"It's been 3 years...." (9-1-39)

Hitler’s announcement to the Reichstag
September 1, 1939, 10:12 a.m. CET

annoshow (2)

Part of the broadcast audio (RRG):

Abgeordnete, Männer des Deutschen Reichstages!

Seit Monaten leiden wir alle unter der Qual eines Problems, das uns einst das Versailler Diktat beschert hat und das nun mehr in seiner Ausartung und Entartung unerträglich geworden war.

Danzig war und ist eine deutsche Stadt Der Korridor war und ist deutsch Alle diese Gebiete verdanken ihre kulturelle Erschließung ausschließlich dem deutschen Volk, ohne daß in diesen östlichen Gebieten tiefste Barbarei herrschen würde.

Danzig wurde von uns getrennt. Der Korridor von Polen annektiert. Die dort lebenden deutschen Minderheiten in der qualvollsten Weise mißhandelt. Ober eine Million Menschen deutschen Blutes mußten schon in den Jahren 1919/20 ihre Heimat verlassen. Wie immer, so habe ich auch hier versucht, auf dem Wege friedlicher Revisionsvorschläge eine Änderung des unerträglichen Zustandes herbeizuführen. Es ist eine Lüge, wenn in der Welt behauptet wird, daß wir alle unsere Revisionen nur unter Druck durchzusetzen versuchten.

15 Jahre, bevor der Nationalsozialismus zur Macht kam, hatte man Gelegenheit, auf dem Wege friedlicher Verständigung die Revisionen durchzuführen. Man tat es nicht; in jedem einzelnen Falle habeichdann von mir aus nicht einmal, sondernoftmals Vorschläge zur Revision unerträglicher Zustände gemacht. Alle diese Vorschläge sind, wie Sie wissen, abgelehnt worden.

Ich brauche sie nicht im einzelnen aufzuzählen: Die Vorschläge für Rüstungsbegrenzung, ja wenn notwendig, zur Rüstungsbeseitigung, die Vorschläge für Beschränkung der Kriegsführung, die Vorschläge zur Ausschaltung von in meinen Augen mit dem Völkerrecht schwer zu vereinbarenden Methoden der modernen Kriegsführung. Sie kennen die Vorschläge, die ich über die Notwendigkeit der Wiederherstellung der deutschen Souveränität über die deutschen Reichsgebiete machte, die endlosen Versuche, die ich zu einer friedlichen Verständigung über das Problem Österreich unternahm und später über das Problem Sudetenland, Böhmen und Mähren. Es war alles vergeblich.

Eines aber ist unmöglich, zu verlangen, daß ein unerträglicher Zustand auf dem Wege friedlicher Revision bereinigt wird – um dann die friedliche Revision zu verweigern.

Es ist auch unmöglich zu behaupten, daß derjenige, der in einer solchen Lage dazu übergeht, von sich aus diese Revisionen vorzunehmcn, gegen ein Gesetz verstößt.

Das Diktat von Versailles ist für uns Deutsche kein Gesetz!

Es geht nicht an, von jemand mit vorgehaltener Pistole und der Drohung des Verhungerns von Millionen Menschen eine Unterschrift zu erpressen und dann das Dokument mit dieser erpreßten Unterschrift als ein feierliches Gesetz zu proklamieren!

So habe ich auch im Falle Danzigs und des Korridors versucht, durch friedliche Vorschläge auf dem Wege der Revision die Probleme zu lösen. Daß sie gelöst werden mußten, das war klar!

Und daß der Termin dieser Lösung für die westlichen Staaten vielleicht uninteressant sein kann, ist begreiflich. Aber uns ist dieser Termin nicht gleichgültig. Vor allem aber war und konnte er nicht gleichgültig sein für die leidenden Opfer.

Ich habe die Besprechungen mit polnischen Staatsmännern die Gedanken, die sie von mir hier in meiner letzten Reichstagsrede vernommen haben, erörtert. Kein Mensch kann behaupten, daß dies ein ungebührliches Verfahren oder gar ein ungebührlicher Druck gewesen sei.

Ich habe dann die deutschen Vorschläge formulieren lassen, und ich muß es noch einmal wiederholen, daß es etwas Loyaleres und Bescheideneres als diese von mir unterbreiteten Vorschläge nicht gibt, und ich möchte das jetzt der Welt sagen: ich allein war überhaupt nur in der Lage, solche Vorschläge zu machen! Denn ich weiß ganz genau, daß ich mich damals mit der Auffassung von Millionen von Deutschen im Gegensatz befunden habe. Diese Vorschläge sind abgelehnt worden.

Aber nicht nur das. Sie wurden beantwortet mit Mobilmachungen, mit verstärktem Terror, mit gesteigertem Druck auf die Volksdeutschen in diesen Gebieten und mit einem langsamen wirtschaftlichen, politischen und in den letzten Wochen endlich auch militärischen und verkehrstechnischen Drosselungskampf gegen die Freie Stadt Danzig. Polen hat den Kampf gegen die Freie Stadt Danzig entfesselt. Es war weiter nicht bereit, die Korridorfrage in einer irgendwie billigen und den Interessen beider gerecht werdenden Weise zu lösen. Und es hat endlich nicht daran gedacht, seine Minderheitenverpslichtungen einzuhalten.

Ich muß hier feststellen: Deutschland hat diese Verpflichtungen eingehalten. Die Minderheiten, die im Deutschen Reich leben, werden nicht verfolgt. Es soll ein Franzose aufstehen und erklären, daß etwa die im Saargebiet lebenden Franzosen unterdrückt, gequält und entrechtet werden. Keiner wird dies behaupten können.

Ich habe nun dieser Entwicklung vier Monate lang ruhig zugesehen, allerdings nicht, ohne immer wieder zu warnen. Ich habe in letzter Zeit diese Warnungen verstärkt. Ich habe dem polnischen Botschafter vor nun schon über drei Wochen Mitteilen lassen, daß, wenn Polen noch weitere ultimative Noten an Danzig schicken würde, wenn es weitere Unterdrückungsmaßnahmen gegen das Deutschtum vornehmen würde, oder wenn es versuchen sollte, auf dem Wege zollpolitischer Maßnahmen Danzig wirtschaftlich zu vernichten, dann Deutschland nicht länger mehr untätig zusehen könnte.

Ich habe keinen Zweifel darüber gelassen, daß man in dieser Hinsicht das Heutige Deutschland nicht mit dem Deutschland, das vor uns war, verwechseln darf.

Man hat versucht, das Vorgehen gegen die Volksdeutschen damit zu entschuldigen, daß man erklärte, sie hätten Provokationen begangen. Ich weiß nicht, worin die „Provokationen“ der Kinder oder Frauen bestanden haben sollen, die man mißhandelt und verschleppt oder die „Provokationen“ derer, die man in der tierischsten, sadistischsten Weise gequält und schließlich getötet hat.

Eines aber weiß ich: daß es keine Großmacht von Ehre gibt, die auf die Dauer solchen Zuständen ruhig zusehen würde.

Meine Friedensliebe und meine endlose Langmut soll man nicht mit Schwäche oder gar mit Feigheit verwechseln. Ich habe daher gestern abend der britischen Regierung mitgeteilt, daß ich unter diesen Umständen auf seiten der polnischen Regierung keine geneigtheit mehr finden kann, mit uns in ein wirklich ernstes Gespräch einzutreten.

Ich habe trotzdem noch einen letzten Versuch gemacht! Obwohl ich innerlich überzeugt war, daß es der polnischen Regierung – vielleicht auch infolge ihrer Abhängigkeit von einer nunmehr entfesselten, wilden Soldateska – mit einer wirklichen Verständigung nicht Ernst ist, habe ich einen Vermittlungsvorschlag der britischen Regierung angenommen. Sie schlug vor, daß ich nicht selbst Verhandlungen führen sollte, sondern versicherte, eine direkte Verbindung zwischen Polen und Deutschland herzustellen, um noch einmal in das Gespräch zu kommen.

