From .......... Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years

By Jack Le Vein and John Lord

Distributed by Random House 1962

pg 13-14


As the cool luminous dawn of autumn rises over the eastern frontier of Germany it picks out the stark steel sinews of a radio mast, barely inside the German boundary. A few cows ramble heavily about the pastures, their breath steaming as they bend to crop the dewy grass. A faint mist outlines the shape of hedgerows and trees. Over all there is a pastoral stillness, but a stillness that carries a sinister air.

At the foot of the mast, grouped haphazardly and sprawling awkwardly as if caught up and scattered by some sudden appalling gale, lie twelve bodies. Their uniforms are cold with morning damp, their limbs stiffened.

Each has died of multiple wounds.

Each is dressed like a Polish infantryman.

They provide a pretext for war.

Soon the exultant Gestapo will shepherd a party of foreign newspapermen to the site, allow them to gaze, offer them facilities for sending off cables, return them to Berlin. If the newspapermen were given time they would quickly see that things are not as they appear. None of the weapons beside the bodies is loaded. Each man has been shot in the back. The whole thing is an inhuman fraud. The previous afternoon twelve criminals have been taken in closed vans from a concentration camp, dressed in captured uniforms and driven to this quiet field near Gleiwitz. Blinking at the light as they tumble out they are surprised to see the lane blocked at both ends by SS troops squatting behind medium machine guns. Weapons are thrust into their hands and they are told to line up facing the steel mast. It is all a propaganda matter, the smiling Gestapo explain. They are to pretend to attack the radio station while a film is made. See — there are the cameras! Puzzled, docile, they lumber across the grass. A sudden clamor scythes them down. They are known, with a perverted appropriateness, by the code name CANNED GOODS.

Beyond them to the east, four German armies are systematically annihilating everything in their path. In the ears of every soldier ring the parting words of the Fuehrer: "I expect every soldier to be conscious of the high tradition of the eternal German soldierly qualities and to do his duty to the last. Remember always and in any circumstances that you are the representatives of National Socialist Greater Germany."

It is 1 September 1939 and Fall Weiss is going according to plan, as Hitler felt confident it would when with a fat red pencil he added to his Directive Number 1 for the Conduct of the War "Time of attack—0445 hours." The glorious representatives of National Socialist Greater Germany storm eastward, conscious of their high calling. In their wake, villages smolder, Polish children scream beside the blackened bodies of their mothers. Theirs is a bitter and brutal ambassadorship.



think of Nazi burning of Reichstag which provided pretext for increased Nazi government control

think of US government denials of war in Laos which is now conceded.

think Gulf of Tonkin incident which provided pretext for increased US involvement in war in Vietnam.

think mysterious bombings in Sarajevo always blamed on Serbs.

think bombing at OK City providing pretext for more government control.