Seventy years ago today, heroic soldiers of the Third German Empire defended their Fatherland by responding to an unprovoked attack the previous day by the criminal Polish regime on a peaceful radio station in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia.
At least that was Hitler’s version. In truth, it was soldiers of the Abwehr and the SS, operating under a false flag, who staged the attack. The purpose was to give pretext to Germany’s invasion of Poland, the opening salvo of World War II.
Some two weeks later, the Soviet Union followed suit, in accordance with the secret appendix of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. What the Soviets didn’t seem to realize was that they remained the real target in Hitler’s master plan, Germany’s intended lebensraum: Poland was simply in the way. Even the Western Allies’ predictable response, a declaration of war on Germany, proved to serve Hitler’s interests: after the collapse of France, Hitler was ready to march against Russia with no threat of a second front opening up in the West.
Hitler really must have thought that he had an unbeatable hand… his plans only began to unravel in the winter of 1941-42, when the Soviets launched their first major counteroffensive. Which was made possible, indirectly, by Pearl Harbor… no, not America’s entry in the war, but the fact that the Soviet Union no longer had to fear a Japanese invasion.
Yet the war dragged on for several more years… and by the time it was over, some 50 million people were dead, much of Europe and parts of Asia were in ruins, and two Japanese cities went up in radioactive smoke.
Can it happen again? Sometimes I wonder…