Skip to comments.POPE OFFERS 5 BASES OF ‘JUST PEACE’; URGES ‘RIGHT TO LIFE’ OF ALL NATIONS (12/25/39)
Posted on 12/25/2009 5:41:54 AM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm
All your bases are belong to us.
TIME Magazine, December 25, 1939
Troops celebrate Christmas
Monday, December 25, 1939 www.onwar.com
On the Western Front... Within the concrete and under the turrets of the Maginot and Siegfried Lines the armies celebrate the first Christmas of the war. The frontline is reported to be quiet. Hitler begins a 3-day visit with German troops at the front, joining in the Christmas celebrations.
In the Winter War... The Soviets repeat their earlier attacks on the north end of the Mannerheim Line with little success, on a cold Christmas Day (-30°C). Helsinki, Viipuri and over 30 other Finnish towns and villages are bombed or strafed. Railway lines are also attacked. Finnish air defenses damage or destroy 20 bombers.
In Britain... King George VI broadcasts a Christmas message to the Empire: “A New Year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.
December 25th, 1939
UNITED KINGDOM: London: King George VI thanked the Empire in his Christmas Day broadcast for its sacrifices in coming to Britain’s aid in the war. “The Mother Country can never be sufficiently grateful to you,” he said. “We are all members of the great family of nations which is prepared to sacrifice everything that freedom of spirit may be saved.” The King’s voice was heard clearly in most parts of the world as he told his peoples that they are fighting to preserve civilisation and must trust in God. He spoke slowly in order to mask his speech impediment. It was his second Christmas broadcast.
Britons made the most of their traditional turkey and plum pudding Christmas dinner today. There may have been less on the plates, but most families have hoarded sufficient quantities of luxuries like sweets and sugar to ensure a normal belt-loosening feast. If rationing is introduced, Christmas Day may become a much more spartan affair.
Preparation for the wartime feeding of 45,000,000 people has been under way for several months with the Ministry of Food drawing on the last war’s experience to ensure fair distribution.
There have been several snags - the decentralisation of London’s meat, fish and vegetable markets due to the threat of bombing, has caused chaos; and the government has found it difficult to cope with the large number of evacuees. Some areas have enjoyed a glut of bacon, others a shortage of butter; but real hardship is no worse than in peacetime.
ASW trawler HMS Loch Doon mined east of Blyth. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRANCE: Somewhere in FRANCE: This is the day in the British Army when the officers serve Christmas dinner to the ranks. It is a peacetime tradition of a professional army of volunteers, preserved in spite of the ‘phoney war’. The mood is as once relaxed and uneasy. To the big question - why hasn’t the fighting really started? - nobody, it seems has the answer.
GERMANY: Hitler spends Christmas Day visiting his forces behind the Siegfried Line and joining in their celebrations.
Interesting that for all of the Nazi claptrap about abolishing Christianity and the celebration of “Julfest” a pagan yule-fest, they were after all, sentimentalists at heart. Images of Hitler with troops at Christmas. Frohe Weihnachten! (Russ Folsom)
FINLAND: Finnish troops enter Russian territory for the first time in the war.
Finland protests to Estonia for breach of neutrality because Soviet warships are using Tallinn as a base. The Estonian head of state (Riigivanem), Konstantin Päts, answers the protest by stating that Soviet Union isn’t officially at war with Finland, thus echoing the official Soviet line. (Mikko Härmeinen)
U.S.S.R.: Soviet submarine S-56 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: SS Stanholme sunk by U-33 at 51.20N, 03.39W - Grid AM 9947. (Dave Shirlaw)
Pius Warns Europe 2-3
Pontiff Says the Nations Must Be Freed From 'Slavery' of Arms
"...Although the speech urged responsible statesmen not to neglect opportunities for peace, there was no indication of Papal mediation among the belligerents in the near future. The Pontiff stressed the fact that when the opportunity arises negotiations must be undertaken with "necessary guarantees and precautions..."
"...'It seems that the world has forgotten Christ's message of peace, the voice of reason and Christian brotherhood,' he continued. 'We have been obliged to see a series of irreconcilable acts, irreconcilable both in regard to international law and to the principles of national law and to the most elementary sentiments of humanity.'
"Among the acts he stressed were 'premeditated aggressions against a small, industrious and peaceful people on the pretext of a threat that neither exists nor is desired nor is possible.'
"In a reference to the German Polish war, the Pope also condemned the 'atrocities and the illegal use of means of destruction, even against noncombatants, refugees, old persons, women and children, and the disregard of human dignity, liberty and human life' as 'acts that cry for the vengeance of God.'
After indirectly rebuking Germany for preventing the church from bringing the aid of Christian charity in regions where the need is most urgent and real, the Pope voiced deep concern for the future economic, social and spiritual status of Europe, when nations impoverished by war may become the easy prey of communism, which is hoping to give Christian Europe the final blow.
"He counseled rulers not to forget the dangers lying ahead, urging them to define at the opportune and appropriate moment the fundamental points for a just and honorable peace and not to refuse bluntly negotiations with necessary guarantees and precautions if the occasion arises..."
First of all, the Pope's reference to Nazi atrocities (his word) as "acts that cry for the vengeance of God," could not possibly be clearer or stronger. So at this moment at least -- Christmas 1939 -- the Pope has spoken out as forcefully as anyone could ask. Good for him.
Also, when reading these articles, it's very important to remember that not only has the Pope entered into discussions with German General Beck's representatives about a possible overthrow of Hitler, and whether Germany could then keep it's recently conquered new territories; but Hitler also will soon order his lieutenant, Martin Borman, to begin planning Operation Pontiff -- to kidnap the Pope and hold him for "safe keeping" in Luxembourg.
In short, throughout the winter of 1939-40, "peace plans" or rather, peace feelers are floating all around, through every possible channel.
And all such ideas were rejected by the British government of Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax. Their bottom lines were the following: Hitler must be removed from power, and Germany must return to the Versailles Treaty limitations. Any negotiations and adjustments would come later.
These terms, of course, no one in Germany -- neither General Beck nor anyone else -- was willing to accept. And so Hitler's orders to invade the West, though often debated & delayed were never interfered with by the German military.
The war would thus be decided by force of arms, not by civilized negotiations such as the Pope continued to propose. And so far, at least, the Pope has acted just as any well meaning person would want him to...
Soviet aircraft bomb 11 localities across Finland, including Hanko, Turku, Tampere, Porvoo, Viipuri and Ilomantsi. Three civilians are killed.
Soviet bombers hit 11 Finnish towns
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