Fake Invasion at Gleiwitz

10 False Flags that Changed the World: #6

6In the late evening of Thursday, August 31, 1939, German covert operatives pretending to be Polish terrorists seized the Gleiwitz radio station in the German/Poland border region of Silesia.

The station’s music program came to an abrupt halt, followed by frantic German voices announcing that Polish formations were marching toward town; Germany was being invaded by Poland!

Then, like a bad immitation of the previous year’s infamous War of the Worlds broadcast, the transmission went dead for a moment of dramatic silence.

Word of Gleiwitz Reaches Rest of World

Gleiwitz Radio Tower at NightSoon, the airwaves popped and crackled to life again, and this time Polish voices (clever little devils, those Germans…) called for all Poles in the broadcast area to take up arms and attack Germany.

In no time, radio stations across greater Europe picked up the story. The BBC broadcast this statement:

There have been reports of an attack on a radio station in Gleiwitz, which is just across the Polish border in Silesia. The German News Agency reports that the attack came at about 8.00pm this evening when the Poles forced their way into the studio and began broadcasting a statement in Polish. Within quarter of an hour, says reports, the Poles were overpowered by German police, who opened fire on them. Several of the Poles were reported killed, but the numbers are not yet known.

And thus, Hitler invented an excuse to invade Poland, which he did the next day: September 1, 1939. The day World War II began.

Alfred Naujocks: The Man Who Started World War II

Alfred Helmut NaujocksAlfred Helmut Naujocks was an intellectual go-to tough man. It was Naujocks who received the orders from Heinrich Müller, chief of the Gestapo, to put the staged terrorist attack together at the Gleiwitz station.

At Naujock’s disposal were what the Germans had codenamed “canned goods,” which were dissenters and criminals kept alive in detention camps until the Gestapo needed a warm dead body. To add cogency to the Gleiwitz attack, Naujocks brought along one such canned good: Franciszek Honiok.

Honiok, a German from the Silesian region, was a known Polish sympathizer. Before arriving at the station, the Gestapo gave him a lethal injection. Then, they dressed him up like a Polish terrorist, and brought him to the front of the radio station. Naujocks later testified that the man was unconscious, but not dead yet, when he was shot full of pistol rounds. When the police and press found Honiok’s body, they assumed he’d been one of the fictional Polish terrorists that attacked the station.

Operation Himmler

In all, there were 21 fake terror actions along the border that same night, many of them using “canned goods” from German prisons so there would be plenty of bodies in the morning — evidence of Polish attackers that had been shot in self defense. The actions were all part of a larger plan, called Operation Himmler.

The next day, after a long night filled with fake terror, Hitler gave a speech to the German Army, complete with synthetic anger:

The Polish State has refused the peaceful settlement of relations which I desired, and has appealed to arms. Germans in Poland are persecuted with bloody terror and driven from their houses. A series of violations of the frontier, intolerable to a great Power, prove that Poland is no longer willing to respect the frontier of the Reich.

In order to put an end to this lunacy, I have no other choice than to meet force with force from now on. The German Army will fight the battle for the honour and the vital rights of reborn Germany with hard determination. I expect that every soldier, mindful of the great traditions of eternal German soldiery, will ever remain conscious that he is a representative of the National-Socialist Greater Germany. Long live our people and our Reich!

See how it was all Poland’s fault? See how war was started under the premise of defending Germany? See how a psychopath seems like a savior to the dupes he claims to be protecting? Learn from history…

Where Are They Now?

Alfred Naujocks testifying at Nuremberg.Had it not been for the Nuremberg trials in 1945, the real story behind the Gleiwitz attack might have never been uncovered. It was there that the operation’s leader, Alfred Naujocks, spilled the beans in a written affidavit.

After that fateful night, Naujocks had several more years of adventures with the Nazis. Then he deserted Germany and turned himself over to Allied forces in 1944. He was held as a war criminal until the war was over. After testifying at the Nuremberg Trials, he became a businessman in Hamburg, and may have helped some Nazis escape to South America on the side. He died in 1966.

As for the Gleiwitz radio station, it still boasts a 38-story tower, nicknamed the Bavarian Eiffel Tower, that’s the tallest wooden tower in the world. In 2004, the station became home to the Museum on Radio History and Visual Arts.

* * *

Go to the next article in this series:
The Myth of Pearl Harbor.

Go to the previous article in this series:
Secrets of the Reichstag Fire

Go to the original article in this series:
10 False Flags that Changed the World.

This entry was posted in History, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Fake Invasion at Gleiwitz

  1. PETE says:

    It just amazes me how quickly people can be led by the nose. A few headlines, real or imagined, with a little terror throwen in and we let our supposed leaders do whatever they want. A case in point is how Chavez the president of Venezuela is quickly moving toward dictatorship, just by making the USA the devil to the north.

