The French Yellow Book

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No. 130 :
M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, May 30, 1939.

I HAVE pointed out that in the near future we must expect Germany to begin, à propos of Danzig, one of those large-scale campaigns, thanks to which she has been able to lay hands successively on Vienna, Sudetenland, and Prague. The threat of war, formulated in a more or less veiled or crude fashion, will still be, in all probability, the weapon to which the Reich will have recourse to vanquish if possible outside opposition. But before reaching this point, the Nazi leaders-who today can well measure their losses in the international field since March 1W will leave no stone unturned in order to try to persuade the world of the justice and purity of their intentions. It is necessary for us, therefore, to be ready to combat their propaganda and not to allow their arguments to pass without a reply. We have only to remember the case of Czechoslovakia to get an idea of the methods of agitation which the Heads of the Third Reich will most likely adopt once more.

The German tactics will consist principally, it seems, in drawing the attention of the world to the fact-not disputed-that the majority of the population of Danzig is German in race and language. The Nazis will furthermore assert that the provocative attitude of the Poles, the dislike of the Danzig Germans for Poland, and the many incidents thus rendered inevitable, make the situation intolerable, and demand that a solution shall be found without delay. German blood spilt, women ill-treated, harmless peasants or peaceful city dwellers hunted from their homes by the hatred for Germany and obliged to seek refuge in the Reich-nothing will be lacking in the campaign launched by the German propaganda, nothing will be neglected so that the Führer may, when the time comes, make the very most of the role which he himself has assumed, that of the protector of all Germans.

Despite the fact that world opinion is forewarned, we cannot exclude the possibility that certain elements who have learnt nothing from the Czech affair, will still allow themselves to be impressed.

It is essential, therefore, in my opinion, that as the German Press campaign develops, our newspapers should take special pains to stress the weaknesses in the German arguments. I consider that the following points could be developed with advantage.

Can Germany, which has just brutally incorporated 7,000,000 Czechs into the Reich, that is to say a whole people, more numerous than quite a number of other European nations, possibly advance ethnographic principles to support her claim for the return of 400,000 Germans to the Reich?

Can Germany, while invoking the principle of Lebensraum as a justification for the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia, possibly deny that Danzig and the Corridor are indispensable to the life of Poland?

Can the leaders of the Reich who, having rejected historical principles last October, revived them in March to excuse their seizure of Prague, possibly refuse to recognize that Danzig and the Corridor have been considerably longer under Polish than under German rule? (From 968 to 1939, Pomerania was Polish for six hundred and ninety years and German for three hundred and sixty-three years only.)

As for the dislike of the Germans in Danzig for the Poles and the intolerable nature of the situation which reigns in Danzig, how can such statements be reconciled with the oft repeated publicly stated affirmation of friendship for Poland given by the Führer himself since 1934 and, in particular, with his remark on February 20, 1938: "Danzig has ceased to be one of the danger spots of Europe"?


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