After one week of fighting there could no longer be any doubt as to the outcome. Whenever Polish troops met German units, they were driven back or dispersed. Poland's ambitious strategy for a great offensive against the territory of the Reich collapsed within the first forty-eight hours of the campaign. Death-defying in attack, advancing at an unconquerable rate of progress, infantry, armored detachments, air force and units of the navy were soon dictating the course of events.
They were masters of the situation throughout the campaign. In a fortnight's time the major part of the Polish Army was either scattered, captured, or surrounded. In the meantime, however, the German Army had covered distances and occupied regions which twenty-five years ago would have taken over fourteen months to conquer.
Even though a number of peculiarly gifted newspaper strategists in other parts of the world attempted to describe the pace at which this campaign progressed as not coming up to Germany's expectations, we ourselves all know that in all history there has scarcely been a comparable military achievement.
That the last remnants of the Polish Army were able to hold out in Warsaw, Modlin, and on Hela Peninsula until October 1 was not due to their prowess in arms, but only to our cool thinking and our sense of responsibility.
I forbade the sacrifice of more human lives than was absolutely necessary. That is to say, I deliberately released the German Supreme Command from adherence to a principle still observed in the Great War demanding that for the sake of prestige certain objectives must under all circumstances be reached within a certain time limit.
Everything which it is imperative to do will be done regardless of sacrifice, but what can be avoided will not be done.
There would have been no difficulty for us in breaking the resistance of Warsaw between the 10th and 12th of September, just as we finally broke it September 25-27, only that in the first place I wanted to spare German lives and in the second place I still clung to the hope, misdirected though it was, that the Polish side might for once be guided by responsible common sense instead of by irresponsible lunacy. But in this instance we were once more confronted with the spectacle which we had witnessed before on the largest possible scale.