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ON THIS DAY

ON THIS DAY

01 September 1939: Germany invades Poland. German forces have invaded Poland and its planes have bombed Polish cities, including the capital, Warsaw. The attack comes without any warning or declaration of war. Britain and France have mobilised their forces and are preparing to wage war on Germany for the second time this century. Just before dawn today, German tanks, infantry and cavalry penetrated Polish territory on several fronts with five armies, a total of 1.5 million troops. Soon afterwards German planes bombarded the cities. They have been making swift progress in penetrating Polish defences which are heavily outnumbered in artillery, infantry and air power. The cities of Katowice, Krakow, Tczew and Tunel were attacked with incendiary bombs. Air raids on Warsaw began at 0900 local time. Communications to Katowice have been broken but earlier reports said German planes were coming over in squadrons of 50, every half-hour, and there have been many casualties. The German Army struck from Slovakia, East Prussia and from Pomerania into the Polish Corridor and the port Danzig, which has declared itself part of the Reich. The 4th Army came in from East Prussia at Deutsch-Eylau supported by air raids on cities north of Warsaw. There is heavy fighting reported along the whole of the East Prussian border. Poznan was attacked from the main body of the German Reich and border towns occupied. The 8th and 10th armies are moving north-east from Silesia towards Warsaw; and the 14th Army struck from Slovakia towards Krakow. The Times newspaper reports that when the air raid sirens in the capital first sounded at 0600 inhabitants reacted calmly and some even ran out onto the streets to look up at the sky and had be driven back inside by air raid wardens. The unprovoked attack follows yesterday’s report on German radio that the
border town of Gliwice had been raided by a group of Polish soldiers, who had all been shot dead. German radio broadcast a list of “demands” never submitted to the Polish Government. The Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, held a meeting with King George today in Downing Street. Later this evening Mr Chamberlain told a packed House of Commons that British and French Ambassadors in Berlin had given German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop an ultimatum. He was to tell Berlin that unless the Nazis withdraw, Britain and France would fulfil its promise of support to Poland. Von Ribbentrop said he would refer the message to Adolf Hitler. US President Roosevelt of the United States has sent an appeal to the governments of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland urging them to announce publicly their determination not to launch air attacks on civilians. In reply the British and French governments say they intend to confine their bombing to military objectives, so long as their opponents do the same. (Source: BBC)

02 September 1945: Japan signs unconditional surrender. Japanese officials have signed the act of unconditional surrender, finally bringing to an end six years of world war. In the presence of 50 Allied generals and other officials, the Japanese envoys boarded the American battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay to sign the surrender document. Within half-an-hour of the signing, a convoy of 42 US ships entered Tokyo Bay and landed 13,000 American troops. The Supreme Commander of the Allied powers, US General Douglas MacArthur, briefly addressed the dignitaries on the deck of the battleship urging them to comply with the terms of the surrender “fully, promptly and faithfully”. He continued: “It is my earnest hope and, indeed, the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past; a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfilment of his most cherished wish, for freedom, tolerance and justice.” He also referred to the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Naga

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