The date of September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland, is remembered as the date the war started. But little is remembered about the date Russia also moved into Poland, on September 16,1939. The nation of Poland was now divided between these two war-time allies.
It is interesting to notice what the responses of the major allied nations were to these two dates. When Germany entered the western portion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. But when Russia moved into eastern Poland, there was no war declaration by either nation.
The Soviets caused one of the tragic events of history after they occupied their portion of Poland. They captured approximately 10,000 Polish officers and brutally murdered them, most of them meeting their death in Katyn Forest near the Russian town of Smolensk. The traditional story about their deaths was that the officers had been killed by the German army, but now the evidence is clear that the Russians committed this crime. The other victims were taken aboard a barge which was towed out to sea and then sunk.
Even with all of these efforts of the American businessman to construct the German war machine with the full knowledge and approval of President Roosevelt, he kept repeating that the nation would continue its "neutral" position: it would remain out of the war. On September 1, 1939, when the war started, he was asked by a reporter whether America would stay out of the war and Roosevelt replied: "... I believe we can, and every effort will be made by the Administration to do so."
Roosevelt responded by appointing George Marshall, a CFR member, as Chief of Staff of the Army over General Douglas MacArthur, not a member of the CFR, and other senior officers.
Others did not believe Roosevelt's claim that America would remain neutral. On September 12, 1939, Hans Thomson, the German charge d'affaires in Washington, cabled the German government: "... if defeat should threaten the Allies (Great Britain and France), Roosevelt is determined to go to war against Germany, even in the face of the resistance of his own country."
But Germany's war efforts were still dependent on oil resources, and it came from a variety of sources, some external to the German border. Before Rumania was invaded by the Germans, it was selling oil to Germany. Life magazine of February 19, 1940, has a picture of Rumanian oil being loaded into oil tank cars. The picture has a caption under it which reads, in part: "Oil for Germany moves in these tank cars of American Essolube and British Shell out of Creditui Minier yards near Ploesti (Rumania.) Notice that cars are marked for German-American Oil Co. and German Railways, consigned to Hamburg and Wuppertal in Germany. They were sent from Germany to speed up Rumanian oil shipments." This picture was taken after Germany had invaded Austria and Poland, yet American and British oil companies are transporting oil for the German government, (the tank cars in the picture are dearly marked "Essolube," and "Shell").
And other sources supplied oil as well. When the German air force ran short of fuel, this was generously supplied from the great refinery belonging to the Standard Oil Company situated on the island of Aruba via Spanish tankers. This occurred during the war itself, yet these tankers were not sunk by American submarines.
Even with the purchases of oil from non-German sources, the major supplier of oil was still the cartel. The I.G. Farben-Standard Oil cooperation for production of synthetic oil from coal gave the I.G. Farben cartel a monopoly of German gasoline production during World War II. Just under one half of German high octane gasoline in 1945 was produced directly by I.G. Farben, and most of the balance by its affiliated companies.
But as the war in Europe continued, America's leaders were attempting to get America involved, even though the American people didn't want to become part of it Roosevelt, the presidential candidate, was promising the American people that the Roosevelt administration would remain neutral should he be re-elected. Others knew better. One, for instance, was General Hugh Johnson, who said: "I know of no well informed Washington observer who isn't convinced that, if Mr. Roosevelt is elected (in 1940), he will drag us into war at the first opportunity, and that, if none presents itself, he will make one."
Roosevelt had two opportunities to involve America in World