Start Date: 01 September 2018
End Date: 01 September 2018
Place: 365 Burrows Ave.
On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, the act that started World War II. The day before, Nazi operatives had posed as Polish military officers to stage an attack on the radio station in the Silesian city of Gleiwitz. Germany used the event as the pretext for its invasion of Poland.
Adolf Hitler portrayed Germany’s action as one of self-defense: “In order to put an end to this frantic activity no other means is left to me now than to meet force with force.”
France and England declared war against Germany on Sept. 3, but neither country was prepared to fight and would not deploy a significant number of military forces until the next year, leaving Poland alone in its defense.
Although it had an army of more than 700,000, Poland was unprepared for Germany’s blitzkrieg tactics. Its army could not deploy its troops quickly enough to defend against the more powerful German forces. As a result, many civilians lost their lives.
Any hopes of repelling the invasion were dashed on Sept. 17, when the Soviet Red Army invaded from east. By the end of September, Germany and the Soviet Union had control of the country. The last organized Polish resistance was defeated on Oct. 6.
After the initial rapid attacks on Poland, things appeared to quickly quiet down. News was sparse from the front lines, and the American press started referring to the situation as the “Phony War.”
During this time, however, German forces steadily occupied Poland and continued to focus on civilians, imprisoning and murdering thousands of the country’s residents.