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Germany invades Poland

September 1, 1939, Adolf Hitler gave the order for 62 German divisions, a German battleship, and 1,300 aircraft to begin the invasion of Poland. Hitler’s decision to invade Poland, alarmed his generals, as they believed more time was needed to increase defenses, in order to hold back any French and British counter-offensive in the west, while the bulk of the Wehrmacht, or German Army, was engaged in the east. Hitler dismissed their concerns, as he was confident that the invasion of Poland would result in a quick and short victory. Hitler also believed that the British and French prime-ministers, Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier, were weak and had ambivalent feelings towards war. Due to revisions of the Treaty of Versailles, Britain and France had accepted the rearmament of Germany in 1935 and the Anschluss, or unification of Germany and Austria, in March of 1938. At Munich, in September of 1938, Britain and France hesitantly supported the transference of Germans’ Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia to Germany. Hitler intimidated powers in the west by the threat of military action, and by fear of the powerful Luftwaffe, or German air force. However, Public opinion in the west, supported the rearming of Germany and welcomed it as a bulwark, or defense, against the Soviet Union.

In March of 1939, Hitler, confident with his previous triumphs, ordered the annexation of the whole of Czechoslovakia and urged Poland to allow the establishment of road and railways to run across the country, and improve Germany’s communication. Hitler’s conquest of Czechoslovakia breached the written guarantee, between Hitler and Chamberlain, stating that he would no longer demand territories in Europe. France’s Chamberlain guaranteed to protect Poland’s borders, and hoped that Hitler would restrain his demands. Hitler, however, was not discouraged, as he was certain that France would not want to stand alone in a war to support Poland. Hitler’s only real concern was that an unanticipated invasion, near the Soviet Union’s borders, could trigger a war between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler took preventative measures and on August 23, 1939, Hitler, of Germany and Stalin, of the Soviet Union, signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Hitler had taken advantage of the situation in order to put into effect the restoration of Germany’s pre-1919 borders.

On September 1, at 6 am, Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was battered by bombing raids, during which two of Germany’s major armies invaded from Prussia and Slovakia. from the North and South. The Luftwaffe, or German air force, decisively bombarded road ways, rail ways, and means of transportation, to limit movement and aimed for concentrations of Polish Troops. Germany deliberately bombed villages and towns to create widespread hysteria, which slowed Polish reinforcements. Panzer spearheads, following the Junkers Ju-87 dive-bomber, cleared the path for German infantry to pour into the rear of Polish defensives. The German’s strategy of ‘blitzkreig’ prevented Polish forces from being able to regroup as there was no static front line. The Polish army was forced to surrender.

Reflection:

Something interesting that I learned about our event, the Invasion of Poland, was that prior to the invasion, the Soviet Union was afraid of an invasion by Germany. Germany was afraid that by invading Poland, they would start a war between them and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had tried to make alliances with countries in western Europe, however, none were successful. The Soviet Union also tried to make an agreement with Poland, that would allow the Red Army to be able to travel through Poland in order to attack Germany, if necessary. Poland declined and left the Soviet Union helpless. Germany’s Hitler took advantage of the situation that the Soviet Union was in and both agreed to the Nazi-Soviet Pact. The Invasion of Poland began at 6 am on September 1, 1939, and took the whole world, besides the Soviet Union, Italy, and Germany, by surprise. The invasion forced alliances between England, France and Poland, and alliances between Italy, Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union. The Invasion of Poland started the second world war.

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