Britain Refuses Hitler's Offer of Peace

On 10 October 1939, the British refused Hitler's offer of peace; on 12 October the French did the same.

Franz Halder, the chief of staff of the OKH, the German Army High Command, presented the first plan for Fall Gelb ("Case Yellow") on 19 October, the pre-war codename of plans for campaigns in the Low Countries: the Aufmarschanweisung N°1, Fall Gelb, or "Deployment Instruction No. 1, Case Yellow". Halder's plan has often been compared to the Schlieffen Plan, which the Germans executed in 1914 during World War I. It was similar in that both plans entailed an advance through the middle of Belgium, but while the intention of the Schlieffen Plan was to gain a decisive victory by executing a surprise encirclement of the French army, Aufmarschanweisung N°1 was based on an unimaginative frontal attack, sacrificing a projected half a million German soldiers to attain the limited goal of throwing the Allies back to the River Somme. Germany's strength for 1940 would then be spent; only in 1942 could the main attack against France begin.

For the first two weeks of October 1939, Hitler unquestionably wavered between continuing the fight—which meant launching an almost immediate offensive in the west—and making peace with the remaining belligerents on the best terms he could get. The fact that he had ordered the Wehrmacht to get ready for “Operation Yellow” (Fall Gelb, the attack on France and the Low Countries) in no way detracts from the reality of his peace offensive. Whatever his final decision, there was no time to be lost.