Monday, 28 July 2008

Gleiwitz Incident

So, when you are invading a country (ie, Iraq) you need a good reason (ie, WMDs) or people get pissed off at you (ie, France) and might respond negatively (ie, throw baguettes.) If you dont have a good reason, maybe you can just make one up (ie, that whole example I just gave) so you can do it for the real reasons you want to do it (ie, spreading freedom and love to godless arabs.)

This isnt just a modern phenomenon, there are famous examples of this, my favourite of which is the Gleiwitz incident.

See, before Germany invaded Poland they were worried this might make them look like total dicks and bring down the furious wrath of the English and others upon them. So they decided to make it look like they had cause. Diplomatically they call this "he totally started it miss, he took my ball".

This was part of what was called Operation Himmler, points for guessing who was behind that one, basically they put out a lot of fake propaganda and torched some German homes in a disputed area with Poland (the Polish corridor) to make it look like they were being oppressed.

But the master stroke of the whole plan was at Gleiwitz, a german radio station, a number of German operatives seized it.. impersonating Poles, broadcast a message to supposed Pole insurgents and a general call to arms against Germany (the actual message is lost, we just have the leader of the op's summary of it, which was basically them saying "fuck germany" a lot in Polish) and ... to make it all that more convincing... they arrested a German dissident, who was known to roll with the poles, killed him (lethal injection) and shot up his body, so he could be one of villains killed during the attack.

"I shall give a propaganda reason for starting the war; whether it is plausible or not. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth." - Hitler, referring to Operation Himmler

Then Germany pretended to be all up in arms about this, outraged. They allowed very limited media access to the contrived scene and then pretended to be the victim. You know, like when you catch your girlfriend out lying and suddently she remembers you said she looked a bit fat in her jeans 2 months ago and suddenly you are sleeping on the couch.... err... anyway, I always liked this little bit of history because it shows that bizzare subterfuge takes place all the time. And Germans are crazy, yo.

Admittedly, nobody really bought this on the (soon to be) allied side and the war with Britain/France still happened when Germany invaded Poland and Germany didnt really change the international image of the war significantly, but still, points for trying guys. If the Germans had won WW2, we would probably be learning about how the Polish incited the whole war in schools RIGHT NOW. Well, those of us still in schools, and if it was time for school and we had a history lesson. Y'know.

"On or about August 10, 1939, the chief of the SD, Heydrich, personally ordered me to simulate an attack on the radio station near Gleiwitz near the Polish border and to make it appear the attacking force consisted of Poles. Heydrich said: "Practical proof is needed for for these attacks on the Poles for the foreign press as well as for German propaganda." - Alfred Naujocks, statement made at Nuremburg Trial

Other nice details, the murdered fake dissident was only captured the day before by Gestapo, they had a number of other potential candidates for the spot prepared at Dachau with usual German efficiency. The candidates for murdering were referred to by the code word "Konserve" which is German for canned goods. Nazis are a bit cold.

The plan was also largely undermined by the fact the German "defensive" response against Poland was so clearly well planned and of such a massive scale it must have taken months to get ready.

Anyway, I will leave you with the words of Adolph...

In my talks with Polish statesmen I discussed the ideas which you recognize from my last speech to the Reichstag. No one could say that this was in any way an inadmissible procedure on undue pressure. I then naturally formulated at last the German proposals, and I must once more repeat that there is nothing more modest or loyal than these proposals. I should like to say this to the world. I alone was in the position to make such proposal, for I know very well that in doing so I brought myself into opposition to millions of Germans. These proposals have been refused. Not only were they answered first with mobilization, but with increased terror and pressure against our German compatriots and with a slow strangling of the Free City of Danzig - economically, politically, and in recent weeks by military and transport means.

Poland has directed its attacks against the Free City of Danzig. Moreover, Poland was not prepared to settle the Corridor question in a reasonable way which would be equitable to both parties, and she did not think of keeping her obligations to minorities.

I must here state something definitely; German has kept these obligations; the minorities who live in Germany are not persecuted.

- Reichstag Address, September 1st 1939.

Germans, efficient, masters of subterfuge and media manipulation and total liars. Got to love them.


Melancholic Goat said...

holy shit i NEVER KNEW THIS

And I did a history GCSE!

Disco Stu said...

Wow. No opressed minorities in Germany, huh? I love how you read speeches by Hitler, especially the early ones, and they sound pretty much like any other politician blowing hot air.