Ich muß hier folgendes feststellen: Ich habe diesen Vorschlag angenommen. Ich habe für diese Besprechungen Grundlagen ausgearbeitet, die Ihnen bekannt find.

Und ich bin dann mit meiner Regierung zwei volle Tage gesessen und habe gewartet, ob es der polnischen Regierung paßt, nun endlich einen Bevollmächtigten zu schicken oder nicht.

Sie hat uns bis gestern abend keinen Bevollmächtigten geschickt, sondern durch ihren Botschafter Mitteilen lassen, daß sie zur Zeit erwäge, ob und wie weit sie in der Lage sei, auf die englischen Vorschläge einzugehen, sie würde dies England mitteilen.

Meine Herren Abgeordneten!

Wenn man dem Deutschen Reich und seinem Staatsoberhaupt so etwas zumuten kann, und das Deutsche Reich und sein Staatsoberhaupt das dulden würden, dann würde die deutsche Nation nichts anderes verdienen, als von der politischen Bühne abzutreten.

Damit sind diese Bermittlungsvorschläge gescheitert, denn unterdes war als Antwort auf diesen Vermittlungsvorschlag erstens die polnische Generalmobilmachung gekommen und zweitens neue schwere Ereueltaten. Diese Vorgänge haben sich nun heute nachts abermals wiederholt. Nachdem schon neulich in einer einzigen Nacht 21 Erenzzwischenfälle zu verzeichnen waren, sind es heute nacht 14 gewesen. Darunter drei ganz schwere.

Ich habe mich daher nun entschlossen, mit Polen in der gleichen Sprachezureden, die Polen seit Monaten uns gegenüber anwendet.

Wenn nun Staatsmänner im Westen erklären, daß dies ihre Interessen berühre, so kann ich eine solche Erklärung nur bedauern, sie kann mich aber nicht eine Sekunde in der Erfüllung meiner Pflicht wankend machen. Ich habe es feierlich versichert, und wiederhole es, daß wir von diesen Weststaaten nichts fordern und nie etwas fordern werden. Ich habe versichert, daß die Grenze zwischen Frankreich und Deutschland eine endgültige ist. Ich habe England immer wieder eine Freudschaft und, wenn notwendig, das engste Zusammengehen angeboten. Aber Liebe kann nicht nur von einer Seite geboten werden, sie muß von der anderen ihre Erwiderung finden. Deutschland hat keine Interessen im Westen, unser Westwall ist zugleich für alle Zeiten die Grenze des Reiches. Wir haben dort auch keinerlei Ziele für die Zukunft, und diese Einstellung des Reiches wird sich nicht mehr ändern.

Die anderen europäischen Staaten begreifen zum Teil unsere Haltung. Ich möchte hier vor allem Italien danken, das uns in dieser ganzen Zeit unterstützt hat. Sie werden aber auch verstehen, daß wir für die Durchführung dieses Kampfes nicht an eine fremde Hilfe appellieren wollen. Wir werden diese unsere Aufgabe selber lösen.

Die neutralen Staaten haben uns ihre Neutralität versichert, genau so, wie wir sie ihnen schon vorher garantierten. Es ist uns heiliger Ernst mit dieser Versicherung, und so lange kein anderer ihre Neutralität bricht, werden wir sie ebenfalls peinlichst beachten. Denn was sollten wir von ihnen wünschen oder wollen?

Ich bin glücklich. Ihnen nun von dieser Stelle aus ein besonderes Ereignis Mitteilen zu können. Sie wissen, daß Rußland und Deutschland von zwei verschiedenen Doktrinen regiert werden.

Es war nur eine Frage, die geklärt werden mußte: Deutschland hat nicht die Absicht, seine Doktrin zu exportieren und in dem Augenblick, in dem Sowjetrußland seine Doktrin nicht nach Deutschland zu exportieren gedenkt, sehe ich keine Veranlassung mehr, daß wir auch nur noch einmal gegeneinander Stellung nehmen sollen. Wir sind uns beide darüber klar: jeder Kampf unserer Völker gegeneinander würde nur anderen einen Nutzen abwerfen.

Daher haben wir uns entschlossen, einen Pakt abzuschließen, der zwischen uns beiden füralle Zukunft jede Gewaltanwendung ausschließt, der uns in gewissen europäischen Fragen zur Konsultierung verpflichtet, der das wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeiten ermöglicht und vor allem sicherstellt, daß sich die Kräfte dieser beiden großen Staaten nicht gegeneinander verbrauchen. Jeder Versuch des Westens, hier etwas zu ändern, wird sehlschlagen. Und ich möchte das eine hier versichern:

Diese politische Entscheidung bedeutet eine ungeheure Wende für die Zukunftundist eine endgültige.

Ich glaube, das ganze deutsche Volk wird diese politische Einstellung begrüßen.

Rußland und Deutschland haben im Weltkrieg gegeneinander gekämpft und waren beide letzten Endes die Leidtragenden. Ein zweites Mal soll das nicht mehr geschehen! Der Nichtangriffs- und Konsultativpakt, der am Tage seiner Unterzeichnung bereits gültig wurde, hat gestern die höchste Ratifikation in Moskau und auch in Berlin erfahren. In Moskau wurde dieser Pakt genau so begrüßt, wie Sie ihn hier begrüßen.

Die Rede, die der russische Außenkommissar Molotow hielt, kann ich Wort für Wort unterschreiben.

Unsere Ziele:

Ich bin entschlossen:

  1. Die Frage Danzig,
  2. die Frage des Korridors zu lösen und
  3. dafür zu sorgen, daß im Verhältnis Deutschland zu Polen eine Wendung eintritt, die ein friedliches Zusammenleben sicherstellt.

Ich bin darum entschlossen, so lange zu kämpfen, bis entweder die derzeitige polnische Regierung dazu geneigt ist, diese Änderung herzustellen oder bis eine andere polnische Regierung dazu bereit ist.

Ich will von den deutschen Grenzen das Element der Unsicherheit, die Atmosphäre ewiger, bürgerkriegsähnlicher Zustände, entfernen. Ich will dafür sorgen, daß im Osten der Friede an der Grenze kein anderer ist, als wir ihn an unseren anderen Grenzen kennen.

Ich will dabei die notwendigen Handlungen so vornehmen, daß sie nicht dem widersprechen, was ich Ihnen hier, meine Herren Abgeordneten, im Reichstag selbst als Vorschläge an die übrige Welt bekannt gab.

Das heißt, ich will nicht den Kamps gegen Frauen und Kinder führen. Ich habe meiner Luftwaffe den Auftrag gegeben, sich bei den Angriffen auf militärische Objekte zu beschränken. Wenn aber der Gegner glaubt, daraus einen Freibrief ablesen zu können, seinerseits mit umgekehrten Methoden zu kämpfen, dann wird er eine Antwort erhalten, daß ihm Hören und Sehen vergeht.

Polen hat nun heute Nacht zum erstenmal auf unserem eigenen Territorium auch durch reguläre Soldaten geschossen. Seit 5,45 Uhr wird jetzt zurückgeschossen. Und von jetzt ab wird Bombe mit Bombe vergolten.

Wermit Giftkämpft, wird mit Giftgas bekämpft. Wer sich selbst von den Regeln einer humanen Kriegsführung entfernt, kann von uns nichts anderes erwarten, als daß wir den gleichen Schritt tun.

Ich werde diesen Kampf, ganz gleich gegen wen, so lange führen, bis die Sicherheit des Reiches und seine Rechte gewährleistet sind.

Über sechs Jahre habe ich nun am Aufbau der deutschen Wehrmacht gearbeitet. In dieser Zeit sind über 98 Milliarden für den Aufbau unserer Wehrmacht aufgewendet worden. Sie ist heute die am besten ausgerüstete der Welt und steht weit über jedem Vergleich mit der des Jahres 1914.

Mein Vertrauen auf sie ist unerschütterlich.

