In world history it is generally accepted that the date of the beginning of World War II is September 1, 1939, when the German military struck Poland. The consequence of this was its complete occupation and annexation of part of the territory by other states. As a result, Great Britain and France declared their entry into the war with the Germans, which marked the beginning of the creation of the Anti-Hitler coalition. From these days, the European fire flared up with unstoppable force.
Thirst for military revenge
The driving force behind the aggressive policy of Germany in the thirties was the desire to revise the European borders established in accordance with the Versailles Treaty of 1919, which legally consolidated the results of the war that had ended shortly before. As you know, Germany, during an unsuccessful military campaign for her, lost a number of lands that previously belonged to her. Hitler's victory in the 1933 elections is largely due to his calls for military revenge and the annexation of all territories inhabited by ethnic Germans to Germany. Such rhetoric found a deep response in the hearts ofvoters, and they cast their votes for him.
Before the attack on Poland was made (September 1, 1939), or rather the year before, Germany made anschluss (annexation) of Austria and the annexation of the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. In order to implement these plans and protect himself from possible opposition from Poland, Hitler concluded a peace treaty with them in 1934 and over the next four years actively created the appearance of friendly relations. The picture changed dramatically after the Sudetenland and a large part of Czechoslovakia were forcibly annexed to the Reich. The voices of German diplomats accredited in the Polish capital also sounded in a new way.
German claims and attempts to counter her
Until September 1, 1939, Germany's main territorial claims to Poland were, firstly, its lands adjacent to the B altic Sea and separating Germany from East Prussia, and secondly, Danzig (Gdansk), which at that time had free city status. In both cases, the Reich pursued not only political interests, but also purely economic ones. In this regard, the Polish government was actively pressured by German diplomats.
In the spring, the Wehrmacht captured that part of Czechoslovakia, which still retained its independence, after which it became obvious that Poland would be next in line. In the summer, talks were held in Moscow between diplomats from a number of countries. Their task included the development of measures to ensure European security and the creation of an alliance directed against German aggression. But he was not educatedbecause of the position of Poland itself. In addition, good intentions were not destined to come true due to the fault of the other participants, each of whom hatched their own plans.
The result was the now infamous treaty signed by Molotov and Ribbentrop. This document guaranteed Hitler non-intervention of the Soviet side in the event of his aggression, and the Fuhrer gave the command to start hostilities.
The state of the troops at the beginning of the war and provocations at the border
Invading Poland, Germany had a significant advantage both in the number of personnel of its troops and in their technical equipment. It is known that by this time their Armed Forces numbered ninety-eight divisions, while Poland on September 1, 1939 had only thirty-nine. The plan to seize Polish territory was codenamed "Weiss".
For its implementation, the German command needed a reason, and in connection with this, the intelligence and counterintelligence service carried out a number of provocations, the purpose of which was to shift the blame for the start of the war on the inhabitants of Poland. Members of the Special Department of the SS, as well as criminals recruited from various prisons in Germany, dressed in civilian clothes and armed with Polish weapons, carried out a number of attacks on German facilities located throughout the border.
Beginning of the war: September 1, 1939
The occasion created in this way was quite convincing: the protection of their own national interests from outside encroachment. Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939year, and soon Great Britain and France became participants in the events. The land front line stretched for sixteen hundred kilometers, but, in addition, the Germans used their navy.
From the first day of the offensive, the German battleship began shelling Danzig, where a significant amount of food stocks were concentrated. This city was the first conquest that the Second World War brought to the Germans. On September 1, 1939, his land assault began. By the end of the first day, the annexation of Danzig to the Reich was announced.
The attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 was carried out with all the forces at the disposal of the Reich. It is known that such cities as Wielun, Chojnitz, Starogard and Bydgosz were subjected to massive bombardment almost simultaneously. Vilyun suffered the most severe blow, where one thousand two hundred inhabitants died that day and seventy-five percent of the buildings were destroyed. Also, many other cities were seriously damaged by fascist bombs.
The results of the outbreak of hostilities in Germany
According to the previously developed strategic plan, on September 1, 1939, an operation began to eliminate Polish aviation from the air, based on military airfields in different parts of the country. By doing this, the Germans contributed to the rapid advance of their ground forces and deprived the Poles of the opportunity to redeploy combat units by rail, as well as complete the mobilization that had begun shortly before. It is believed that on the third day of the war, Polish aviation wascompletely destroyed.
German troops developed the offensive in accordance with the plan "blitz krieg" - lightning war. On September 1, 1939, having made their perfidious invasion, the Nazis advanced deep into the country, but in many directions they met desperate resistance from the Polish units that were inferior to them in strength. But the interaction of motorized and armored units allowed them to deliver a crushing blow to the enemy. Their corps moved forward, overcoming the resistance of the Polish units, disunited and deprived of the opportunity to contact the General Staff.
Betrayal of allies
In accordance with the agreement concluded in May 1939, the Allied forces were obliged from the first days of German aggression to provide assistance to the Poles by all means available to them. But in reality it turned out quite differently. The actions of these two armies were subsequently called the "strange war." The fact is that on the day when the attack on Poland took place (September 1, 1939), the heads of both countries sent an ultimatum to the German authorities demanding to stop hostilities. Having received no positive response, French troops crossed the German border in the Saare region on September 7.