  2. JoeC says:

    One of the most common reactions to a catastrophe is the shocked utterance, “I never thought it would happen to me.” I think there is a lot of wishful denial going on at a lot of levels, inside AND outside the government. Things have to get bad before they get better…hopefully we’ve already reached “bad enough.”

  3. brian says:


    Pete says:’It just amazes me how quickly people can be led by the nose…A case in point is how Chavez the president of Venezuela is quickly moving toward dictatorship, just by making the USA the devil to the north’

    Thus Pete proves his own thesis by serving as his own example! News Pete: Chavez is th most democractically eleccted president in history, something that would make Bush green with envy.
    Youve been reading too many american trash rags called newspapers, all of which like the nazis at Gleiwitz churn out media propaganda that Chavez is a dictator…Thus serving to justify an invasion of Venezuela…

    Theyve been doing the same with Ahmadinejad.

    Can you see the simililarity between you and the dumb germans, and US media and Nazi propagandists?

  4. The Duke Of Earl says:

    Brilliant observation my man. A true glimpse into the darkness that beholds us a near.

  5. The Duke Of Earl says:

    Though you give the nazis credit for terrorist tactics, these operations go back to Roman times. And more than likely, were carried out wherever one man felt so much threatened by one other mans rule, that he carried out these operations in secrecy.I would assume you call this action to arms a terrorist act? This is clearly a case of political terrorism if a catigory of such could be defined.

  6. Both the Reichstag fire and the Gleiwitz incident should be dropped from this list. After more than sixty years, there is still no proof whatsoever that the Nazis set the Reichstag fire alight themselves. This was an allegation spread rather by the Communists. At Nuremberg, Goering vehemently denied the allegation, and he would know. What’s more, he had no obvious motive for lying, as he faced the death penalty no matter what he said about it. Nothing has changed since. For example, a program on the History Channel not too long ago presented the public with alleged proof that the Nazis had executed the fire themselves. However, the report turned out to do nothing more than show that underground tunnels leading to the Reichstag existed which the Nazis could have used to enter and leave the building unseen. This is certainly evidence that would support the argument that the Nazis started the fire but it falls far short of proof that they DID.

    The Gleiwitz incident is nearer my heart, as I’ve been researching it recently. In this case, here are some extremely serious questions that to my mind cast doubt on whether the Germans really executed the attack on the Gleiwitz radio station (as well as the other attacks that the German press asserted that the Poles had carried out at more or less the same time, that is, on the night of August 30-31, 1939 and which are now also attributed to the Germans).

    First, if the Poles had not carried out any of the attacks the Germans imputed to them, why on earth did they not say so? At the time, the Poles made no effort to contradict the German reports. If they had not carried out these attacks, there is no reason why they should not have said so. Yet they did not do so and, in fact, no such allegations were made for the entire duration of the war. The allegations of German responsibility were first made at Nuremberg in November 1945, which is where Albert Speer heard about this theory for the first time.

    Why would the Poles have waited so long to be cleared, if they had not been responsible? The only convincing explanation is that the Poles decided to say nothing on the assumption that the question would be dealt with after the war by imputing the attacks to the Germans themselves. This conclusion implies that the attacks were part of a premeditated plan for triggering a German response whose details had been worked out by the Poles and their British allies long before.

    Second, why would the Germans have gone to a lot of fuss and bother to stage phony attacks on themselves? According to statements from alleged participants, considerable preparation was involved, including the supply of 150 (or 250) Polish uniforms. According to one historian, a total of 354 SS personnel with a knowledge of the Polish language was allegedly involved, while concentration camp inmates were allegedly drugged and dressed in Polish uniforms to make the attacks look authentic.

    But such preparations were not only time-consuming and expensive, they would also have been unnecessary. False flag attacks only make sense when the first of two parties in a conflict attacks a third party, seeking to make it look as if the second party had been responsible. It makes no sense to stage actual attacks on one’s own forces, at least when there are no outside observers present. What purpose would be served by having Germans in Polish uniform firing on Germans in German uniforms when there was no one there but Germans to see the charade? A more pointless exercise can scarcely be imagined.

    In such circumstances, it makes a lot more sense simply to inform reporters as a matter of fact that such attacks had taken place – no one would know that they had not. This was precisely the strategy used by the Johnson administration to escalate tension with North Vietnam in August of 1964. At that time, the U.S. media was told that North Vietnamese PT boats had ‘launched attacks’ on the U.S. destroyer Madison, when no attacks had occurred at all. (See http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2261) In other words, real attacks are not needed because lies are sufficient to do the job.

    Third, if the Germans really carried out the attacks, why does no one seem to know the correct nomenclature for the operation? Some writers refer to it as ‘Operation Tannenberg,’ while others call it ‘Operation Himmler.’ Only one of the two can possibly be correct, but if the inside story of the operation has come to light, then the true nomenclature must also be known.