Wenn ich die Wehrmacht aufrief und wenn ich nun vom deutschen Volk Opfer, und wenn notwendig alle Opfer fordere, dann habe ich ein Recht dazu, denn auch ich selbst bin heute genau so bereit, wie ich es früher war, jedes persönliche Opfer zu bringen.

Ich verlange von keinem deutschen Mann etwas anders, als was ich selber über vier Jahre lang bereit war, jederzeit zu tun.

Es soll keine Entbehrungen Deutscher geben, die ich nicht selber sofort übernehme.

Mein ganzes Leben gehört von jetzt ab erst recht meinem Volke. Ich will jetzt nichts anderes sein als der erste Soldat des Deutschen Reiches.

Ich habe damit wieder jenen Rock angezogen, der mir selb st der heiligste und teuerste war. Ich werde ihn nur ausziehen nach dem Sieg oder – ich werde dieses Ende nicht erleben.

Sollte mir in diesem Kampf etwas zustohen, dann ist mein erster Nachfolger Parteigenosse Göring. Sollte Parteigenossen Göring etwas zustoben, ist sein Nachfolger Parteigenosse Heß.

Sie würden diesen dann als Führer genau so zu blinder Treue und Gehorsam verpflichtet sein wie mir. Für den Fall, daß auch Parteigenossen Heß etwas zustoßen sollte, werde ich durch Gesetz nunmehr den Senat berufen, der dann den Würdigsten, das heißt den Tapfersten aus seiner Mitte wählen soll.

Als Nationalsozialist und deutscher Soldat gehe ich in diesen Kampf mit einem starken Herzen. Mein ganzes Leben war nichts anderes als ein einziger Kampf für mein Volk, für seine Wiederauferstehung, für Deutschland und über diesem Kampf stand nur ein Bekenntnis: Der Glaube an dieses Volk.

Ein Wort habe ich nie kennengelernt, es heißt: Kapitulation.

Wenn irgend jemand aber meint, daß wir vielleicht einer schweren Zeit entgegengehen, so möchte ich bitten zu bedenken, daß einst ein Preußenkönig mit einem lächerlich kleinen Stab einer der größten Koalitionen gegenübertrat und in drei Kämpfen am Ende doch erfolgreich bestand, weil er jenes gläubige starke Herz besaß, das auch wir in dieser Zeit benötigen.

Der Umwelt aber möchte ich versichern: Ein November 1918 wird sich niemals mehr in der deutschen Geschichte wiederholen.

So wie ich selber bereit bin, jederzeit mein Leben für mein Volk und für Deutschland einzusetzen, so verlange ich dasselbe auch von jedem anderen.

Wer aber glaubt, sich diesem nationalen Gebot, sei es direkt oder indirekt, widersetzen zu können, der fällt. Verräter haben nichts mit uns zu tun.

Wir alle bekennen uns damit nur zu unserem alten Grundsatz: Es ist gänzlich unwichtig, ob wir leben, aber notwendig ist es, daß unser Volk, daß Deutschland lebt.

Ich erwarte von Ihnen als den Sendboten des Reiches, daß Sie nunmehr auf allen Plätzen, auf die Sie gestellt sind, Ihre Pflicht erfüllen! Sie müssen Bannerträger sein des Widerstandes, koste es, was es wolle.

Keiner melde mir, daß in seinem Gau, in seinem Kreis oder in seiner Gruppe oder in seiner Zelle die Stimmung einmal schlecht sein könnte. Träger, verantwortliche Träger der Stimmung sind Sie. Ich bin verantwortlich für die Stimmung im deutschen Volk, Sie sind verantwortlich für die Stimmung in ihren Gauen, in ihren Kreisen. Keiner hat das Recht, diese Verantwortung abzutreten. Das Opfer, das von uns verlangt wird, ist nicht größer als das Opfer, das zahlreiche Generationen gebracht haben. Alle die Männer, die vor uns den bittersten und schwersten Weg für Deutschland antreten mußten, haben nichts anderes geleistet, als was wir auch zu leisten haben; ihr Opfer war kein billigeres und kein schmerzloseres und damit kein leichteres, als das Opfer sein würde, das von uns verlangt wird.

Ich erwarte auch von der deutschen Frau, daß sie sich in eiserner Disziplin vorbildlich in diese große Kampfgemeinschafteinfügt.

Die deutsche Jugend aber wird strahlenden Herzens ohnehin erfüllen, was die Nation, der nationalsozialistische Staat von ihr erwartet und fordert.

Wenn wir diese Gemeinschaft bilden, eng verschworen, zu allem entschlossen, niemals gewillt zu kapitulieren, dann wird unser Wille jeder Not Herr werden.

Ich schließe mit dem Bekenntnis, das ich einst aussprach, als ich den Kampf um die Macht im Reich begann. Damals sagte ich:

Wenn unser Wille so stark ist, daß keine Not ihn mehr zu zwingen vermag, dann wird unser Willeundunser deutscher Stahlauch die Not zertreten und besiegen.

Deutschland Sieg-Heil!

BBC broadcasts on the invasion of Poland:

Segment of CBS broadcast of Hitler’s announcement:

Radio Warsaw report on the German invasion (PPR):

Ignace Paderewski on the situation in Poland:

Polish Ambassador to the United States on war with Germany:

Former President Herbert Hoover speaks at the outset of the war:

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The Pittsburgh Press (September 1, 1939)

GERMANY INVADES POLAND, CITIES, AIRPORTS BOMBED
Britain: Withdraw troops or we fight

Nazi armies advance on all fronts but meet enemy resistance
By Edward W. Beattie Jr., United Press staff writer

Warsaw, Poland –
German planes bombed Warsaw and other Polish cities today, and Nazi troops smashed across the border in offensives all the way from the southern (Slovak) frontier to the Baltic Sea.

German troops are advancing on all fronts and are meeting Polish resistance.

Ignacy Mościcki, President of Poland, proclaimed a state of war. It was stressed that the proclamation was in nowise a declaration of war, and that Polish military activity is being confined to the defensive.

It was announced officially here that the bombed cities were – besides Warsaw – Kraków, Gdynia, the Katowice Airport, Vilna, Łódź, Częstochowa, Tczew and one other town. All the raids occurred this morning.

An Exchange Telegraph report to London from Warsaw said many persons were killed and injured in the Tczew bombing, which destroyed the railroad station and other buildings.

Official Polish announcements varied decidedly from communiqués being issued at the German War Office in Berlin. The Germans claimed, among other things, that in addition to the nine cities which the Poles admitted had been bombed, these other cities were attacked from the air: Lwów, Grudziądz, Posen, Bromberg, Ramel and Putzig. The German communiqué said that Nazi planes have “won supremacy in Polish territory” and that airfields and other military objectives in the cities named had been destroyed. Poland made no mention of these attacks.

The Germans also claimed, without Polish confirmation, that German warships had bombarded Gdynia from the Baltic.

All the bombs and shells aimed at Gdynia, the Poles said, dropped into the sea and did no harm. Warsaw insisted that all the raids were of light character, and seemed intended more as a warning than anything else.

Twice after the first raid on Warsaw, warning sirens screamed again, and each time, anti-aircraft guns started firing skyward at planes they couldn’t see. The first time this happened, it was apparently a false alarm, for no planes were heard or seen. The second time, there was an unmistakable drone of planes and the heavy thud of anti-aircraft guns was heard to the west of the city. But planes were not seen this time either, and it was announced that “they were driven off.”

Polish officials feared more raids tonight.

The biggest German land offensive is apparently in Polish Upper Silesia. The greatest drive had been expected there because of Upper Silesia’s industrial importance and also to cut off southeastern Poland, which would be the most effective way of blocking war materials from Romania.

It was announced officially that other offensives are in progress toward Częstochowa, north of Katowice; toward Działdowo and Mława, near the East Prussian border, and toward Ciechanów, south of Mława.

The Poles not only say these attacks are being resisted; they also claim the Germans are being “repulsed” on all but one sector. At Częstochowa, the Poles admit that many persons have been killed by German aerial and artillery bombardment. “Severe hostilities” were reported from that district.