Encountering no resistance, however, instead of developing a further offensive, they considered it best for themselves not to continue the ongoing hostilities and return to their original positions. The British, in general, limited themselves only to drawing up an ultimatum. Thus, the Allies treacherously betrayed Poland, leaving her to her fate.
Meanwhile, modern researchers have the opinion thatthat in this way they missed a unique chance to stop fascist aggression and save humanity from a large-scale long-term war. For all its military power, Germany at that moment did not have sufficient forces to wage a war on three fronts. France will pay dearly for this betrayal next year, when fascist units will march through the streets of its capital.
First major battles
After a week, Warsaw was subjected to a fierce onslaught of the enemy and was, in fact, cut off from the main army units. It was attacked by the 16th Panzer Corps of the Wehrmacht. With great difficulty, the defenders of the city managed to stop the enemy. The defense of the capital began, which lasted until September 27. The ensuing surrender saved it from complete and inevitable destruction. Over the entire previous period, the Germans took the most decisive measures to capture Warsaw: in just one day on September 19, 5818 air bombs fell on it, which caused enormous damage to unique architectural monuments, not to mention people.
A major battle in those days took place on the Bzura River - one of the tributaries of the Vistula. Two Polish armies de alt a crushing blow to the parts of the 8th division of the Wehrmacht advancing on Warsaw. As a result, the Nazis were forced to go on the defensive, and only the reinforcements that arrived in time for them, providing a significant numerical superiority, changed the course of the battle. The Polish armies were unable to resist their superior forces. About one hundred and thirty thousand people were taken prisoner, and onlyfew managed to get out of the "cauldron" and break through to the capital.
An unexpected turn of events
The defensive plan was based on the belief that Great Britain and France, fulfilling their allied obligations, would take part in hostilities. It was assumed that the Polish troops, having retreated to the south-west of the country, would form a powerful defensive foothold, while the Wehrmacht would be forced to move part of the troops to new lines - for a war on two fronts. But life has made its own adjustments.
A few days later, the forces of the Red Army, in accordance with the additional secret protocol of the Soviet-German non-aggression agreement, entered Poland. The official motive for this action was to ensure the safety of Belarusians, Ukrainians and Jews living in the eastern regions of the country. However, the real result of the introduction of troops was the annexation of a number of Polish territories to the Soviet Union.
Realizing that the war was lost, the Polish high command left the country and carried out further coordination of actions from Romania, where they immigrated, crossing the border illegally. In view of the inevitability of the occupation of the country, the Polish leaders, giving preference to the Soviet troops, ordered their fellow citizens not to resist them. This was their mistake, due to their ignorance that the actions of both their opponents were carried out according to a pre-coordinated plan.
The last major battles of the Poles
Soviet troops exacerbated the already critical situationPoles. During this difficult period, two of the hardest battles of those that have been in all the time that has passed since Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939 fell to the lot of their soldiers. Only fighting on the Bzura River can be put on a par with them. Both of them, with an interval of several days, took place in the area of the city of Tomaszow Lubelski, which is now part of the Lublin Voivodeship.
The combat mission of the Poles included the forces of two armies to break through the German barrier blocking the way to Lvov. As a result of long and bloody battles, the Polish side suffered heavy losses, and more than twenty thousand Polish soldiers were captured by the Germans. As a result, Tadeusz Piskora was forced to announce the surrender of the central front he led.
The battle of Tamaszow-Lubelski, started on September 17, soon resumed with renewed vigor. The Polish troops of the Northern Front took part in it, pressed from the west by the 7th Army Corps of German General Leonhard Wecker, and from the east by units of the Red Army, operating with the Germans according to a single plan. It is quite understandable that, weakened by previous losses and deprived of contact with the combined arms leadership, the Poles could not withstand the forces of the allies attacking them.
The beginning of the guerrilla war and the creation of underground groups
By September 27, Warsaw was completely in the hands of the Germans, who managed to completely suppress the resistance of the army units in most of the territory. However, even when the whole country was occupied, the Polish command did not sign the act of surrender. The country has deployeda broad partisan movement led by career army officers who had the necessary knowledge and combat experience. In addition, even during the period of active resistance to the Nazis, the Polish command began to create an extensive underground organization called the “Service to the Victory of Poland.”
The results of the Polish campaign of the Wehrmacht
The attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 ended in its defeat and subsequent partition. Hitler planned to create a puppet state out of it with a territory within the borders of the Kingdom of Poland, which was part of Russia from 1815 to 1917. But Stalin opposed this plan, as he was an ardent opponent of any Polish state entity.
The German attack on Poland in 1939 and the subsequent complete defeat of the latter made it possible for the Soviet Union, which was an ally of Germany in those years, to annex territories of 196,000 square meters to its borders. km and thereby increase the population by 13 million people. The new border separated areas densely populated by Ukrainians and Belarusians from areas historically populated by Germans.
Speaking of the German attack on Poland in September 1939, it should be noted that the aggressive German leadership was generally able to achieve their plans. As a result of hostilities, the borders of East Prussia advanced as far as Warsaw. By decree of 1939, a number of Polish provinces with a population of more than nine and a half million people became part of the Third Reich.
Formally, only a small part of the former state, subordinated to Berlin, has been preserved. Krakow became its capital. For a long period (September 1, 1939 - September 2, 1945) Poland was practically unable to pursue any kind of independent policy.