    Fourth, how much confidence can we have in claims which were first presented made the Nuremberg trials? Both General Lahousen and Alfred Naujocks provided statements concerning Gleiwitz at Nuremberg, but in both cases the court dealt with the witnesses very indulgently. It looks as though they were both treated favourably in return for agreeing to furnish statements that placed the responsibility for starting the war on Germany.

    Fifth, no material evidence has ever been presented to support the testimony given at Nuremberg. What’s more, of the 350-plus SS personnel allegedly involved in the attacks, none has ever come forward to acknowledge participation. (I could be wrong here, and would welcome the opportunity to review the witness statements of SS men who claims to have been involved.)

    Sixth, the history of ‘Operation Tannenberg’ was written not by an historian but by a war crimes trial veteran, Alfred Spiess. The foreword to his book was written by an important American war crimes investigator, Robert W. Kempner, whose probity is widely contested, to put it mildly. The book is probably best described as the continuation of the postwar war crimes trials by other means that serious history.

    My conclusions are, of course, tentative, in the sense that I am sure I still haven’t read everything there is to read about the Gleiwitz incident. If anyone wants to correspond with me about the topic further I would be delighted. However, this invitation is extended only to those who can cite reliable primary sources to support their arguments.

  7. Sorry about the typos in the above post. It’s late at night where I am!

    Also, I should have made it clearer that in some parts I was not just talking about Gleiwitz, but also about two other incidents of the same nature which allegedly took place the same night, one on a customs house at Hochlinden and one on a forester’s lodge at Plitschen. I think it’s the latter incident which is supposed to have involved the use of several hundred SS men.

  8. As I wrote, ‘What purpose would be served by having Germans in Polish uniform firing on Germans in German uniforms when there was no one there but Germans to see the charade? A more pointless exercise can scarcely be imagined.’

    And this writer wants us to believe that the Germans went to the trouble of staging 21 of these pointless operations!

    This is just laughable.

  9. Bavarian says:

    Well, why do you ‘go to the trouble* of writing pages full of pointless conjecture? I can elucidate you on the Nazi’s motives. 1) Lack of public support for a new war in the German public, 2) figleave for the ‘Ausland’, which Hitler knew was very reluctant to fulfill its contractual military duties towards Poland, especially the Brits.
    Don’t forget that though Germany was an autocracy, had only a streamlined press and Hitler had brought renewed wealth and territorial gain to country, the people were still loath to go to war again. Talk about limits of dictatorship, but the horrors of WW1 were too close. That’s how my Grandpa saw it at the time. It was not that many didn’t smell something fishy, but accusing the Leader of lying in a time of war was egregious and, well, treason.
    He knew what that meant for his wife and 4 kids and so he obeyed and went into his second war, without elation, without rejoicing. But after Gleiwitz Hitler needed no jubilant public, resistance was treason, end of debate, and besides: would the Führer lie about such fundamental matters? Could you believe the foreign press on such essential issues?
    Hitler knew that ‘reluctant’ German soldiers were still no laughing matter and all he needed. My grandpa was never member of the NSDAP, never voted for them in Weimar times and he never allowed my father or my aunts and uncles to join the Hitler-Jugend. All this talk about the alledged majority of fervent Nazi-Germans, Hitlers willing executioners etc. is bull. But cajoling and intimidating my Grandpa and his generation into conformity was all it took to seal the fate of Europe, and herein lies the tragic and guilt of his generation not even the most fervent German nationalists can deny. Had this ‘decent man’ and Non-Nazi Herman L. won his war, Hitler would have had his way. Food for thought, indeed.

  10. Bavarian, this was a generalised anti-Nazi tirade which represents your point of view but contains no discussion of any of the essential points and certainly no discussion of specific pieces of evidence.

    What I wrote is not ‘pointless conjecture’ – it’s part logical, showing, for example, that the idea of staging false flag attacks on your own forces is ridiculous, and part factual, pointing out, for example, that the Poles never denied attacking the Gleiwitz radio station, and that the only evidence supporting the allegations that the Germans carried out the 21 (ha ha) attacks comes from two people who told massive whoppers at Nuremberg.

  11. Peter Lapsoo says:

    I had never believed this story!
    http://www.jrbooksonline.com/polish_atrocities.htm
    http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/articles/wrsynopsis.html#note3
    http://www.versandbuchhandelscriptorium.com/angebot/e0882trut.html

    Google and wiki all arround.Agai and again.Thru Avalon project,UN League of nations archive.Yo wil find only this what I found.
    The key for WW2 is March 31.1939 Anglo-french-polish (secretly)alliance.After this: 58 000 germans dead in Danzig Corridor.