Ciechanów is not more than 50 miles north of Warsaw, but the Poles do not expect a big offensive to originate in East Prussia because the garrison there is believed to be too weak.

Polish officials emphasized constantly that Poland was not attacking. The emphasis was due to the fact that in Berlin, it was being reported that Polish artillery bombarded the railway station at Beuthen, Germany (just across the border near the Corridor), with 75mm guns, and that Polish planes dropped bombs on a residential area of Beuthen. The Berlin report stated the Polish shells and bombs did no harm at all.

During the air raid on Warsaw, residents of the capital got their first chance to use the new and hastily-constructed air-raid trenches, dug in all parts of the city by women last week. Hardly had the “all-clear” signal come when crews of boys and girls were on the way to spots where new trenches are to be dug, or to existing ones which will be widened and deepened to hold more people.

Immediately after the first, and real raid, the Foreign Office charged Germany with aggression, announcing:

Shortly after 7 a.m. (2 a.m. EDT), Germans started military action at different points on the frontier. This undoubtedly is German aggression against Poland. Military action is now developing.

Warsaw itself was bombed at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT).

In his proclamation, President Mościcki said:

During the night, our age-long enemy again opened operations against the Polish state. In this historic hour, I address myself to all the country’s citizens with the deep conviction that the entire nation will rally around the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in order to defend its liberty, independence and honor and will give a worthy response to the aggressor, as it has done many times in the history of Polish-German relations.

‘Nation blessed by God’

The entire nation is blessed by God in the struggle for its holy and righteous cause and in union with the army, will march in close ranks to the fight and to complete victory.

This was a domestic measure designed to put wartime regulations into effect. Poland will probably seek to avoid an outright declaration of war in order to avoid handicaps which might then be imposed on the nation by the United States Neutrality Act.

Required under law

The proclamation was required by the Polish Constitution in order to put the nation fully on a wartime basis.

The United States Embassy meanwhile urged all Americans who telephoned for advice to go as quickly as possible to Riga, Latvia. The Embassy telegraphed to the legation there to ask the Latvian government to admit Americans without visas to save time. Transportation to Riga was difficult, however, because of railroad restrictions.

Detonations heard

Private sources here said heavy fighting was underway at Chojnice, on the northwestern border.

The Warsaw bombardment began when heavy detonations were heard outside the city. Some of them were the detonations of anti-aircraft guns.

The explosions were almost continuous.

Then, over the city proper, the drone of the big planes was heard.

In another moment, there was a terrific explosion near the central railroad station. Anti-aircraft guns were blasting the sky and clouds were visibly breaking up.

Couldn’t see targets

The anti-aircraft gunners obviously could not see the planes when they began the constant fire.

People by the thousands stood immobile in doorways and leaned out windows, silently looking at the sky, or else running for cover.

There were two indications of the extent of casualties. An official announcement said five Warsaw residents were wounded, but in a phone call to the American Embassy, an American citizen said he saw a bomb hit a house, killing two Poles.

The Poles claimed one German bomber was shot down 18 miles from Warsaw. This was not confirmed.

As the raid began, crowds were hurrying to work through a fine rain. A long blast of air-raid sirens was the first warning.

When I heard it, I looked from the window of my hotel down onto Piłsudski Square on which the Foreign Office and General Staff offices are located. First to catch my eye was a family of peasants deserting their farm cart to run into a building.

The sirens drowned out all other noises.

People were running along the sidewalks, ducking into the nearest large buildings.

Several cyclists hurried along near the curbing.

Some pedestrians adjusted gas masks as they ran.

Soon the streets were almost deserted. A few official cars sped across the square.

Rain continues to fall

The screech of the sirens abated. Rain continued to fall from low-hanging clouds. Visibility was slight. Shops that had opened early were being shuttered again. An ambulance raced across the square.

Further up the street stood abandoned horse carts, buses and trams. Policemen on the four corners of the square hustled straggling pedestrians into buildings.

A large pharmacy which had been opened early, then closed, was reopened again to make medical supplies available.

Then, the drone of airplanes could be heard faintly. They were above the clouds.

The peasants who had deserted the cart a few minutes earlier ran out of a building and turned the horse backward in the shafts of the cart, so he would not run away. They attached a feed bag over his nose, then ran back into the building.

Some stand, watch

A large red bus stopped on the other side of the square. It was filled with office workers. The conductor ordered them to leave the bus and go into the basement of the general staff building.

A few people took refuge beside the grave of the Unknown Soldier under a colonnade.

Some were standing in doorways to see what happened.

Three streetcars rumbled into the square and stopped. A coachman sprang from an old horse-drawn taxicab and fled for shelter. An old Jew with a long beard crossed the square and disappeared into a side street. He wore a cap and carried a sack that looked like it contained potatoes.

Suddenly city is quiet

Suddenly the city became quiet.

Only two or three pedestrians were in view.

Then a truckload of soldiers, an anti-aircraft squad, reached the square and took up its station.

A gas squad of the Anti-Aircraft League passed. These cars bear yellow tags and their crews wear yellow armbands, as distinguished from firefighting squads, which wear yellow and blue armbands.

The drone of the airplanes was now louder. Clouds began to break, but no airplanes were in sight.

Then there were heavy distant explosions.

The drone of airplanes faded for a few minutes, and there was absolute quiet, but the “all-clear” signal was not given.

Then drone resumes

Then suddenly the drone resumed, louder this time, nearer.

It was still impossible to see the planes, however, or ascertain whether they were the raiders returning or Polish planes rising to fight them.

Our hotel windows were open and we rushed out onto the gallery to see if we could see the planes. The hotel manager told us to keep the windows closed. He said the penalty for opening them was two years imprisonment.

Explosions were almost constant for about 15 minutes.

The drone of the planes faded again, and people began venturing from doorways.

Some scurried in the direction of their homes.

Others casually resumed their ways to work and shop.

I believe it is relatively safe here in Warsaw, concentrated as we are beneath several floors of masonry, unless there should be a direct hit by a heavy bomb.

Everybody is cheerful.

In an adjacent courtyard, a music box is playing tinnily as I write this dispatch.

The Polish island, Westerplatte, in Danzig Harbor, which has a munitions dump, meanwhile was reported sending signals indicating that it was being attacked. Later this was confirmed.

In London, the Polish Embassy said the Westerplatte attack was repulsed. An Embassy official said:

I think the attacks on Westerplatte were made by the Danzig Nazi forces but they were without effect.

He also said that bombed Polish cities were taken completely unawares. He said:

Nobody supposed there was a war. Without any declaration of war, they bombed our cities.

He pointed out that there are heavy Polish batteries in the Hel Peninsula at the entrance of the bay of Danzig. He said:

We can open fire on Danzig, which is well within our range.

Every able-bodied man in Poland between the ages of 18 and 40 was under arms. Poland has an army of four million men, and although it has less armaments than Germany, it had more men in the field today, strangely, and there were plenty of rifles and bullets for all.

Morale is high

Moreover, Polish morale has never been so high and there are millions more men beyond 40, capable and willing to fight.

The army is almost fully mobilized and spread out along the full length of the German and Slovak borders; cities are streaked with newly-dug air-raid trench shelters; Gdynia Harbor at the mouth of the Gulf of Danzig is mined, and – to the limit of its ability – the country is ready to withstand any onslaught.

The Polish Foreign Office refused all comment. But semi-officially, and typical of comment in the streets, the government radio station, referring to Adolf Hitler’s 16-point plan for settling his claims on Danzig and the Polish Corridor, said last night before the bombings:

In this cynical fashion, the imperialistic plans of modern Huns are revealed before the entire world – Huns who spare no international law or morals. In the light of these demands, we are first to conceive how necessary were Poland’s military measures taken yesterday [mobilization].

Foreigners confused

Foreigners attempting to leave Warsaw were thrown into confusion by the air raid. Permission to travel was extremely difficult to get because all officials were occupied with mobilization work. And newly mobilized reserves were swamping the railroads.

