Philology of the day: Goebbels “producing”

During the spring months of 1943 the Anglo-American and Soviet relationships were at their lowest points since Pearl Harbor. Fears of concluding separate peace were on the fore of the minds of both sides. It was this point that Goebbels chose to exploit by releasing the brisant material on German forces discovering mass graves of 8 500 Polish officers and men near the forest of Katyn. Brits and Americans dared not risk the Alliance over this massacre. London Poles pressed for Red Cross investigation. Stalin was outraged. A crisis between Allies had deepened.

Both Churchill and Roosevelt were intent on mollifying Stalin to keep him at war with the Nazis, although both suspected (and were later confirmed) the massacre was carried out by the Soviets.

Churchill cabled Stalin and assured Stalin that the London Poles were in no collusion with the Germans. Further, he was convinced that

German propaganda has produced this story to make a rift” [in the Allied ranks].

This is a cleverly (and necessarily) ambiguous wording, because “to produce” means:

  • to make, to create, to yield, to concoct

but also:

  • to bring forth, to cause, to disclose

In other words, Churchill says either “German propagada has made up the story to make a rift among Allies” or he says “German propaganda has disclosed the story to make a rift among Allies.” In actual wording, he said both.

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About Petr Klíma