30.6.1940).

OB beim Fьhrer (7.9. nachmittag): 3 Mцglichkeiten:

1. Polen kommen zu Verhandlungen: er bereit zur Verhandlung: Trennung von Frankreich und England, Restpolen wird anerkannt. Narew – Warschau = Polen. Industriegebiet wir. Krakau, Polen. Nordrand Beskiden wir. Ukraine selbstдndig. (I, S. 65)

7 September 1939

The High Command with the Fuehrer (second half of the day 7 September): Three different ways the situation may develop.

1. The Poles offer to begin negotiations. He [Hitler - GF] is ready for negotiations [on the following conditions]: [Poland must] break with England and France. A part of Poland will be [preserved and] recognized. [The regions from the] Narev to Warsaw - to Poland. The industrial region - to us. Krakow - to Poland. The northern region of the Beskidow mountains - to us. [The provinces of the Western] Ukraine - independent.

So on September 7 Hitler was considering independence for Western Ukraine even though, according to the "Secret Protocol" of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact the Western Ukraine lay within the Soviet sphere of influence. This shows that:

1. The Secret Protocol about spheres of influence was not about the "partition of Poland."

Hitler was prepared to negotiate over the Western Ukraine with the Poles, not with the Soviets. The Western Ukraine lay entirely within the Soviet "sphere of influence" as defined by the Secret Protocol of the M-R Pact.

2. Hitler was not planning to liquidate the Polish state as late as September 7.

In his entries for September 9 and September 10 Halder repeats that the Germans are discussing the formation of an independent state in the Western Ukraine. This is further evidence that the Secret Protocols of the M-R Pact did not concern any "partition of Poland."

September 9:

OB vormerken: … b) Selbststдndigkeit der West-Ukraine. (I, S. 67)

Bring to the attention of the Supreme Command: ... b) The independence of the Western Ukraine.

September 10:

Warlimont: a) Aufruf Westukraine kommt. (I, S. 68)

Warlimont: a) A call to the Western Ukraine is imminent.

Col. Walter Warlimont was deputy head of operations at the German High Command. A note in the annotated text of Halder's diary reads:

Nдmlich fьr die Errichtung eines selbstдndiges Staates aus der polnischen Ukraine. (I, S. 68 Anm. 6)

That is, for the setting up of an independent state out of Polish Ukraine.

Under September 11 Halder noted that:

Grenzьbertritt polnischer aktiver Soldaten nach Rumдnien hat begonnen. (I, S. 71)

The flight of active Polish soldiers [= combat troops] into Rumania has begun.

On September 12 Halder noted: "Talks between the High Command and the Fuehrer" and said:

ObdH-Fьhrer: Russe will wahrscheinlich nicht antreten…. [Russe] halt Friedenswunsch Polens fьr mцglich. (I, S. 72)

The Russian apparently does not want to come in…. [The Russian] believes it possible that Poland wants [to conclude a] peace [with Germany].

This is proof that the Germans had no agreement with the USSR to partition Poland.

It is also evidence that the USSR expected that a negotiated settlement would leave a rump Polish state in existence between Germany and the Soviet border.

Halder also noted:

Rumдnien will polnische Regierung nich aufnehmen; [Grenzen] zumachen. (I, S. 72)

Rumania does not wish to accept [the entry of] the Polish government; will close [its borders].

[Hitler] denkt an sich bescheiden mit Ost-Oberschlesien und Korridor, wenn Westen wegbleibt. (I, S. 72)

He [Hitler] is prepared to be content with the Eastern part of Upper Silesia and the Polish Corridor, if the West doesn't interfere.

This would have meant that most of Western Poland would have remained part of a shrunken Poland. This is additional evidence that Hitler did not plan on liquidating the Polish state.

By September 12 the issue of whether the Polish government might try to flee to Rumania had obviously been raised, but it had not yet happened.

This means that on September 12 Hitler still believed the Polish government would stay in Poland - because he assumed he would have someone to negotiate peace with.

The same date General Wilhelm Keitel, Head of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (Chef des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht) ordered Admiral Canaris to activate units of the OUN on Polish territory with the aim of forming an independent Polish and Galician Ukraine.

