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German people!

Your country and mine are now at war. Your Government has bombed and invaded the free and independent State of Poland, which this country is in honour bound to defend. Because your troops were not withdrawn in response to the Note which the British Government addressed to the German Government, war has followed.

With the horrors of war we are familiar. God knows this country has done everything possible to prevent this calamity. But now that the invasion of Poland by Germany has taken place, it has become inevitable.

You are told by your Government that you are fighting because Poland rejected your Leader’s offer and resorted to force. What are the facts? The so-called “offer” was made to the Polish Ambassador in Berlin on Thursday evening, two hours before the announcement by your Government that it had been “rejected.” So far from having been rejected, there had been no time even to consider it.

Your Government had previously demanded that a Polish representative should be sent to Berlin within twenty-four hours to conclude an agreement. At that time the 16 Points subsequently put forward had not even been communicated to the Polish Government. The Polish representative was expected to arrive within a fixed time to sign an agreement which he had not even seen. This is not negotiation. This is a dictate. To such methods no self-respecting and powerful State could assent. Negotiations on a free and equal basis might well have settled the matter in dispute.

You may ask why Great Britain is concerned. We are concerned because we gave our word of honour to defend Poland against aggression. Why did we feel it necessary to pledge ourselves to defend this Eastern Power when our interests lie in the West, and when your Leader has said he has no interest to the West? The answer is-and I regret to have to say it-that nobody in this country any longer places any trust in your Leader’s word.

He gave his word that he would respect the Locarno Treaty; he broke it.
He gave his word that he neither wished nor intended to annex Austria; he broke it.
He declared that he would not incorporate the Czechs in the Reich; he did so.
He gave his word after Munich (Agreement concluded at Munich, September 29, 1938, between Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy) that he had no further territorial demands in Europe; he broke it.
He gave his word that he wanted no Polish provinces; he broke it.
He has sworn to you for years that he was the mortal enemy of Bolshevism (Treaty of Nonaggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics); he is now its ally.

Can you wonder his word is, for us, not worth the paper it is written on?

The German-Soviet Pact was a cynical volte face, designed to shatter the Peace Front against aggression. This gamble failed. The Peace Front stands firm. Your Leader is now sacrificing you, the German people, to the still more monstrous gamble of a war to extricate himself from the impossible position into which he has led himself and you.

In this war we are not fighting against you, the German people, for whom we have no bitter feeling, but against a tyrannous and forsworn regime which has betrayed not only its own people but the whole of Western civilisation and all that you and we hold dear.

May God defend the right!

Source: The British War Bluebook

See also: British Declaration Of War on Germany- Radio Broadcast – 3 Sept 1939

Proclamation by Adolf Hitler – September 1,1939

Invasion of Poland Maps – September 1939

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Text of German-Polish Agreement of January 26, 1934.

The German Government and the Polish Government consider that the time has come to introduce a new phase in the political relations between Germany and Poland by a direct understanding between State and State. They have, therefore, decided to lay down the principles for the future development of these relations in the present declaration.

The two Governments base their action on the fact that the maintenance and guarantee of a lasting peace between their countries is an essential pre-condition for the general peace of Europe.

They have therefore decided to base their mutual relations on the principles laid down in the Pact of Paris of the 17th August, 1928, and propose to define more exactly the application of these principles in so far as the relations between Germany and Poland are concerned.

Each of the two Governments, therefore, lays it down that the international obligations undertaken by it towards a third party do not hinder the peaceful development of their mutual relations, do not conflict with the present declaration, and are not affected by this declaration. They establish, moreover, that this declaration does not extend to those questions which under international law are to be regarded exclusively as the internal concern of one of the two States.

Both Governments announce their intention to settle directly all questions of whatever sort which concern their mutual relations.

Should any disputes arise between them and agreement thereon not be reached by direct negotiation, they will in each particular case, on the basis of mutual agreement, seek a solution by other peaceful means, without prejudice to the possibility of applying, if necessary, those methods of procedure in which provision is made for such cases in other agreements in force between them. In no circumstances, however, will they proceed to the application of force for the purpose of reaching a decision in such disputes.

The guarantee of peace created by these principles will facilitate the great task of both Governments of finding a solution for problems of political, economic and social kinds, based on a just and fair adjustment of the interests of both parties.

Both Governments are convinced that the relations between their countries will in this manner develop fruitfully, and will lead to the establishment of a neighbourly relationship which will contribute to the well-being not only of both their countries, but of the other peoples of Europe as well.

The present declaration shall be ratified, and the instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Warsaw as soon as possible.

The declaration is valid for a period of ten years, reckoned from the day of the exchange of the instruments of ratification.

If the declaration is not denounced by one of the two Governments six months before the expiration of this period, it will continue in force, but can then be denounced by either Government at any time on notice of six months being given. Made in duplicate in the German and Polish languages.

Berlin, January 26, 1934.
For the German Government:
FREIHERR VON NEURATH.
For the Polish Government
JOSEF LIPSKI.