    History is going to be change.Orwelian world

  12. Peter Lapsoo says:

    PS: Suport of Wall Street,Bush and Rockefeller for germany looks OK.They stood on right side!

    Wind of change.

    PS:Im from Slovakia,former comunist country.For centuries germans setled in Slovakia and we had great relationship.USA is The same.So is our holly role to help germans to clean theirs name!

    Gadblesjaol

  13. Xman says:

    The safest thing to do is to believe no one who has ever lied to you. Person, government or church.
    I spite of us all knowing “nothing just happens out of thin air”, we still fall for it as if we have never heard of “cause and effect”. We still think stuff just “happens”. There may not always be excuses for retaliation, but there are always reasons. Some sympathetic and some not. I’m thinking of Reverend Wright’s “coming home to roost” comments…and Ike Turner, the worlds most famous wife beater.

    Let the hate mail fall on me, but who ever heard Ike’s side of the story? And how much do we know about the suffering that has been inflicted by our corporations on mid-east populations?

    See how easy it is to react when you only have heard one side?

  14. JoeC says:

    Well said, Xman. The truth isn’t always popular, and there will never be a pen with enough ink, a book with enough pages, or a life long enough to hear the whole truth. When humans analyze the truth, because we are human we must frame it, and the size of the frame does change the composition of the picture. Also, the truth is comprised of many layers, as in an onion, which may contradict each other, and being human, when we try to eat all the layers at once, we tend to choke and have bad breath. Achhhh! Truth is I was never great at similes and metaphors ;-)

  15. Xman says:

    Actually, I’m a big fan of similies and metaphors.

    I watched a couple minutes of “the View this morning and while watching Whoopie shake her head at the blond in disbelief, I thought of Pavlov’s dogs…and thought of the blond again and was sure she would have no idea why I was thinking of Pavlov’s dogs. And wasn’t it Skinner’s dogs that were trained to walk under enemy tanks with bombs strapped to their backs? I just can’t help but think of Republican’s, blonds and dogs in the same breath image. I guess I should put bulls in that group too.
    Please, someone stop me!

  16. JoeC says:

    Pretty bizarre…I’m listening to David Benioff’s novel, “City of Thieves,” on CD (my current “listen to a book on the drive to work” choice). I’d never heard of Skinner’s dogs before, but in just yesterday’s listen, the protagonist stumbled onto a field filled with shot dogs with bombs on their backs. The book — an excellent novel, by the way — takes place during the Nazi siege of Leningrad. So, the Russians had trained their dogs that there was food underneath their tanks. Then the Russians starved the dogs for a week, strapped bombs to their backs, and turned them loose when the Nazi tanks advanced. But, in Benioff’s story, the Nazis had already wised up to what happens when a dog with a bomb on its back thinks theirs schnitzel beneath their tank (BOOM!), so the German sharpshooters had taken out the dogs before they reached their tanks, and by the time our hero emerges from the woods onto this snow-covered field full of tank tread marks, the field is littered with the carcasses of bomb-carrying dogs, some still alive and clawing along with their guts trailing. Did I say I’m really liking this novel? It’s a very entertaining, very deep-felt powerful book. And, after never having heard of tank-busting bomb-toting dogs before, then hearing about them twice from two different sources in two days…well, thought it was worth a mention. You know what the Police say: “A star fall, a phone call. It joins all. Synchronicity.”

  17. Xman says:

    I have really been enjoying books and movies from foreign perspectives. Especially Russian or old Soviet Bloc countries. Subtitles are pretty easy to adjust to.
    Anyway, in many cases, foreign books/movies seem to have a grittier truth to them that is refreshing. Odd to say graphic dog guts is refreshing, but I do appreciate the honesty.

    On the other hand, why do movies and books from latin countries seem so sensual? I swear, I feel like I’m on a date when I read/watch them.

  18. Indigobusiness says:

    I’m fond of foreign books and films,as well. There’s a more honest pathos to them that confronts the themes of the human dilemma. Not just kill the bad guys, or win at all cost American formula. What’s happened to our art, our pop culture?

    I bought some dvds recently: Y Tu Mama, Tambien…Amores Perros…Motorcycle Diaries, etc. And I’ve been watching The Dancer Upstairs, John Malkovich directed Javier Bardem in a fascinating study of Peruvian revolutionaries and politics. But Xman’s post reminded me of books I need revisit, or finish, he reminded me of that feeling of being on a date. Well said.

    When we get back to valuing fairness above “winning”, we’ll be a better lot. More similes and less smilies, I say.

  19. Xman says:

    “More similes and less smilies, I say.”
    Nice!

    Just finished Animal Farm again last night. Hadn’t read it since high school in 1970? Amazing! Instead of thinking of Stalin, though, I thought of our own society/government.

  20. Should’ve been ‘fewer smilies’, not ‘less’…(some words are more equal than others).

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