On the 1st of September, 80 years ago, the horror of World War II was unleashed upon the world when the German Army invaded Poland. The Invasion of Poland, also known as a September Campaign in Poland or Fall Weiss (Case White) in Germany, was a joint attack by Nazi Germany, the Free City of Danzig, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent.
WWII was inevitable; despite all the diplomacy and attempts at appeasement, it was a war that Hitler really wanted. A week before the Fall Weiss started (22nd August 1939), he said:
“The object of the war is … physically to destroy the enemy. That is why I have prepared, for the moment only in the East, my ‘Death’s Head’ formations with orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.”
The next day, a secret agreement between the Third Reich and the USSR was signed. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed on 23rd August 1939, remained in force until Operation Barbarossa began.
On 29 August, Hitler demanded from Poland restoration of Danzig and control over the Polish Corridor, in order to create a land link to Germany’s East Prussian territories, which was firmly denied by Polish Government.
During the night of 31 August, the Gleiwitz incident, a false flag attack on the radio station, was staged near the border city of Gleiwitz in Upper Silesia by German units posing as Polish troops, as part of the wider Operation Himmler. The goal was to use the staged attack as a pretext for invading Poland.
Hitler called the invasion the “Defensive War.”
“Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier.” – Adolf Hitler
At that time, Europe still believed that the peace could be maintained using diplomacy. The Europeans couldn’t be more wrong. After the summit, the British prime minister Chamberlain returned to Great Britain where he declared that the Munich agreement meant “peace for our time.”
On 31 August 1939, Hitler ordered hostilities against Poland. Because of the earlier stoppage, Poland managed to mobilize only 70% of its planned forces, and many units were still forming or moving to their designated frontline positions. At that time, Poland had no idea that they were doomed. 17 days later USSR also joined to the war. The Allies didn’t help.