Russia presents its demands to Finland for an exchange of territory, at talks in Moscow, Stalin himself leading the Soviet delegation. Molotov asks if the Finns would accede to the same form of “non-aggression pact” agreed to by the three Baltic States? “No” is Finland’s answer. Such a treaty is “unthinkable.”
Stalin takes the floor and rattles off a six-point exposition on what it will take to make Leningrad safe:
Finland must lease to the USSR the entire Hanko peninsula as a naval base for 30 years, sealing off the Gulf of Finland and the Leningrad approaches. The Baltic Fleet will have the right to use the nearby Lappvik Bay as an anchorage. Finland will cede the gulf islands as well as Bjorko. The Soviet-Finnish border on the Karelian Isthmus will be moved back away from Leningrad. The Finnish fortifications will be dismantled as “unnecessary.” The western part of the Fisherman’s peninsula will also be ceded.
In other words, the Finns will cede every element of their natural security to her east as well as the removal of the strategic integrity of the port of Petsamo in the far north. In return, Stalin offers a valueless, 3,450 square-mile slab of Soviet Karelia as territorial compensation, an unsubtle sop to radical Karelian irredentists.
The Finns are not impressed by Stalin’s demands. Stalin warns that with Finland having mobilized and Russia doing the same, time is of the essence. The Finns point out that parliamentary assent is needed to accept the Soviet demands, and that must be a five-sixth majority.
Hitler appoints an Alte Kampfer, Hans Frank, to head the new administration for German-occupied Poland, now known as the “General Government.” Frank will take up his duties in Krakow’s Wawel Castle, and do two major things: exterminate Jews and enrich his own pockets. Frank’s task is the “Restoration” of public order. His own description of his task is more explicit. “Poland shall be treated like a colony,” he writes in the voluminous diaries that will be used against him at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. “The Poles will become the slaves of the Greater German Empire.”
The result of this appointment and creation of the “General Government” is that Warsaw is no longer the capital of anything, just a provincial city.
The same day, Adolf Eichmann, an SS bigshot in Vienna who will spend the war in charge of transporting Jews, begins shipping Austrian and Czech Jews to ghettoes in Poland. The first Jews are shipped to the Nisko-Lublin region of Poland.
A Conference of the Relief for Jewish Masses in Poland opens in New York City.
Sachs and Roosevelt meet again at breakfast, and Sachs tries to find a way to make FDR understand the importance of his letter ant its contents. Sachs points out that Robert Fulton had taken his steamship invention to Napoleon, who dismissed it as impractical, that losing the vessel which might have permitted an invasion of England and victory. Roosevelt thinks for a moment, then produces a bottle of Napoleon brandy and two glasses.
Filling them and lifting his to Sachs, FDR says, “Alex, what you are after is to see that the Nazis don’t blow us up.”
“Precisely,” says Sachs.
FDR summons his military aide, Gen. Edwin “Pa” Watson, and hands him Einstein’s letter, along with Sachs’ supporting documents and says, “Pa, this requires action!”
So begins a program named at the time S-1, known to only a few selected Americans, which will lead the United States to the production of the first atomic bomb.
Neville Chamberlain replies to Hitler’s latest speeches and Dahlerus’s telegram in the House of Commons, and offers no hope of a negotiation but saying it is not British policy to exclude from her proper place in Europe a Germany able to dwell in friendship with others. Chamberlain says, “The peace which we are determined to secure, however, must be a real and settled peace, not an uneasy truce interrupted by constant alarms and repeated threats. What stands in the way of such a peace? It is the German Government, and the German Government alone.”
Chamberlain holds out an olive branch, though. “It is no part of our policy to exclude from her rightful place in Europe a Germany which will live in amity and confidence with other nations…It was not therefore with any vindictive purpose that we embarked on war but simply in defense of freedom…We seek no material advantage for ourselves. We desire nothing from the German people that would offend their self-respect. We are not aiming only at victory but rather looking beyond it to the laying of a foundation of a better international system.”
The Nazi Foreign Office condemns the speech as an “outrageous insult to Germany,” and a calculated rejection of the hand of peace held out by the Fuehrer. Hitler’s Press Department issues a circular that says, “Chamberlain and Britain’s warmongers under the cloak or hypocritical phrases are bent on exterminating the German nation. Chamberlain’s speech reveals the true nature of the British war aim, which is war to annihilation against the German people and the German Reich. The English Prime Minister’s speech is founded on lies and culminates in a lie. While he accuses German policy of breaking its word he forgets that the world knows that England’s world empire is built on nothing but force and broken word. England wanted the war…” The outburst is meant for home consumption, to prop up German morale.
In London, entertainment is resuming again. The Golders Green Hippodrome offers “The Importance of Being Earnest,” staring John Gielgud, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Gwen Ffrangcon Davis, and Jack Hawkins. The stars arrive carrying gas-masks. “We are all delighted to be back at work,” says Gielgud. “It won’t last long fro some of us. Jack Hawkins and I are waiting to be called up and many more stars are in our position.” Hawkins goes in, Gielgud does not. The authorities conclude that good actors might be more useful on the stage than in the services and rule they can obtain exemption provided they are not out of work for more than two weeks at a time. Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson are among the many younger stars who prefer not to use this dispensation, but enough stay on to keep going.
In the South Atlantic, the Graf Spee’s radar gear breaks down again. The trouble is vibration affecting the power cable. Langsdorff is not worried – he has good lookouts and optical rangefinders.
Goebbels writes in his diary: “As thanks to Lithuania for surrendering its sovereignty, Moscow has ceded Vilna. And the good Lithuanians are hanging out flags for the occasion…”
Goebbels has a busy day, as usual. He denounces the British Ministry of Information as the “Ministry of Lies,” (he should talk) and issues instructions to the German media to put an end to rumor-mongering. At lunch, Goebbels reads Bernard Shaw’s article to Hitler. Der Fuehrer laughs so hard, the tears come out of his eyes.
“The Fuehrer is gloriously convinced of victory,” Goebbels writes. “He shows how different the situation is from 1914, declares that our defeat then was a result of treachery alone. Today he does not intend to spare the lives of traitors; he objects to the view that the frontline soldier’s life has no value, whereas the civilian’s life, even if he commits treason, is sacrosanct. Pacifism leads to war. He has some harsh words for Attolico, who behaved in a pathetic cowardly way during the crisis.
“With the Fuehrer leading us, we shall always be victorious. He unites in his person all the virtues of a great soldier: courage, discretion, flexibility, a capacity for sacrifice and a lordly contempt for his own comfort. It can only be an honor to fight under him. It is one of the great errors of British policy to assume that he is bluffing. He does not bluff; he pursues his goal, by any means necessary,” Goebbels continues. “Daladier’s speech only arouses contempt in him. How can a frontline fighter feel respect for an army that has hitherto sat quietly and waged a ‘potato war?’ Dr. Todt reports on the situation at the Western Front. A proper idyll. But we are prepared for worse. The captured materiel in Poland is benefiting us very much now. The quantities are still impossible to judge. London will have its work cut out replacing those losses alone.”
HMS Ark Royal arrives in Freetown. The ship has sailed so quickly, nobody has any tropical gear. Shore leave is not encouraged, and the ship is son back at sea, searching for Graf Spee.
At least the crew doesn’t have to listen on radio to Lord Haw-Haw, who reports that the carrier’s Swordfish are searching for the German Navy on the bottom of the North Sea.