An official spokesman said he had “partially confirmed” reports of complete chaos in Danzig. These reports, published by Kurier Poranny, government party newspaper, said the crowds were demonstrating against Hitler; that signs had been hung out saying, “We do not want to return to the Reich;” that jewelry stores had been robbed and that the uproar had been the cause of Albert Forster’s flight to Berlin. He is the Danzig Nazi leader.

These assertions could not be confirmed from any other source.

The newspaper closed with a sentence reminiscent of declarations by the German press before German troops marched into Czechoslovakia. It was:

Everything seems to show that the [Danzig] Senate is no longer master of the situation.

All official reports said the Danzig Nazis had confiscated about 40 barge loads of goods, bound to Poland down the Vistula River.

Warsaw was “blacked out” throughout the night, except for a few dim lights at important intersections, which could be turned off instantly from a central control. Civilians and soldiers carried gas masks.

Relics of the World War appeared in the streets – trucks with “VIA” painted on their sides in English letters. They were United States Army trucks, left behind after the World War, and resurrected for the emergency. Poland has 1,000 of them.

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BULLETINS!

London, England –
The House of Commons without a record vote tonight approved a war credit of £500 million (roughly $2,250,000,000).

London, England –
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced tonight that the government would introduce a bill in Parliament making the military service age 18-41 years.

Paris, France –
A new order for the evacuation of Paris was issued by the government tonight.

Le Havre, France –
The French liner Île de France, which has been scheduled to sail for New York at noon today, remained at the dockside tonight.

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Chamberlain ready to call envoy home

Claims Nazis turned down offer of Poland to negotiate
By Webb Miller, United Press staff writer

London, England –
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain warned Germany tonight in a statement to the House of Commons to withdraw the Reich troops which have invaded Polish soil or face military action by Great Britain.

Britain, the Prime Minister said, will stand unhesitatingly behind her military obligations to aid Poland in case of aggression.

Mr. Chamberlain made his statement as German troops invaded Poland and German planes were reported bombing Polish cities.

The Prime Minister laid the blame for the invasion of Poland on Germany, declaring that Poland had offered to negotiate the dispute and had been turned down.

Mr. Chamberlain said both Great Britain and France had instructed their ambassadors at Berlin to ask for their passports unless German forces withdraw from Polish soil.

In this connection, Mr. Chamberlain said the 16 points published in Berlin yesterday as having been transmitted to Great Britain, were unknown to him until he heard them in a radio broadcast.

When the Nazi armies began their attack on Poland, he said, Great Britain was still waiting for Germany to advise her of the terms on which Hitler wanted to conduct negotiations.

But now, Mr. Chamberlain went on, Great Britain has made “crystal clear” to Hitler she will oppose force with force. He indicated the British Ambassador in Berlin had again advised the German government of this position.

Mr. Chamberlain said that while the Nazi government exists in Germany and continues to pursue its methods, there can be no peace in Europe and:

…we are resolved that those methods must come to an end.

Before Mr. Chamberlain made his statement to Parliament, Poland had invoked the clause of her treaties with Britain and France, calling for their aid in case Poland is the victim of aggression.

Britain, Mr. Chamberlain said, has instructed its ambassador to Berlin to ask for his passport unless German troops are withdrawn from Polish soil.

The Prime Minister indicated the temper of the British government by announcing a bill would be introduced making military service ages 18 to 41, which would vastly increase the heavy forces already called out under a general mobilization order signed by the King today.

Mr. Chamberlain pointed out in connection with Germany’s announcement yesterday that the Poles had rejected Hitler’s 16 points, that these points were not only rejected but had never been communicated to the Poles by Germany.

He said that when Great Britain suggested that the German proposals be handed to the Polish Ambassador at Berlin, Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop replied in the angriest terms to the British Ambassador that he would never ask the Polish envoy to visit him.

The Prime Minister said that in one interview which the British Ambassador Sir Nevile Henderson had with von Ribbentrop, the German Minister, had read a long document aloud, but had failed to give Britain a copy of it. When the Ambassador asked for a copy, von Ribbentrop said it was now too late.

Mr. Chamberlain said the desire of Great Britain to aid negotiations between Germany and Poland had been made perfectly clear in the white paper which the British government published tonight, and which contained the messages exchanged between London and Berlin.

One of these messages, the Prime Minister asserted showed that a final showdown might have been avoided if there had been a desire on the part of Hitler to reach a solution.

Earlier, King George, meeting with his Privy Council, signed an order in council ordering complete mobilization of the Army, Navy and Air Force, formalizing the decision to mobilize taken by the government yesterday.

It was reported that Parliament would be asked to approve extraordinary “war credits” tonight.

At the German Embassy, there was great activity. Smoke curling from the chimney indicated secret papers were being burned. Taxicabs carrying luggage of staff members living elsewhere arrived. The embassy counsellor visited the Foreign Office.

The Ministers of the defense departments, War, Navy and Air Force and others met at 10 a.m. (5 a.m. EDT).

The Cabinet met at 11:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. EDT). Then adjourned after a meeting of one hour and 50 minutes.

News of Germany’s sudden action against Poland had come as a horrifying shock, but the country had been prepared for it. Britain was now the guarantor of Poland. It had never guaranteed Austria or Czechoslovakia.

The British-Polish Treaty calls for British aid if Poland, believing its independence threatened, because of an attack direct or indirect, invokes it.

Polish Ambassador Raczyński, acting on instructions from his government, told Lord Halifax that German troops had crossed the frontier and attacked at four points early this morning and that German planes had bombed a number of Polish towns.

He said that Vilna, Katowice, Kraków, Tczew and Łódź were bombed, and that then at 9 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT), Warsaw was bombed.

British war declaration near

Mr. Raczyński told Lord Halifax, it was said, that the Polish government considered these as acts of flagrant aggression which in Poland’s opinion brought into operation the Anglo-Polish Treaty of Alliance.

Lord Halifax was reported to have replied he felt no doubt but that the Polish interpretation of the treaty was right.

This statement meant, if the Polish official informant was correct, that the treaty was now operative and that Britain’s entrance into war on the side of Poland was only a formality which might occur when Parliament met.

The British official shortwave broadcast said today the King motored to 10 Downing St. to see Prime Minister Chamberlain, an unprecedented act.

The broadcast quoted President Roosevelt as saying in Washington he believed the United States could stay out of war. It added that Indian rulers, sheiks and other colonial potentates had given repeated assurances they would support Britain.

The evacuation of children, women and handicapped persons from British cities to places of safety in the country was proceeding on schedule, the broadcast continued.

The broadcast said distribution of civilian respirators was being completed and that blackout regulations would be effective at sunset tonight.

Authorities ordered the air-raid warning system into full operation at once. Sounding of factory sirens for any purpose other than an air alarm was forbidden.

Churchill slated for Cabinet

Winston Churchill called at 10 Downing St. during the afternoon. Mr. Churchill, former First Lord of the Admiralty, has been scheduled for inclusion in a “war” Cabinet.

A comment frequently heard in the streets was:

What’s America going to do?

A crowd of several hundred at 10 Downing St. watched the arrival and departure of statesmen without comment.

Hundreds expressed their feelings by going to the central recruiting office where the steady stream of applicants forced the office to augment its staffs.

Call for volunteers

Meanwhile, a mobile army recruiting car toured London docks, enlisting experienced cargo workers, and the London Civil Defense headquarters issued a call for volunteers to fill sandbags and join stretcher parties.

Authorities warned the public it must be prepared for a blackout.

Meanwhile, taxicabs carrying luggage of members of the German Embassy staff who live elsewhere arrived at the Embassy.

The Duke of Windsor plans to return immediately to England from France, the well-informed Londoner’s Dairy, published in The Evening Standard, said today.

It was said that in all probability, his Duchess, the former Wallis Warfield Simpson, will accompany him. It is likely the Duke will be given a post in connection with national defense, the Diary said.

