Stuart, we were significantly less well prepared for war in 1938 in a variety of key area, most significantly our reserve army has half the size and our air warning and GCI network was non existent. There were far fewer AA and AT guns. If you dig deeper you will see that all sorts of preparations were at a far less advanced then than a year later. How exactly would we have intervened against German annexation of a land locked country? By your logic we really ought to crack on and kick the Russians out of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine now before they get any stronger. Good luck with that.
So was Germany. Their Army was massed on the Czechoslovakian border, and had nothing that could have stopped a French and British advance. By the time we took the Rhur, it would have been good as over. The Nazis themselves said they were not ready for war in France in 1940, till they captured all those Czech tanks and brought their tank production plants online.
Supposedly Pilsudski in 1937 approached the French about a preemptive attack on Nazi Germany, although the French deny any such thing happened. In light of what happened, it probably would have been an excellent idea. Aggressive, imperialist, cynical. and yet you would have had several million people surviving the second world that subsequently did not.
No, I dont think Chamberlain could have sold it to the Empire, as Harris relates in his novel, and I absolutely dont disagree. That is not the same as saying it wasnt the right thing to have done. It was.
And the French are right to deny that, having died in 1935 he couldn't have been planning any attack in 1937, preemptive or not.
My apologies, it was much earlier, in 1933.
Possibly as an additional means to discourage Hitler from exploiting the situation in Danzig, in early March 1933, rumors of a preventive war in which Poland would make a surprise attack on Germany became widely circulated. Adding credibility to the rumor, Polish troops had been assembled in the Polish Corridor, and while they were primarily a warning to Hitler to tone down Nazi revisionist agitation, many believed Poland was preparing to invade German territory. Pilsudski did not officially confirm the preventive war reports, but he did not deny them. Moreover, most experts acknowledged that Poland was in a position to carry out this threat if Pilsudski was so inclined. As Hitler knew, the Polish Army possessed over 250,000 highly trained and well-equipped soldiers. While in the process of secretly rearming, the German Army had no modern weapons such as airplanes, tanks, or armored cars, and according to the terms of the Versailles Treaty was limited to 100,000 men. In his memoirs, former chancellor of the Weimar Republic Heinrich Bruening recalled, “The fact that as soon as Hitler came to power, Marshal Pilsudski proposed to France joint preventive military action indicates how well-grounded our fears were.”
Regardless of whether the rumor represented a legitimate threat or a ruse, Pilsudski used it as part of his strategy to stifle anti-Polish demonstrations in Danzig. The Marshal recognized that Germany was momentarily weak, and therefore could be maneuvered into an understanding with Poland. But there is evidence that Pilsudski was seriously considering military action against Germany. Official documentation is spotty due to the Marshal’s preference for secret and personal diplomacy, but in March 1933, Pilsudski dispatched Jerzy Potocki, his former aide de camp and soon-to-be ambassador to Italy, to Paris as his unofficial envoy. Potocki did not interact with the Polish embassy, but spoke directly with French prime minister Joseph Paul-Boncour, when he apparently explored the possibility of a Franco-Polish preventive war against Germany. At approximately the same time, Pilsudski sent another confidant, Colonel Boleslaw Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski, to Paris to sound out the French military’s views about this topic.
Although documentary evidence is lacking, Pilsudski supposedly proposed that after arranging a suitable pretext, Poland would seize Danzig and key German territories in the east, while France would invade Germany from the west. A disgraced Hitler would be forced to resign and the new German chancellor would be required to pledge support to the Versailles Treaty. The objective of the military action was not to conquer Germany, as this was logistically impossible, but to thwart attempts to revise Polish borders and to prevent Germany from rearming. It is perhaps no coincidence that the Westerplatte incident occurred at approximately the same time. The reinforcement of the Danzig garrison may have been designed as an opportunity for France, if she was so inclined, to exploit the incident and move against Germany. Beck alluded to this possibility when he told Polish diplomat Josef Lipski on the eve of the Westerplatte incident that “a determined attitude by Poland should be properly appreciated in Paris and London, rousing these countries to more energetic action in the face of the growing threat of Hitlerism.” But the French did not respond positively to Pilsudski’s overtures, and the Germans did not react militarily to his provocations. Pilsudski’s supposed plan to strangle Nazism in its cradle never materialized. But it is interesting to speculate that if it had, Poland’s preemptive military action might have preserved the Versailles peace and the prevented the greatest mass murder in history.
There is no proof of this, only speculation, and as said the French deny it. But in light of how history turned out, would it a good idea? Well, yes actually. The irony is, we would probably now be looking back on it as a war of aggression, just like Iraq.