Source: The British War Bluebook

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Map of the Campaign In Poland, 1 – 14 September 1939

 

Map of the Campaign In Poland, 15-22 September 1939

Campaign In Poland, Deployment Of The Wehrmacht, 1 September 1939

Campaign In Poland, Disposition Of Oposing Forces, 31 August 1939

Campaign In Poland, Industry and Communications,1939

 

Used with the kind permission of the United States Military Academy – West Point

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The Invasion of Poland (1939) precipitated World War II. It was carried out by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small German-allied Slovak contingent. In Poland the invasion is also known as “the September Campaign” (“Kampania wrześniowa”) or “the 1939 Defensive War” (“Wojna obronna 1939 roku”). In Germany it is sometimes referred to as “the Poland Campaign” (“Polenfeldzug”) or “the Polish-German War of 1939”. For the German General Staff, it was codenamed “Fall Weiss,” or “Case White”.
The invasion of Poland marked the start of World War II in Europe, as Poland’s western allies, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand,[6] declared war on Germany on 3 September, soon followed by France, South Africa and Canada, among others. The invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and ended 6 October 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland. Although the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany soon after Germany attacked Poland, very little direct military aid was provided (see Phoney War and Western betrayal).
Following a German-staged “Polish attack” on 31 August 1939, on September 1, German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. Spread thin defending their long borders, the Polish armies were soon forced to withdraw eastward. After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces then began a withdrawal southeast, following a plan that called for a long defense in the Romanian bridgehead area, where the Polish forces were to await an expected Allied counterattack and relief.
On 17 September 1939, the Soviet Red Army invaded the eastern regions of Poland in cooperation with Germany. The Soviets were carrying out their part of the secret appendix of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence. Facing the second front, the Polish government decided the defense of the Romanian bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered the evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. By 1 October, Germany and the Soviet Union completely overran Poland, although the Polish government never surrendered. In addition, Poland’s remaining land and air forces were evacuated to neighboring Romania and Hungary. Many of the exiles subsequently joined the recreated Polish Army in allied France, French-mandated Syria, and the United Kingdom.
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Radio Address by Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister, September 3, 1939.

 

I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10, Downing Street.

This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 0’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.

You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win peace has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different that I could have done and that would have been more successful.

Up to the very last it would have been quite possible to have arranged a peaceful and honourable settlement between Germany and Poland. But Hitler would not have it. He had evidently made up his mind to attack Poland whatever happened, and although he now says he put forward reasonable proposals which were rejected by the Poles, that is not a true statement.

The proposals were never shown to the Poles, nor to us, and, though they were announced in a German broadcast on Thursday night, Hitler did not wait to hear comments on them, but ordered his troops to cross the Polish frontier. His action shows convincingly that there is no chance of expecting that this man will ever give up his practice of using force to gain his will. He can only be stopped by force.

We and France are to-day, in fulfillment of our obligations, going to the aid of Poland, who is so bravely resisting this wicked and unprovoked attack upon her people. We have a clear conscience. We have done all that any country could do to establish peace, but a situation in which no word given by Germany’s ruler could be trusted and no people or country could feel themselves safe had become intolerable. And now that we have resolved to finish it, I know that you will all play your part with calmness and courage.

As such a moment as this the assurances of support that we have received from the Empire are a source of profound encouragement to us.

…Now may God bless you all and may He defend the right. For it is evil things that we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. And against them I am certain that the right will prevail.

See also: British Declaration Of War – Radio Broadcast – 3 Sept 1939 

Courtesy of The Avalon Project, http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm

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See also: https://historicalresources.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/proclamation-by-adolf-hitler-september-11939/ – Proclamation by Adolf Hitler – September 1,1939

See also: Radio Address by Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister, September 3, 1939 , transcription of the text

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Proclamation by Adolf Hitler – September 1,1939.
Proclamation by Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of the Reich, to the German Army, September 1,1939.
The Polish State has refused the peaceful settlement of relations which I desired, and has appealed to arms. Germans in Poland are persecuted with bloody terror and driven from their houses. A series of violations of the frontier, intolerable to a great Power, prove that Poland is no longer willing to respect the frontier of the Reich.

In order to put an end to this lunacy, I have no other choice than to meet force with force from now on. The German Army will fight the battle for the honour and the vital rights of reborn Germany with hard determination. I expect that every soldier, mindful of the great traditions of eternal German soldiery, will ever remain conscious that he is a representative of the National-Socialist Greater Germany. Long live our people and our Reich!

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Early German Offensives Maps

 

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map03.htm – Campaign in Poland (1939)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map04.htm – Campaign in Poland (31 August 1939)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map05.htm – Campaign in Poland (1 September 1939)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map06.htm – Campaign in Poland (1-14 September 1939)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map07.htm – Campaign in Poland (1939)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map08.htm – Campaign in Norway (9 April – May 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map09.htm – Campaign in the West (October 1939 – January 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map10.htm – Campaign in the West (1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map11.htm – Campaign in the West (10-16 May 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map12.htm – Campaign in the West (16-21 May 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map13.htm – Campaign in the West (21 May-4 June 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map14.htm – Campaign in the West (4 June – 12 June 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map15.htm – Campaign in the West (13-25 June 1940)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map17.htm – Campaign in the Balkans (April 1941)

http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=worldwarii_europe_maps_map18.htm – Campaign in the Balkans (20 May 1941)

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