Monday, September 14, 2015

ADSS 1.122 Valeri to Maglione: French reaction to Pius XII's speech

ADSS 1.122 Valerio Valeri, France, to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.

Reference: Telegram number 8973/278, AES 5887/39

Location and date: Paris, 25.08.1939

Summary statement: Pope’s peace message has been well received in France as well as FDR’s message to Victor Emanuel III.  France has taken last measures for mobilisation.

Language: Italian


If we leave out L’Humanite, and it it right to do so, the entire Press, including the Populaire which carries an article by M. Blum (1), today reports favourably on the moving address of the Holy Father to the Rulers of the peoples and to the peoples themselves. (2)

Mr Roosevelt’s message to His Majesty the King of Italy has also been reported with the same sympathy. (3)

These two interventions have rekindled a ray of hope in the minds of the people.  The Government, however, continues its preparations as if war were imminent.  Yesterday evening all the citizens, whose presence in Paris was not necessary, were invited, to leave the city is they so wished, and to take advantage of train services which still run regularly.

(1) Leon Blum (1872-1950), former French Prime Minister 1936-37, 1938.  Leader of the socialist Popular Front.
(2) ADSS 1.113.

(3) DDI, series 8, Volume 13, n185, pp 123-24.

ADSS 1.121 Cortesi to Maglione: Poland mobilises

ADSS 1.121 Fillipo Cortesi, Poland to Luigi Maglione, Sec State.

Reference: Telegram 33, AES 5763/39

Location and date: Warsaw, 25.08.1939

Summary statement: Polish mobilisation

Language: Italian


All men up to forty years of age called to arms in border province with East Prussia and three classes in the remained of the Republic.
The order had been given secretly.


This information on Polish mobilisation is taken from the Axis History military history website (accessed 06.09.2015).  It is a site I have used many times over the years and have found it to be a very reliable source of information.

Between 14 and 16 of August two additional divisions and cavalry brigade were alarmed and put in full strength. Few days later 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade was transferred to the Krakow Army area

On August 23 all air force and air defense units as well as 15 infantry divisions and 7 cavalry brigades were put in strength. The first transports to the west started within the following 4 days

On August 27 further 3 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades were raised as well as parts of 3 divisions foreseen to be put at full strength in the mixed mobilization

On August 29 the general mobilization was declared, however under the pressure from the government and French and British ambassadors it was cancelled, just to be declared again on August 30.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

ADSS 1.120 Osborne to Sec State: Britain asks Poland to contact Germany

ADSS 1.120 D’Arcy Osborne, British Minister to the Holy See, to the Secretariat of State.

Reference: AES 5636/39

Location and date: Rome, 25.08.1939

Summary statement: British Government wishes Warsaw to resume contact with Berlin.

Language: French


The British Ambassador in Warsaw (1) has received instructions to inform M. Beck (2) that the British Government urgently wishes him to resume contact with the German Government. (3) The Italian Government has made the same request to the Polish Ambassador in Berlin. (4)

(1) Sir Howard Kennard (1878-1955), British Ambassador to Poland, 1937-39. (below left)
(2) Jozef Beck (1894-1944), Polish Foreign Minister 1932-39.
(3) See Lord Halifax’s instructions to the Ambassador Kennard in Warsaw, who must see Beck “and urge him to make an immediate approach.” DBFP, Series 3, Volume 7, n170, p146.

(4) Jozef Lipski (1894-1958), Polish Ambassador to Germany, 1934-39. (below right)

ADSS 1.119 Tardini to Orsenigo: request for information on German response to Britain's note.

ADSS 1.119 Domenico Tardini, Secretariat of State, to Cesare Orsenigo, Germany.

Reference: Telegram 105; AES 5625/39.

Location and date: Vatican, 25.08.1939

Summary statement: Request for information regarding Hitler’s response to Henderson’s note and about German feelings regarding a truce.

Language: Italian


Coded message number 333 received. (1)

August Pontiff, prompted by His fatherly care, is prepared to make any tentative effort to avoid war.  He would like, however, to know before hand from Your Excellency whether:
1. The information given to You Excellency about Hitler’s reply to British Ambassador is certain because, according to news received here, Hitler replied that British intervention could not make him renounce vital German requirements.
2. Eventual action by Holy Father about “truce regarding minorities” would be well received in Germany.

(1) ADSS 1.117.

ADSS 1.118 Tardini, notes: Mussolini hopes war can be avoided

ADSS 1.118 Domenico Tardini, Secretariat of State, notes.

Reference: AES 6835/39

Location and date: Vatican, 25.08.1939

Summary statement: Mussolini hoped to avoid war.

Language: Italian


The Italian Ambassador (1) informs me that Mussolini said to the Finance Minister of the Reich (2): “Let us hope that war can be avoided.”

(1) Bonifacio Pignatti (1877-1957) Italian Ambassador to the Holy See, 1935-39.

(2) Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk (1887-1977), German Minister of Finance 1932-45.

Bonifacio Pignatti (r)

Lutz von Krosigk (l)