ADSS 1.125 Cesare Orsenigo, Germany to Luigi Malgione, Sec State
Saturday, October 24, 2015
ADSS 1.125 Orsenigo to Maglione: Germany is ready for war
Reference: Report number 121 (28.374); AES 5816/39
Location and date: Berlin, 26.08.1939
Summary statement: . Reich no longer counts on a quick conquest of Poland without firing a shot, but would induce the Polish people to negotiate to force them to surrender. An understanding of the basis of common interests would be possible; but the Germans, considering that their honour has been wounded, are ready for war.
I take advantage of the diplomatic courier to add, with caution, a few more details to what I had the honour to mention to you during the past few days by means of coded dispatches. I must respectfully call your attention to what I wrote in my report number 27333 of 17 May (1) because the events which I described then are exactly repeated nor in every historical and psychological detail, with reference both tho the German people and their rulers. There is still hope, and the motives for it are mentioned on page 5 of the above-mentioned Report, to which I respectfully beg to call attention, that the plan to solve the Polish question without bloodshed with a sudden and swift invasion, so as to render the Allies help useless, seems to have been abandoned because it could not have been carried out without shedding blood.
The pretension is being put forward by Germany, with ever increasing insistence, to compel Poland to a meeting to force the nation, as happened in Prague, to surrender. If Poland could find a dignified way to accede to this meeting and then come to a decorous compromise, this war could be avoided, at least for a long time.
The argument of the “vital exigencies” with which Germany likes to qualify its aspiration for Danzig and the Corridor, while Poland defends these possessions with the same motivation, cannot it seems be sustained. Germany has not only been able to live for more the twenty years without these possessions, but has been able to prosper and to grow tremendously. It is said, on the other hand, that Poland could live and prosper with an adequate compensation. The only thing to do is to sign a good and long treaty of reciprocal non-aggression.
Unfortunately everybody here is ready for war, with a terrifying coolness. The recent slaughter of Germans, skilfully divulged by the newspapers, has removed the last hesitations and the war with Poland is no more the struggle for Danzig and the Corridor, but is the lesson that a people, armed to the teeth think they must give to those who have slighted their honour: and thus Hitler’s old temporising plan is cast aside, the plan about which I wrote to you in Report number 27234 of 6 May (2) when Hitler said he was prepared to wait for his ‘national claims” even up to 1945. This long-term political war has now been substituted buy an urgent war, to avenge the “offended national honour”, for which motive eighty million people are almost clamouring for hostilities.
(1) ADSS 1.47
(2) ADSS 1.29