In 1939 Britain and France Declare War on Germany starting World War II.
Adolf Hitler attempted to improve relations between Germany and Poland. With that in mind the on the 26th of January 1934 Germany and Poland signed the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact. Both nations agreed that any differences would be settled through negotiations and neither side would take up arms against another for the period of 10 years. But as with most of Hitler’s promises to foreign leaders he would not hesitate to break them in the event that they conflicted with his desires.
In September 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin met with Hitler at his Mountain top retreat. Hitler said he would invade and occupy Czechoslovakia unless Britain supported his plans to take the Czech region of Sudetenland (Sudetenland was full of German descendants and German loyalists and Hitler claimed he just wanted to unite the German people). Chamberlin discussed the situation with French leader, Edouard Daladier, and they met with Hitler on the 29th of September 1938 to sign the Munich Agreement. This Agreement said that Britain and France would support Germany’s take over of Sudetenland on the understanding that Germany makes no more attempts of expanding its borders. Predictably once Hitler had Sudetenland he continued the invasion into Czechoslovakia. Hitler also pressured the Czechoslovakia into giving Independence to Slovakia, leaving the rest (now the Czech Republic) even more defenceless. On the 15th of March 1939 Hitler’s forces invaded Czechoslovakia and by the evening Hitler made his ‘Triumphant’ entrance into the capital city of Prague. Chamberlin realised his blunder in trusting diplomacy with a man like Hitler and he now knew there would be little he could do to prevent war with such a man.
On the 31st of March 1939 Britain and France pledged their support for Poland in the event that the country was invaded. The declaration was made to Poland in the event of an invasion by any force but had been drawn up with Hitler specifically in mind. On 26th of August the ‘Polish-British Common Defence Act’ (or the Anglo-English military alliance) was signed which pushed back Hitler’s planned invasion date. But it didn’t deter Hitler entirely and on the 1st of September 1939 he invaded Poland. In response Britain and France declared War on Germany, on the 3rd of September 1939.
When Germany began its invasion of Poland between 1 of September 1939 – 6th of October 1939 Great Britain and France were preparing for possible warfare. Five German armies totalling 1.5 million troops advance on Poland on several fronts while their planes attack from the air bombing cities including the capital of Warsaw. This undeclared act of war without provocation angered the world while Britain and France prepared for war with Germany in response.
On the morning of the 3rd of September 1939 the British Ambassador to Germany, Neville Henderson, handed a communiqué to the German government stating that unless Germany gave a response declaring that they would withdraw from Poland than both Great Britain and France would be in a state of war with Germany. When the response didn’t materialise Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin addressed the UK and informed them of that they were now at war with Germany. The Royal Air Force began bombing German forces the next morning.
The Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact on the 23rd of August 1939. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (named after the two foreign ministers that signed the pact) ensured that the German’s, who were allied with Japan, would not attack Russia over the Soviet-Japanese border conflicts that had been raging since 1932. The pact also included a secret agreement which included carving up of the countries of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania for the political influence (known as “spheres of influence”) of the Nazi party and Soviet Union. True to their word the Soviet army began their own invasion of Poland which began on the 17th of September. By the 6th of October Poland had fallen and the invaders occupied the entire country.