As the news of fighting and of Hitler’s declaration reuniting Danzig with the Reich rang over Europe’s radios, the following estimate of the developments was given here:

This warm and sunny day found the first contingent of 3 million children, mothers, expectant mothers, blind people and cripples starting to leave London and all key industrial and naval towns. Nine main arteries leading out of London had been made one-way outward streets for evacuation by road of others who desired to seek safety from air bombs.

But dramatic news from Berlin and Warsaw found Londoners oblivious, going cheerfully to work.

The government itself had been caught unaware by Germany’s 16 demands on Poland last night.

Morning newspapers had published nothing of the Forster-Hitler proclamations or the Warsaw charges of German bombings and frontier attacks.

Hurriedly read to envoy

The German 16 points, which formed the basis for German action, on the ground that Poland had failed to send a plenipotentiary to negotiate on them, were read hurriedly last night to Sir Nevile Henderson, Ambassador to Germany, at the Berlin Foreign Office, a reliable informant said.

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Vow to avoid war is made by Roosevelt

‘I’ll try to keep U.S. out,’ President says; new appeal is sent
By Hobart C. Montee, United Press staff writer

Washington –
President Roosevelt today pledged that his administration will make every effort to keep the United States out of war.

He also announced resignation of Hugh R. Wilson as Ambassador to Germany.

He told a press conference that he was sincerely hopeful and confident that this country could remain at peace.

But he was unable to say what will be the next step in protecting this country against the flames which threaten to sweep Europe.

Today Mr. Roosevelt appealed to the four major European powers to avoid the “inhuman barbarism” of bombing civilians and unfortified cities, and let it be known that summoning a special session of Congress and invocation of the Neutrality Act are not in immediate prospect.

It might be a matter of hours or weeks with either. The President emphasized that developments in Europe would be a factor in determining his action here. All of those things must await developments, he explained.

Asked whether he cared to say anything about the chance of this country staying out of war, Mr. Roosevelt replied:

Only this: That I not only sincerely hope so, but I believe we can stay out, and that every effort will be made by the administration so to do.

German officials here said Chancellor Hitler had replied to President Roosevelt’s message to him of Aug. 25 and 26. The Embassy referred all inquiries as to details to American officials.

The reply was sent to the State Department this morning and has been communicated to both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

The State Department did not know when it would be made public.

At 12:30 a.m. (EDT), Mr. Roosevelt began a conference with Secretary of War Woodring, Acting Secretary of the Navy Edison, Assistant Secretary of War Johnson and Gen. George Marshall, Chief of Staff, and Adm. Harold Stark, Chief of Naval Operations.

War news aroused Mr. Roosevelt shortly after 2 a.m. (EDT). He directed night-long activity in which the government sought to adjust itself to war.

Eight hours later, the White House announced that there would be no “immediate” summons for Congress to convene. Other sources intimated that no proclamation invoking the Neutrality Act should be expected today.

The word “immediate” was indefinite and may mean merely a delay of hours or a day or so in calling Congress for another administration effort to revise neutrality legislation so that belligerents controlling the seas – France and Great Britain – would have cash and carry access to American arms, ammunition and implements of war.

Mr. Roosevelt asked Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Poland not to bomb civilians and unfortified cities.

Paris dispatches reported immediate French agreement to spare such targets. In an address to the Reichstag, Chancellor Hitler said his warplanes had been instructed to attack only military objectives.

He asked for an immediate reply from each government.

The text of Mr. Roosevelt’s plea follows:

The ruthless bombing from the air of civilians in unfortified centers of population during the course of the hostilities which have raged in various quarters of the earth during the past few years, which has resulted in the maiming and in the death of thousands of defenseless men, women and children, has sickened the hearts of every civilized man and woman, and has profoundly shocked the conscience of humanity.

‘Inhuman barbarism’

If resort is had to this form of inhuman barbarism during the period of the tragic conflagration with which the world is now confronted, hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings who have no responsibility for, and who are not even remotely participating in, the hostilities which have now broken out, will lose their lives. I am therefore addressing this urgent appeal to every government which may be engaged in hostilities publicly to affirm its determination that its armed forces shall in no event, and under no circumstances, undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations or of unfortified cities, upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents. I request an immediate reply.

No envoy in Berlin

Mr. Roosevelt’s announcement that Mr. Wilson had resigned leaves this country without an ambassador to Germany. Since Mr. Wilson’s sudden recall to this country, the Berlin Embassy has been directed by a charge d’affaires. Mr. Wilson was recalled from Germany for consultation last November after the outbreak of a new wave of antisemitism.

Envoys send reports

Beginning of fighting between Poland and Germany swung the White House and State Department into high-gear action.

Mr. Roosevelt was on the transatlantic telephone several times in the night and today.

Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Under Secretary Sumner Welles and their aides went to their offices as soon as first reports were received from U.S. Ambassadors William C. Bullitt in Paris and Anthony Biddle Jr. in Warsaw of the “German invasion of Poland.”

Ready for Mr. Roosevelt’s signature lay a pile of executive orders, each of which would invoke one or more of the tremendous emergency powers which repose in him.

He ordered that naval ships and shore stations and Army commands be informed of the outbreak of hostilities on the Polish plains.

Nazis annex Danzig and start attacks

Hitler launches undeclared ‘lightning war’ as he tells Reichstag that forces are ordered only to make counterdrives
By Frederick C. Oechsner, United Press staff writer

Berlin, Germany –
Adolf Hitler annexed Danzig today and sent his armed forces surging across Polish frontiers in an undeclared “lightning war.”

Germany’s army crossed Polish frontiers in what Nazis officially described as a “counterattack.”

Nazi airplanes bombed Polish cities which were deemed to be “fortified.”

The German Navy assumed defense of the Baltic Sea.

The German Army, Navy and Air Force have made lightning advances against all objectives in Poland, an army communiqué said tonight.

German troops, the communiqué said, are advancing rapidly and are approaching two important Polish centers – Katowice and Częstochowa, which is about 40 miles from the frontier. Both are industrial centers.

Stiff Polish resistance indicated by German Army communiqué

In the Polish Corridor, German troops reached the Netze River near Nakel. Stiff Polish resistance was indicated in the communiqué, which said:

Troops from East Prussia have penetrated and are fighting deep in Polish territory.

The Polish airfield at Katowice, it was announced, has been destroyed. More than a score of Polish airfields and other military objectives, it was indicated, have been destroyed by air raiders.

Meanwhile, the Polish Embassy announced that its staff wad departing from Berlin immediately.

After the vast Nazi war machine moved into action at 5:45 a.m. (12:45 a.m. EDT), Hitler appeared before a suddenly-called session of the Reichstag which approved his action in seizing Danzig.

Führer declares he ordered raids only on military objectives

The Führer, referring to his orders to the fighting forces, said:

I have told the Air Force to restrict itself to military objectives.

Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag made clear his desire for a quick, triumphant thrust against Poland which could be concluded without the aid of Italy and before the British or French could take action to aid the Poles. Such a plan has long been envisaged by some Nazis, also calling for a peace conference before the big powers were involved in the war.

The Führer gave the impression that he was tired when he greeted the Reichstag after Marshal Hermann Göring, publicly announced as Hitler’s “successor” in event of the Führer’s death, had opened the session. Several diamond rings glittered on Marshal Göring’s hands.

Hitler raid his speech slowly. Frequently he leaned against the speaker’s stand.

Old fire returns when he refers to self as ‘first soldier’

Then, as he reached the climax, there was a surge of his old livery oratory.

He cried:

I have no other desire than to be the first soldier of Germany.

The first news broadcast to Germans regarding the military campaign said that the armed forces had been given orders to stop “Polish violence.” As a result, the broadcast said, the army has assumed “active protection” of the Reich and started “the counterattacks,” with aircraft squadrons covering military objectives.

The communiqué said that the German Air Force bombed and destroyed airfields and military objectives at Bromberg, Ramel, Putzig, Grudziądz, Posen, Kraków, and Lwów. The communiqué said:

Our Air Force has won supremacy in Polish territory.

