The French Yellow Book

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No. 205 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, August 21, 1939.1.50 a.m.

(Received at 7 a.m.)

A VERY important new fact in the military sphere, namely, the beginning of a concentration of German forces, is brought to light by the latest information collected, particularly after today's investigations.

There are sure signs that the units of the Berlin armoured division are on a war footing and that they will probably move tonight. Many roads in the eastern direction are under military guard; others have been prepared for troop movements. Today, some tanks have been sent off by train.

From Vienna comes news of an intense military activity since August 19. At Bremen, the 22nd Division is mobilized to war strength and ready to leave.

Mobilization has already been carried out on a very large scale: but it is not possible to estimate even approximately the actual figures. I do not consider exaggerated the number given by a foreign source, according to which the land forces alone amount to 2,400,000 men. A very large proportion of reservists has also been called up for the Air Force.

It may be that, by all these preparations, Germany only means to support the political maneuver which is being carried out by her at present. But it will become increasingly difficult for her to stop on the slope where Germany now finds herself.

Considering as I do that nothing should be left undone which might prevent Germany from proceeding further, I feel it my duty to stress once more the urgent and imperative necessity of taking the necessary measures, both as to calling up reserves and the mobilization of industry, so that our preparations remain level with those of Germany.

Even more than a military necessity, this is, in my opinion, a political necessity.

What constitutes one of the gravest dangers of war at the present time is the doubt which the Government of the Reich may still have concerning the intentions of France and Britain to lend Poland their support.

If we prove by our military and other measures that we are actually getting ready to fulfill our obligations, we shall thereby make use of the best possible method to dissipate this doubt. On the other hand, the Third Reich would find dangerous encouragement in the thought that a disparity in its favour may exist between the German preparations and our own.


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