4 Dec. 45

and in the belief that a formal treaty would impress him more than the informal assurances which had been given previously, entered into an agreement, an express agreement for mutual assistance with Poland, embodying the previous assurances that had been given earlier in the year. It was known to Hitler that France was bound by the Franco-Polish Treaty of 1921, and by the Guarantee Pact signed at Locarno in 1925 to intervene in Poland's favor in case of aggression. And for a moment Hitler hesitated. The Defendants Göring and Ribbentrop, in the interrogations which you will see, have agreed that it was the Anglo-Polish Treaty which led him to call off, or rather postpone, the attack which was timed for the 26th. Perhaps he hoped that after all there was still some chance of repeating what he had called the Czech affair. If so, his hopes were short-lived. On the 27th of August Hitler accepted Mussolini's decision not at once to come into the war; but he asked for propaganda support and for a display of military activity on the part of Italy, so as to create uncertainty in the minds of the Allies. Ribbentrop on the same day said that the armies were marching.

In the meantime, and, of course, particularly during the last month, desperate attempts were being made by the Western Powers to avert war. You will have details of them in evidence, of the intervention of the Pope, of President Roosevelt's message, of the offer by the British Prime Minister to do our utmost to create the conditions in which all matters in issue could be the subject of free negotiations, and to guarantee the resultant decisions. But this and all the other efforts of honest men to avoid the horror of a European conflict were predestined to failure. The Germans were determined that the day for war had come. On the 31st of August Hitler issued a top-secret order for the attack to commence in the early hours of the 1st of September.

The necessary frontier incidents duly occurred. Was it, perhaps, for that, that the Defendant Keitel had been instructed by Hitler to supply Heydrich with Polish uniforms? And so without a declaration of war, without even giving the Polish Government an opportunity of seeing Germany's final demands-and you will hear the evidence of the extraordinary diplomatic negotiations, if one can call them such, that took place in Berlin — without giving the Poles any opportunity at all of negotiating or arbitrating on the demands which Nazi Germany was making, the Nazi troops invaded Poland.

On the 3rd of September Hitler sent a telegram to Mussolini thanking him for his intervention but pointing out that the war was inevitable and that the most promising moment had to be picked after cold deliberation. And so Hitler and his confederates now before this Tribunal began the first of their wars of aggression