It stated that the navy cooperated. The battleship Schleswig-Holstein, operating in Danzig Bay, took the Polish munitions depot. Westerplatte was described as “under fire” and Gdynia, the communiqué said, was bombed.

The sequence of events on this, “Der Tag” was:

  1. Germany, after announcing a 16-point program of demands against Poland, said that Poland had rejected it.

  2. Every agency of Nazi publicity started to jam through reports of Polish irregular attacks in the frontier area.

  3. Albert Forster, new Nazi head of the Danzig State, proclaimed Danzig’s reunion to the Reich, announced himself as supreme Danzig leader and appealed to Hitler to accept Danzig.

4.Hitler responded thanking him, announcing that a law effecting the union of Danzig with Germany would be passed at once, and naming Forster civil leader.

  1. The Nazi Reichstag met at 10:10 a.m. (5:10 a.m. EDT).

  2. Hitler began speaking at 10:12 and finished at 10:45.

  3. As soon as Hitler finished, the Reichstag unanimously, by rising vote, adopted a law annexing Danzig to the Reich.

Hitler began his speech:

Men of the German Reichstag.

We all suffer from the problems created by the Versailles Treaty.

Hitler declares he has attempted to settle matter peacefully

He continued:

I have tried here, too, to create a change of the situation through reasonable suggestions. Fifteen years before National Socialism, there was enough occasion to make such revisions…

I have often suggested revision of intolerable conditions. They have all been refused…

I have tried for a last time, although I was convinced that Poland did not seriously seek an understanding to accept British mediation. I worked out the basis for these negotiations and I have been sitting here with my government for two full days, waiting for the Poles, to please send me a plenipotentiary.

He said:

My indefinite patience should not be confused with fear.

He then referred to Polish mobilization and numerous border incidents.

I have decided to talk to the Poles in the same language they are using against us. I repeat that we do not ask anything from the Western powers, nor shall we do so in the future.

I have again and again offered friendship to Britain. But love must not be offered from one side only. It must be answered.

I want here to thank Italy, which has supported us all this time… I will not appeal to any foreign power for help in this struggle. As long as no other country breaks the neutrality of other states, we shall respect it.

You know that Russia and Germany are ruled by different doctrines. If Russia does not want to export hers, there is no reason to oppose each other. We are agreed that any struggle between our two people would only help other nations. This pact will exclude violence between our peoples for all the future. It will enable economic cooperation.

Any attempt of the powers to change the status is bound to fail, Hitler said.

Hitler fully endorsed the speech of Soviet Premier Vyacheslav Molotov before the Soviet Parliament in connection with the pact. Then he declared:

I am resolved to solve the question of the Corridor, and that a peaceful living together of Germans and Poles will be assured.

I am resolved to fight as long as the Poles want it. I will remove the element of insecurity from German frontiers. I do not want to fight against women and children. I have ordered my Air Force to limit themselves to military objectives.

But if our opponent takes this as an occasion to do the contrary, he will get an answer which he cannot misunderstand.

From now on bomb will answer bomb and poison answer poison

They are shooting back at us and from now on bomb will be answered with bomb. Whoever fights with poison will be fought with poison.

I shall conduct this fight no matter against whom until the security of the Reich and our rights are guaranteed.

Hitler said that he had worked for six years to build up the German Army, spending 90 billion ℛℳ (about $35 billion) for this purpose.

If I call in this Army and if ask sacrifices from the German people, I am entitled to do so.

For myself, I am ready to make any personal sacrifice. I do not ask for anything I am not willing to do or doing myself. My entire life belongs to my people.

I do not want to be anything now but the first soldier of the Reich. I shall not remove my soldier’s coat unless I have won the victory. If something should happen to me in this sacrifice, Herr Göring will be my successor. If something happens to him, Herr Hess will succeed. You must be faithful to them as to me, as a National Socialist and a German soldier.

My whole life was nothing but one great struggle for my people and for Germany’s resurrection.

One word I have never known and that is capitulation… As I am ready to sacrifice my life at any time, so I expect the same from everybody else…

I close with the profession I made when I began my struggle. If our will is strong enough, then no privation can master us. We will master it.

Thus ended the Führer’s speech, one such as he had made when he annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia.

Different picture now

But Britain and France had not guaranteed to aid Austria and Britain had not guaranteed Czechoslovakia. Both had pledged to defend Poland.

After the Reichstag had passed the Danzig annexation law, Field Marshal Göring said:

My Führer, the German Reichstag, representing the German people in this historic tour, stands behind you unanimously… It represents the will of the German people to make every sacrifice for the honor of the greater German Reich. It pledges obedience and blind faith to you, the Führer. We have confidence in the Army and in our conviction of victory in this struggle, forced upon us by Poland.

The Reichstag promises to live up to the highest ideals of the nation.

Wears army uniform

Hitler wore for the Reichstag session a field gray army uniform instead of his usual Nazi Party uniform of brown coat and black trousers. He had assumed his post as supreme commander of the armed forces. He wore as his sole decoration the Iron Cross, First Class, which he won in the World War.

There were double lines of Stormtroopers and soldiers around the Kroll Opera House when the Reichstag met and other lines extended from the Wilhelmstrasse, but the streets were not crowded and there was little public excitement.

A small crowd was assembled before the Chancellery and Hitler was cheered when he drove back from the opera house. A group of Hitler Elite Guardsmen began to chant:

We want to see our Führer.

The crowd failed to join in.

Cameraman leads cheers

Serious faces in the crowd lighted up for a moment when a movie camera rolled up with a cameraman doing a cheer leader act in order to get a little “color” for his film. Laughing workers on a new building responded with a vigorous round of “heils” although there was no one in sight to “heil.”

Confirming the annexation of Danzig, Hitler wired Nazi leader Forster:

I accept your proclamation of the Free City of Danzig on its return to the German Reich. I thank you, district leader, and all Danzig men and women for the unswerving loyalty they have preserved through so many years. Great Germany greets you with an overflowing heart.

Before the annexation, the government had made all preparations for war.

Forster sent telegram

Herr Forster announced Danzig’s union with Germany as new head of the Danzig State in a telegram to Hitler, and Hitler answered in a telegram to him.

He appointed Forster head of the Danzig civil administration.

The government also warned German ships from Polish and Danzig ports, forbade airplanes to fly over Germany, warned neutral aircraft in their own interest to keep out of the coastal zone adjacent to the Baltic end of the Polish Corridor, and said that foreign airplanes over Poland and foreign nationals in Poland would remain at their own risk.

The Hitler-Forster announcements came soon after Hitler had proclaimed that he must henceforth meet Polish “force with force.” And that the German Army would:

…conduct the battle for the honor and vital rights of the re-arisen German people with hard determination.

Herr Forster’s telegram said:

My Führer:
I have just now signed and immediately enforced the following basic law concerning Danzig’s reunion with the Reich.

I decree the following basic law:

ARTICLE I
The constitution of the City of Danzig is rescinded effective immediately.

ARTICLE II
All laws and executive power are enforced exclusively by the head of the state.

ARTICLE III
Effective immediately, the Free City and its population and territory forms part of the German Reich.

ARTICLE IV
Until the Führer has made the final decision regarding the introduction of Reich law, all laws under the constitution remain in place.


My Führer, in the name of Danzig and its population, I beg you to give your consent to this basic law and materialize by Reich law the reincorporation of Danzig in the Reich.

In reverence Danzig avows to you, my Führer, unending gratitude and eternal loyalty.

Heil to you, my Führer!

The background for Hitler’s own proclamation was a night in which every agency of German propaganda had hammered into the German people the idea that Poles were ruthlessly attacking Germans in Poland and in German territory on the frontier.

Hitler’s proclamation

Then came Hitler’s word:

The Polish state has rejected the peaceful regulations of neighborly relations which I sought. Instead, it gave the call to arms.

The Germans in Poland have been harried with bloody terror and driven from their homes and farms.

A number of frontier violations which are intolerable for a great power show that Poland no longer has the will to respect the German Reich frontiers.

