The Gleiwitz incident was a staged attack by Nazi forces posing as Poles on 31 August 1939, against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Poland) on the eve of World War II in Europe.
This provocation was the best-known of several actions in Operation Himmler, a Nazi Germany SS project to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, which would be used to justify the subsequent invasion of Poland.
Events at Gleiwitz
Much of what is known about the Gleiwitz incident comes from the sworn affidavit of Alfred Naujocks at the Nuremberg Trials. In his testimony, he states that he organized the incident under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, the chief of the Gestapo.
On the night of 31 August 1939, a small group of German operatives, dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Naujocks seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish (sources vary on the content of the message). The Germans' goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs.
In order to make the attack seem more convincing, the Germans brought in Franciszek Honiok, a German Silesian known for sympathizing with the Poles, who had been arrested the previous day by the Gestapo. Honiok was dressed to look like a saboteur; then killed by lethal injection, given gunshot wounds, and left dead at the scene, so that he appeared to have been killed while attacking the station. His corpse was subsequently presented as proof of the attack to the police and press.
In addition to Honiok, several other convicts from the Dachau concentration camp were kept available for this purpose. The Germans referred to them by the code phrase "Konserve" ("canned goods"). For this reason, some sources incorrectly refer to the incident as "Operation Canned Goods."
The Gleiwitz incident was a part of a larger operation, carried out by Abwehr and SS forces. At the same time as the Gleiwitz attack, there were other incidents orchestrated by Germany along the Polish-German border, such as house torching in the Polish Corridor and spurious propaganda output. The entire project, dubbed Operation Himmler and comprising 21 incidents in all, was intended to give the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany.
For months prior to the 1939 invasion, German newspapers and politicians like Adolf Hitler accused Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of German nationals living in Poland.
On the day following the Gleiwitz attack, 1 September 1939, Germany launched the Fall Weiss operation — the invasion of Poland — initiating World War II in Europe. On the same day, in a speech in the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler cited the 21 border incidents, with three of them called very serious, as justification for Germany's "defensive" action against Poland.Just a few days earlier, on 22 August, he had told his generals, "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."
American correspondents were summoned to the scene next day, but no neutral parties were allowed to investigate the incident in detail and the international public was skeptical of the German version of the incident.
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Posted February 21, 2010 - 07:34 PM
Ex-Panzercommander kicking it for 26 years, served my time in the sandbox, retired a champ.......
Posted August 06, 2010 - 07:12 PM
The main trouble is that, while the Nazi leadership may think that it has fooled the west, it didn't, it was too silly by halves, had the Germans done this without the pressure Adolf Hitler put on Poland with the corridor and Danzis claims, then it may have been different. In all thank god that the west didn't buy the story.
Don't eat yellow snow.
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