( Editor’s note: Welcome to The Road to BFV which is a 3 part historical miniseries on the beginnings of the Second World War throughout the 1930s. This 3 part mini-series focuses on the Western Front and the years immediately following the end of The Great War from the year 1918 to 1939 from the German perspective. Remember to leave feedback if you would like to see more of these type of historical articles for games based on a historical timeframe. cheers.)
( Part III: 1939.)
By 1939, tensions were mounting and Nazi Germany turned to aggressive diplomacy. In April 1939, Germany withdrew from the German-Polish Non-Aggression pact of 1934 and the London Agreement of 1935. Talks broke down and months passed without any reaching out. During this period, German intelligence had learned that France and Britain failed to secure the Soviet Union in their alliance and that the Soviets was interested in allying themselves with Nazi Germany.
In August 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and with the talks in Moscow, Germany neutralized any Soviet opposition to a campaign in Poland and war became imminent. The Soviets agreed to not aid Britain or France if war would break out and in a secret pact that was within the pact, the Germans and the Soviets agreed to divide Eastern Europe into two spheres of influence.
On August 25th, 1939, the Polish signed the Polish-British Common Defense Pact was signed and within this pact, Britain pledged to go to the aid of Poland and guaranteed Polish independence. At the exact same time, the British and the Polish were hinting that they wanted to negotiate and resume discussions. However, on the night of the talks, a German sabotage group which had not heard of any delay to the invasion made an attack on the Jablunkov Pass and a railway station in Silesia and in the morning, this Sabotage group would be repelled by the Polish Army.
The next day, Germany and Hitler, himself, tried to dissuade the British and the French from interfering and the negotiations convinced Hitler that there was almost no to little chance that they would declare war on Germany. Meanwhile, the increased number of recon planes flying overhead and cross-border troops hinted that an invasion was about to come.
On August 29th, 1939, Germany offered one last diplomatic offer that it aimed to not only restore Danzig but also the Polish corridor on top of safeguarding the German population within Poland. The Germans were willing to negotiate but had indicated that a Polish representative is sent to Berlin with the power to sign an agreement. When the ambassador came to Berlin to indicate that Poland is willing to commence negotiations but he did not have the power to sign so Ribbentrop dismissed him. Hitler issued orders to invade Poland.
During the night of August 31st,1939, a false flag attack commenced at the local radio station in the city of Glewitz in Silesia by German units in disguise as Polish troops and the following day, Germany invaded Poland.
By the end of the September campaign, Poland had been split in half between Germany and the Soviet Union. Slovakia gained land that was lost a year prior, Lithuania received the city of Vilnius in October and the German military districts of Poznan and Westpreußen were established in Greater Poland and Pomerelia. In October, the German Army would later annex the western parts of Poland with all of Lithuania being moved over to the Soviet sphere of influence and the dividing line was moved over to the German sphere of influence in late September.
None of the countries that were involved in World War II expected that this would be the beginning of mankind’s greatest conflict and that this would be the beginning of another World War that would surpass The Great War in its scale and cost of human life: The Polish September Campaign and the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 would spark the beginning of World War II.
( R2BFV: The Allies will begin tomorrow. The Allies is a 3 part miniseries detailing events from the Allied perspective throughout 1940 and 1941. Remember if you want to see more of these types of historical articles, please let me know.)
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