This was to be accompanied by a general massacre of communists, Poles and Jews. During post-war interrogation by Soviet authorities General-major Erwin von Lahousen of the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence) said:

Лахузен: В соответствии с официально провозглашенными фон Риббентропом внешнеполитическими доктринами рейха и полученными [105] адмиралом Канарисом распоряжениями от начальника штаба ОКБ, генерал-фельдмаршала Кейтеля, аб-вер-2 проводил подготовку восстания в Галиции, главными целями которого была ликвидация коммунистов, евреев и поляков. Насколько мне известно, это решение было принято на совещании в салон-вагоне фельдмаршала Кейтеля.

...…из собственноручной записи Канариса в журнале боевых действий следует, что совещание состоялось 12 сентября 1939. Смысл сформулированного фон Риббентропом распоряжения, переданного Кейтелем адмиралу Канарису в виде приказа, заключается в следующем: ОУН (Организация украинских националистов), которая сотрудничала с абвером в военных вопросах, должна была поднять восстание в Польше, опираясь на проживающих там украинских эмигрантов. Целями восстания была ликвидация поляков и евреев.

- Мадер Ю. Абвер: щит и меч Третьего рейха. — Ростов н/Д: Феникс, 1999. 104-105, 107; (This is the Russian translation of Mader, J. Hitlers Spionagegenerale sagen aus. Berlin: Vlg. der Nation. 1970.)

Lahousen: In conformity with the foreign policy doctrines officially announced by von Ribbentrop and the orders recieved by Admiral Canaris from General-Fieldmarshal Keitel, Chief of Staff of the Supreme Command, Abwehr-2 carried out the preparation for an uprising in Galicia, the main goals of were the liquidation of communists, Jews and Poles. As far as I know this decision was taken at a meeting in Field Marshal Keitel's railroad car.

... from Canaris' handwritten notes in the battle journal it follows that this meeting took place on September 12, 1939. The sense of the arrangements formulated by von Ribbentrop and given as an order by Keitel to Admiral Canaris, is as follows: The OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists), which collaborated with the Abwehr on military questions, was to begin an uprising in Poland, relying upon the Ukrainian emigrants who lived there. The goal of the uprising was the liquidation of Poles and Jews.

Germany No Longer Recognized the Existence of Poland

By September 15 German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was writing to Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg, German ambassador to Moscow, that if the USSR did not enter Eastern Poland militarily there would be a political vacuum in which "new states" might form:

Also the question is disposed of in case a Russian intervention did not take place, of whether in the area lying to the east of the German zone of influence a political vacuum might not occur. Since we on our part have no intention of undertaking any political or administrative activities in these areas, apart from what is made necessary by military operations, without such an intervention on the part of the Soviet Government there might be the possibility of the construction of new states there.

Ribbentrop no longer referred to "Poland", only to "...the area lying to the east of the German zone of influence…" This shows that he considered that the Polish government was no longer functioning - no longer had sovereignty even in the East where there were no German forces and where the Soviets had not yet entered.

Schulenburg reported this to Molotov and summarized Molotov's reply (to Ribbentrop) the next day, September 16:

Molotov added that he would present my communication to his Government but he believed that a joint communiquй was no longer needed; the Soviet Government intended to motivate its procedure as follows: the Polish State had collapsed and no longer existed; therefore all agreements concluded with Poland were void; third powers [i.e. Germany] might try to profit by the chaos which had arisen…

So even if the USSR had disagreed with the Germans and had held to the position that a Polish state still existed, the Soviets would have to deal with the fact that Germany no longer did. Germany considered that there was no longer a Polish state, and therefore the Secret Protocol about spheres of influence, agreed upon in the Secret Protocol to the M-R Pact a few weeks earlier, was no longer in effect.

Germany felt it was now free either to occupy what had been Eastern Poland right up to the Soviet border. Or - as we now know Hitler was planning - to form one or more pro-Nazi, anti-Soviet puppet states there. The USSR simply could not permit either of these outcomes.

German General Kurt von Tippelskirch, in his Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges (Bonn, 1954) wrote:

When the Polish government realized that the end was near on September it fled from Warsaw to Lublin. From there it left on Septmbrer 9 for Kremenetz, and on September 13 for Zaleshchniki, a town right on the Rumanian border. The people and the army, which at that time was still involved in furious fighting, were cast to the whim of fate.