740.00116 European War 1939/52: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

1227. My 1004, September 1, 11 a.m. [p.m.] The following communiqué regarding the bombing and shelling of open towns in Poland was issued by D. N. B. this afternoon:

“The Fuehrer’s headquarters. Recently it has happened more and more frequently that Polish governmental and army authorities call upon the population of open cities to offer resistance to the entering German troops within the precincts of cities, towns and villages. In Warsaw the population was called upon by leaflets, the Polish radio and other forms of summons to adopt franc-tireur warfare. The city itself has been shelled by Polish artillery. In this connection the high command of the German armed forces makes the following announcement: The excessive consideration shown by the German artillery and German aviators for open cities, towns and villages is based upon the prerequisite that these are not declared and made war areas by the adversaries themselves. Since the Poles without consideration of their own population reject this principle, the German armed forces will from now on break the resistance in such localities with all the means at its disposal. The German Air Force in conjunction with heavy artillery will carry out those military measures which are appropriate for making clear to such localities in the shortest possible time the futility of their resistance. The responsibility for the consequences which thereby arise for the sorely tried population falls exclusively upon the Polish Government and its incompetent set of unscrupulous army commanders.”