Operation Himmler (less often known as Operation Konserve or Operation Canned Goods) was a 1939 false flag project planned by Nazi Germany to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, which was subsequently used by the Nazis to justify the invasion of Poland. This included staging false attacks on themselves using innocent people or concentration camp prisoners. Operation Himmler was arguably the first act of the Second World War in Europe.
A false flag is a covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland's neighbours were Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It had access to the Baltic Sea via a short strip of coastline either side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland also shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of the European theatre of World War II.
For months prior to the 1939 invasion, German newspapers and politicians like Adolf Hitler had carried out a national and international propaganda campaign accusing Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland.
Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland in September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.
Propaganda is information that is not objective and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented. Propaganda is often associated with material prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations and the media can also produce propaganda.
Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration, intimidation, as well as genocide and genocidal rape.
The plan, named after its originator, Heinrich Himmler,was supervised by Reinhard Heydrich and managed by Heinrich Müller. The goal of this false flag project was to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany, which could be used to justify the German invasion of Poland. Hitler also might have hoped to confuse Poland's allies, the United Kingdom and France, into delaying or stopping their declaration of war on Germany.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was a high-ranking German SS and police official during the Nazi era, and a main architect of the Holocaust. He was chief of the Reich Main Security Office. He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalised plans for the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question"—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.
Heinrich Müller was a German police official under both the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. He became chief of the Gestapo, the political secret state police of Nazi Germany, and was involved in the planning and execution of the Holocaust. He was known as "Gestapo Müller" to distinguish him from another SS general also named Heinrich Müller. He was last seen in the Führerbunker in Berlin on 1 May 1945 and remains the most senior figure of the Nazi regime who was never captured or confirmed to have died.
The operations were mostly carried out on 31 August 1939.The operation - as well as the main German offensive - was originally scheduled for 26 August; the shifting diplomatic situation resulted in delay until 31 August/1 September - but one of the German undercover units was not informed and carried out its attack on a German customs post; several Germans were killed before the incident ended. The operations were carried by agents of the SS and the SD. The German troops, dressed in Polish uniforms, would storm various border buildings, scare the locals with inaccurate shots, carry out acts of vandalism, and retreat, leaving behind dead bodies in Polish uniforms. The bodies were in fact prisoners from concentration camps; they were dressed in Polish uniforms, killed (by a lethal injection, then shot for appearance) and left behind. They were described in plans as "Konserve", i.e. 'canned goods' (which also led to the more informal name of the operation, Operation Konserve).
The Schutzstaffel was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. It began with a small guard unit known as the Saal-Schutz made up of NSDAP volunteers to provide security for party meetings in Munich. In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name. Under his direction (1929–45) it grew from a small paramilitary formation to one of the most powerful organizations in Nazi Germany. From 1929 until the regime's collapse in 1945, the SS was the foremost agency of security, surveillance, and terror within Germany and German-occupied Europe.
Sicherheitsdienst, full title Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS, or SD, was the intelligence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. Originating in 1931, the organization was the first Nazi intelligence organization to be established and was considered a sister organization with the Gestapo through integration of SS members and operational procedures. Between 1933 and 1939, the SD was administered as an independent SS office, after which it was transferred to the authority of the Reich Main Security Office, as one of its seven departments/offices. Its first director, Reinhard Heydrich, intended for the SD to bring every single individual within the Third Reich's reach under "continuous supervision".
There were several separate operations, including staged attacks on:
The Gleiwitz incident was a covert Nazi German attack on the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz on the night of 31 August 1939. The attack is widely regarded as a false flag operation, staged with some two dozen similar German incidents on the eve of the invasion of Poland leading up to World War II in Europe. The attackers had been posed as Polish nationals. Adolf Hitler invaded Poland the next morning after a lengthy period of preparations. During his declaration of war, Hitler did not mention the Gleiwitz incident but grouped all provocations staged by the SS as an alleged Polish assault on Germany. The Gleiwitz incident is the best-known action of Operation Himmler, a series of special operations undertaken by the Schutzstaffel (SS) to serve Nazi German propaganda at the outbreak of war. The operation was intended to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany to justify the invasion of Poland. Evidence for the Gleiwitz attack by the SS was provided by the German SS officer, Alfred Naujocks in 1945.
On the night of 31 August 1939 a small group of German operatives, dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Alfred Naujocks, seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish (sources vary on the content of the message). Several prisoners (most likely from the Dachau concentration camp) and a local Polish-Silesian activist (arrested a day before) were left dead on the scene in Polish uniforms.
Alfred Helmut Naujocks, alias Hans Müller, Alfred Bonsen, and Rudolf Möbert, was a German SS functionary during the Third Reich. He took part in the staged Gleiwitz incident intended to provide the justification for the attack on Poland by Nazi Germany, starting the Second World War in Europe.
Anti-German sentiment is defined as an opposition to or fear of Germany, its inhabitants, its culture and the German language. Its opposite is Germanophilia. The sentiment largely began with the mid-19th century unification of Germany, which made the new nation a rival to the Great Powers of Europe on economic, cultural, geopolitical and military grounds.
Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.
On 1 September, in a speech in the Reichstag, Adolf Hitler cited the 21 border incidents as justification for Germany's "defensive" action against Poland:
I can no longer find any willingness on the part of the Polish Government to conduct serious negotiations with us. These proposals for mediation have failed because in the meanwhile there, first of all, came as an answer the sudden Polish general mobilization, followed by more Polish atrocities. These were again repeated last night. Recently in one night there were as many as twenty-one frontier incidents: last night there were fourteen, of which three were quite serious. I have, therefore, resolved to speak to Poland in the same language that Poland for months past has used toward us...
