EUROPE: Last Words

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At 10 a.m. Adolf Hitler told the Reichstag : ". . . I and my Government sat there for two full days and waited until it should suit the Polish Government at last to send us a man with full powers. By last night they had not sent a plenipotentiary but they let us know through their Ambassador they were now contemplating whether and how far they were able to consider British proposals. . . . If it was possible to make the German Reich and its head of state take this . . . then the German nation would not deserve anything better than to disappear from the stage. . . . I have decided to speak to the Poles in the same language as they are speaking to us. . . . Our soldiers have been shot at, and since 5:45 we have been shooting back."

At 9:30 p.m. in Berlin Sir Nevile gave Ribbentrop Britain's ultimatum: "Unless the German Government are prepared to give His Majesty's Government an assurance that the German Government have suspended all aggressive action against Poland, and are prepared promptly to withdraw their forces from Polish territory, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom will, without hesitation, fulfill their obligations to Poland." At the same time M. Coulondre presented an almost identic ultimatum from the French.

In London, Chamberlain told Parliament:

"No man could say that the Government could have done more to try and keep open the way for an honorable and equitable settlement. . . . We shall stand at the bar of history knowing that the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe lies on the shoulders of one man. The German Chancellor has not hesitated to plunge the world into misery in order to serve his own senseless ambitions."

September 2. Nazis claimed successes against the Poles "on all fronts."

France began final mobilization.

At 7:30 p. m. in London Chamberlain reported to the House of Commons on his ultimatum: "No reply has been received. If the German Government should agree . . . His Majesty's Government would be willing to regard the position as being the same as it was before the German forces crossed the frontier."

September 3 (Sunday). In Berlin at 9 a. m. Sir Nevile gave the German Government this message: "I have the honor . . . to inform you that unless not later than 11 a. m. . . . today . . . satisfactory assurances have been given by the German Government . . . a state of war will exist between the two countries." Daladier informed Hitler that France would consider herself at war at 5 p. m. unless the Germans gave up their war against Poland.

Shortly thereafter the Fent the ultimatum requests or to fulfill them. . . . A condition exists at our eastern borders which in effect amounts to war. . . . The German Government and the German people have assured the British people time and again that they are desirous of bringing about an understanding with them. . . . If the British Government has refused to consider all these offers, and now makes a reply consisting in overt acts of war, this is not the responsibility of the German people. . . . We shall therefore reply to all acts of attack coming from England, no matter under what form, with the same weapons."

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