The Office of the Chief of Military History of the Department of the Army is currently preparing a series of studies on German military operations in World War II against forces other that those of the United States. These monographs will cover German operations in the Balkans, in Russia, in Finland, in Norway, and in France and the Low Countries. The brief Polish-German struggle in late 1939 was the first of the operations in order of occurrence.
These campaign studies are being made available to the General Staff and to the Army schools and colleges as reference works. they will also prove of value to all who are interested in military affairs.
The German attack on Poland precipitated World War II, making the Polish campaign one of particular significance to the student of the 1939^5 conflict. The lessons learned by the German Army in its operations in Poland were put to use in the later campaigns against the western Allies, the Balkan states, and the Soviet Union. Poland also formed the testing ground for new theories on the use of armored forces and close air support of ground troops. The complete destruction of the Polish state and the removal of Poland from the map of eastern Europe were grim portents of the fate of the vanquished in the new concept of total war.
The purpose of this campaign study is to provide the United States Army with a factual account of German military operations against Poland, based on source material from captured records currently in the custody of The Adjutant General, Department of the Army; monographs prepared by a number of former German officers for the Historical Division, United States Army, Europe; and such Polish accounts as were available. Since no other pamphlet in the series will discuss the expansion of the German Armed Forces and the various diplomatic events that preceded the outbreak of hostilities, these are included in part one of the study.
Two preliminary drafts of the study and a series of questionnaires were distributed to a committee of former German general officers for reply and comment on their part in planning and operations, and to fill gaps in the official records. These former German officers included Generaloberst Franz Haider, Chief of the Army General Staff through the period of the Polish Campaign, Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth, General der Artillerie Walter Warlimont, General der Infanterie Guenther Blumentritt, and General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch. The replies and comments of these surviving key participants are referred to in the footnotes and are available in the author's file in the Office of the Chief of Military History for study by interested researchers.
An enormous source of German material exists on this opening campaign of World War II. Time and personnel considerations presently make impossible any detailed study of such significant features of the Polish Campaign as German experiences with irregulars and guerrillas in the rear areas, contacts with the Red Army at division and lower
command levels, and the establishment of a security force to police the occupied area and provide a buffer against a possible Soviet attack from the rear while the main German armies were engaged in the 1940 campaign in western Europe. This vast store of unexplored documents and untranslated books, articles, and other writings still presents a challenge to the serious researcher who desires to obtain more comprehensive information on the matters which could be touched upon only briefly in the scope of this study.
This study was written by Maj. Robert M. Kennedy, under the direction of the chief of the Special Studies Division, Office of the Chief of Military History. Appreciation is expressed to all who participated in the preparation of this study.
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