This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our own territory. Since 5:45 a. m. we have been returning the fire... I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured
By mid-1939, thousands of Polish Volksdeutsche had been secretly prepared for sabotage and guerrilla warfare by the Breslau (Wrocław) office of the Abwehr; the purpose of their activities was to provoke anti-German reprisals that could be claimed as provocations by the Germans.Those German agents indeed cooperated with the German forces during the invasion of Poland, leading to some reprisals, which were highly exaggerated by the German Nazi propaganda. One of the most notable cases of such a scenario was reportedly carried out during Bydgoszcz Bloody Sunday. An instruction issued by the Ministry of Propaganda for the press said:
must show news on the barbarism of Poles in Bromberg. The expression "bloody sunday" must enter as a permanent term in the dictionary and circumnavigate the globe. For that reason, this term must be continuously underlined.
The operation failed to convince international public opinion of the German claims.
The Final Solution or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II. The "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" was the official code name for the murder of all Jews within reach, which was not restricted to the European continent. This policy of deliberate and systematic genocide starting across German-occupied Europe was formulated in procedural and geopolitical terms by Nazi leadership in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference held near Berlin, and culminated in the Holocaust, which saw the killing of 90% of Polish Jews, and two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.
The German concept of Lebensraum comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
Bloody Sunday was a sequence of events that took place in Bydgoszcz, a Polish city with a sizable German minority, between 3 and 4 September 1939, during the German invasion of Poland.
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, and in Germany as the Poland Campaign (Polenfeldzug), was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.
Operation Tannenberg was a codename for one of the extermination actions by Nazi Germany that was directed at the Poles during the opening stages of World War II in Europe, part of the Generalplan Ost for the German colonization of the East. The shootings were conducted with the use of a proscription list, compiled by the Gestapo in the span of two years before the 1939 invasion.
The SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT) was formed in 1934 as combat troops for the Nazi Party (NSDAP). On 17 August 1938 Adolf Hitler decreed that the SS-VT was neither a part of the police nor the German Wehrmacht, but military-trained men at the disposal of the Führer. At the time of war, the SS-VT were to be placed at the disposal of the army.
Franciszek Honiok is famous for being the first victim of World War II on 31 August 1939.
Rassenschande or Blutschande was an anti-miscegenation concept in Nazi German racial policy, pertaining to sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans. It was put into practice by policies like the Aryan certificate requirement, and later the Nuremberg Laws, adopted unanimously by the Reichstag on 15 September 1935. Initially, these laws referred predominantly to relations between Germans and non-Aryans. In the early stages the culprits were targeted informally, and then later on punished systematically by a repressive legal apparatus.
Crimes against the Polish nation committed by Nazi Germany and collaborationist forces during the invasion of Poland, along with auxiliary battalions during the subsequent occupation of Poland in World War II, consisted of the systematic extermination of Jewish Poles and the murder of millions of (non-Jewish) ethnic Poles. The Germans justified these genocides on the basis of Nazi racial theory, which depicted Jews as a constant threat and regarded Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen. By 1942 the Nazis were implementing their plan to kill every Jew in German-occupied Europe, and had also developed plans to eliminate the Polish people, through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, enslavement and extermination through labor, as well as the assimilation into German identity of a small minority of Poles regarded as racially valuable. During World War II the Germans not only murdered millions of Jewish and non-Jewish Poles, but ethnically cleansed millions more ethnic Poles through forced deportation, supposedly to make room for racially superior German settlers.
Feldzug in Polen is a 69-minute Nazi propaganda film released in 1940 depicting the 1939 invasion of Poland and directed by Fritz Hippler. Portraying the Poles as aggressors and ethnic Germans living in Poland as an oppressed minority, the film alleges that the Poles employed unheroic tactics in the war and characterizes as senseless the defence of a besieged Warsaw. The film was often screened by German minorities overseas to clarify the German point of view. The Gleiwitz incident was part of Operation Himmler run by the SS and SD to justify German aggression. It involved dressing Nazi concentration camp prisoners as Polish soldiers who apparently attacked a German radio station. The prisoners were murdered by the SS/SD, appearing to have been shot by heroic German defenders. Other parts of Operation Himmler involved terrorist attacks on the Polish Railways and attacks by ethnic Germans on Polish property.
A minor sabotage during World War II in Nazi-occupied Poland (1939–45) was any underground resistance operation that involved a disruptive but relatively minor and non-violent form of defiance, such as the painting of graffiti, the manufacture of fake documents, the disrupting of German propaganda campaigns, and the like. Minor-sabotage operations often involved elements of humor.
History of Pomerania between 1933 and 1945 covers the period of one decade of the long history of Pomerania, lasting from the Adolf Hitler's rise to power until the end of World War II in Europe. In 1933, the German Province of Pomerania like all of Germany came under control of the Nazi regime. During the following years, the Nazis led by Gauleiter Franz Schwede-Coburg manifested their power through the process known as Gleichschaltung and repressed their opponents. Meanwhile, the Pomeranian Voivodeship was part of the Second Polish Republic, led by Józef Piłsudski. With respect to Polish Pomerania, Nazi diplomacy – as part of their initial attempts to subordinate Poland into Anti-Comintern Pact – aimed at incorporation of the Free City of Danzig into the Third Reich and an extra-territorial transit route through Polish territory, which was rejected by the Polish government, that feared economic blackmail by Nazi Germany, and reduction to puppet status.
Heinz Jost was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era. He was involved in espionage matters as the Sicherheitsdienst or (SD) section chief of office VI of the Reich Main Security Office. Jost was responsible for genocide in eastern Europe as commander of Einsatzgruppe A from March to September 1942. Tried and convicted in West Germany, he died in 1964.
Stodoły is a district of Rybnik, Silesian Voivodeship, southern Poland. In the late 2013 it had about 600 inhabitants.