Beginning of World War II. Germany invades Poland. French Journalist Robert Guillain met Sorge at the Domei News Building (where Guillain and most foreign correspondents were officed) in downtown Tokyo soon after hearing the news of the outbreak of War. Guillain berated Sorge saying: "Well, there you are! You bastard Germans are starting it again! Once more you are showing who you are, a nation of arsonists and bloody butchers! You murder the defenders of freedom at home. You burglar Europe in peace-time. But all this was not enough for your damned Fuehrer and your people. You needed a real war with blood. You had to start once more pillaging and murdering your neighbors! You are a country of thieves, a population of murderers!" Sorge listened quietly to Guillain's verbal barrage which lasted for several minutes. Japanese men emerged from their offices to hear the raucous. When the outburst was finished Sorge said: "Guillain, come to lunch with me. If you accept let's get out of here together. I ask you to accept my invitation. I'd like to speak quietly with you." Sorge and Guillain went to Chez Lohmeyer, a German restaurant, and sat in a quiet corner. Guillain recounts the encounter: "This 100% Nazi that I thought I had in front of me, the confidant of Ambassador Ott, the German patriot, seemed as overwhelmed and shaken as me by the start of the war. He hated war, any war, he said. He told me about WWI, where he had been wounded 3 times. He had seen enough war for a lifetime. He had starved in poverty with the Germans after the 1919 armistice. He was not at all sweet-talking like a Nazi, but like a man desperately attached to peace, almost like a conscientious objector, rejecting any military engagement. I let him monologue and he seemed to be unloading his heart in a low voice, leaning a little forward, surely so no one else could hear him besides me, and gave the impression of a man confessing secret things. He was looking at me in the eyes with his blue gaze. He wanted to speak to me man to man, journalist to journalist, he thought he could count on my total discretion. With the beginning ofthe war, he did not agree anymore with the Fuehrer's policies, he could tell me that in confidence. Since the German defeat of 1918 he had made it the law of his life to work for peace so that populations would get along and mankind live better. As a journalist he tried to do as much as possible in this direction. Now, everything crumbled again into war... I had the impression of having in front of me not an enemy and certainly not the hardened Nazi I had thought him to be. Instead, Sorge was full of warmth... He was giving the impression, most of all, of a deeply anguished man that events had plunged into disarray. I thought later that if he didn't agree with the politics of his Fuehrer, it meant he did not agree with those of Stalin, his real chief.. The lunch at Chez Lohmeyer left me stunned, not knowing what to think about my unexpected guest. But, I felt a kind of relief and comfort from this strange encounter. I remember having told him as we parted from the restaurant: "I probably will not have the opportunity to do this again Sorge, but I am leaving thanking you for having spoken to me as you did, shaking your hand warmly." Guillain concluded: "He went away in the direction of Suibashi with a sad smile over his wounded lion's face".103 (Guillain, p.48)
103 In retrospect, it seems like Sorge was trying to open himself up a bit to perhaps improve the flow of information between Guillain and Vukelic.
Sorge offered the post of German Embassy press officer. He refuses the offer but continues to work as an unofficial consultant, and occasional lecturer in the Tokyo Nazi community. To add insult-to-injury, he sometimes offered seminars about the dangers of the Comintern during his years at the Embassy. For a time Sorge also edited the German Colony newspaper in Tokyo. (Johnson, p.144; Guérin and Châtel, p.349; testimony of Franz Krapf, December 1996)
According to Russian historian Edvard Radzinsky, Stalin and Hitler met secretly in Lvov, Poland to discuss a revision of their Non-Aggression Pact. This meeting seems to have been confirmed by a letter dated July 19, 1940 from J. Edgar Hoover to then Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle. Radzinsky is one of the first writers who make this claim. (Radzinsky, p. 444)