In order to put an end to this mad activity, I have no other choice than to answer force with force from now on.

The German Armed Forces will conduct battle for the honor and vital rights of the re-arisen German people with hard determination.

I expect that every soldier will do his duty to the last in the spirit of the great tradition of the eternal German soldier.

Be aware in every situation that you are representatives of the National Socialist Greater Germany.

Long live our people and our Reich!

Broadcast to nation

Hitler’s proclamation was broadcast to the country by radio, with march tunes preceding and following it.

Most Germans were totally unaware of it. Early risers were pedaling their bicycles in the usual daily race to get to work on time.

A radio message implying the danger of naval activities in the Baltic forbade German merchant vessels to enter the ports of Danzig and Neufahrwasser, or Polish ports.

Vessels were ordered to leave for the Eastern or Middle Baltic, steaming eastward or northward from their present positions.

Field Marshal Göring forbade all airplanes but those of the German Army and government to fly over Germany. He warned:

Those that do not comply run the risk of being fired upon.

The official Berlin radio announced:

Military operations over the Bay of Danzig and over the territory of Poland have to be reckoned.

Neutral aircraft warned

The Air Ministry warned all neutral aircraft “in their own interests” to keep out of the zone adjacent to the Polish Corridor at its Baltic end and the Danzig area. The Ministry warned:

Aircraft flying over this prohibited area are liable to be fired upon: (1) If they assist the Polish fighting forces; (2) If they do not land immediately after being warned by tracer shots; (3) If they act in contravention to any given instructions concerning the setting of a certain course or the use of wireless or other means of communication.

It was further warned:

Under these circumstances, persons on the ground in Polish territory must be considered to be in danger.

All foreign nationals are warned that if they stay longer in this territory, they do so at their own risk.

All schools closed

All school classes were canceled through Germany effective today until further notice.

Danzig leader Forster supplemented his telegram to Hitler with a proclamation to his own Danzig people:

Men and women of Danzig:
The hour for which you have longed for 20 years has come. Danzig has today returned to the greater German Reich.

Our Führer, Adolf Hitler, has liberated us.

For the first time, the Swastika flies over Danzig public buildings today, the flag of the German Reich.

It also waves from former Polish buildings and everywhere in the harbor.

From the steeples of the old city hall and the revered church of Maria, the bells ring Danzig’s hour of freedom.

We thank God that he gave the Führer the strength and opportunity to free us also from the evil of the Versailles dictate.

We Danzigers are happy to be able now to be citizens of the Reich.

Danzigers, we want to stand together in this solemn hour, shake hands among ourselves and give the Fuhrer an eternal promise to do everything we have, the strength to do for our magnificent great Germany.

Long live free Danzig and home-brought Danzig! Long live our great German Fatherland! Long live our beloved Fuhrer!

Daladier: ‘It’s started!’; Poles plead for Paris’ aid

By Ralph Heinzen, United Press staff writer

Paris, France –
The Cabinet today ordered general mobilization, placing an army of six and a half million into the field.

This action followed announcement of the bombing of Warsaw and other Polish cities by Nazi planes and Premier Daladier’s terse comment:

It’s started.

Just after the general mobilization announcement, Premier Mussolini of Italy proposed a five-power European conference.

The Mussolini proposal was telephoned to Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet by the Italian Ambassador.

High Polish officials here immediately rejected Premier Mussolini’s plan, saying the offer is doubly unacceptable now that Nazis have invaded Poland.

Later, the Polish Ambassador invoked the French-Polish Mutual Guarantee Treaty on the ground that the Nazis’ aggression constituted grounds for war.

Ambassador William C. Bullitt handed M. Bonnet the appeal of President Roosevelt for the big powers to pledge themselves not to bomb open cities.

M. Bonnet, with tears in his eyes, announced France’s acceptance of Mr. Roosevelt’s “humanitarian appeal,” but said that nine Polish towns had already been bombed.

In connection with the message from Mussolini, France made an unannounced reply to Italy. The reply emphasized that there would be “no new Munich, it was understood.”

The Cabinet at the same time ordered a special meeting of Parliament.

Mobilization affects Army, Navy and Air Force reserves. The first mobilization will begin at midnight.

The government then declared a state of siege throughout France and Algeria.

The decisions were announced soon after the Council of Ministers, France’s supreme authority, had met for an hour and 35 minutes at the Elysée Palace. The meeting ended at 12:35 p.m. (7:35 a.m. EDT).

Polish sources here reported, meanwhile, that the Polish Army was slowly retreating from the German frontier in the face of the German onslaught, and was taking up defense positions in Upper Silesia previously arranged.

Communiqué issued

The Council of Ministers, comprised of the Cabinet with President Albert Lebrun presiding, issued this communiqué:

The Council approved three decrees presented by M. Daladier. They are:

First, general mobilization of all land, sea and air armies of the entire French territory including Algeria and the colonies and dependencies, the first day of mobilization will be Saturday.

Second, establishing a state of siege in all 89 French departments of Algeria.

Third, a decree convoking the Chambers [of Parliament] for Saturday.

On leaving the Council meeting, Premier Daladier conferred with Generalissimo Maurice Gamelin at the War Office.

Shrine reported bombed

Foreign Minister Bonnet received the Polish Ambassador Juliusz Łukasiewicz, the Italian Ambassador Raffaele Guariglia, the United States Ambassador and the British Ambassador Sir Eric Phipps, acquainting them with the government’s decisions.

The Polish News Agency reported here that the Germans had bombed Częstochowa, "the Polish Lourdes, where thousands of pilgrims annually worship at a 500-year-old shrine.”

The general mobilization order affects all able-bodied men from 21 to 55 years.

For years, France has prepared for this day. Every man of military age carries a rose-tinted card bearing instructions as to where and in what manner he will report for duty. The cards specify that the holders are expected to report the day following the mobilization order, but the bulk of the reserves may not reach mobilization centers for five days.

The gravity of the situation was expressed by M. Daladier when he entered the palace for the council meeting this morning. He said:

It’s started. We have done everything we could to avoid it.

Meanwhile, the Polish and United States Embassies verified reports of German air raids on Polish cities and of general fighting on the Polish-German frontier.

Phones while bombs fall

The Polish Ambassador was telephoning Warsaw when the bombs began falling on the Polish capital. At the same time, Hitler was heard saying by radio in his Reichstag speech that German airmen would respect women and children.

The Polish Transcontinental Press said that German bombs aimed at Gdynia had all missed the port and fallen into the sea. It said that other points bombed by German planes were Puck, Żuków and Biała Podlaska.

The French government claimed that its fighting forces, combined with Britain’s, were assured mastery of the seas in the event of war, and that their land and air forces were a match for Germany’s and Italy’s combined.

Foreigners offer services

Czechs, Jewish refugees, Spaniards, Italians and many other foreigners offered their services to the government. Štefan Osuský, former Czechoslovakia Minister, took the lead in rallying émigrés to the colors of France and said he would form a legion. He indicated that Czechs outside France would come here and enlist with volunteers among the 50,000 Czech residents.

There were numerous offers of service among the 800,000 Italians in France. Garibaldians, anti-fascist Italian refugees, who formed a fighting unit in the last war, announced that:

We are ready to fight a third time against our centuries-old enemy.

The National Association of French Jewish Veterans and volunteers opened a recruiting office where foreign Jews may enlist.

The Federation of Spanish Émigrés announced readiness to aid.

Merry-Go-Round –
Bremen in trailed by British warship

By Robert S. Allen

Washington –
Originally it was secretly planned to hold the Bremen, the giant German passenger liner, indefinitely. President Roosevelt knew that the German Army was inching up on Poland and that the question of peace or war was a matter of hours. So, it was proposed to hold the Bremen until Adolf Hitler had cast the die.

Later, a better plan was evolved. The new 10,000-ton British cruiser Berwick had been basking in New England waters, where natty English officers beaued wealthy American debutantes. Suddenly the Berwick disappeared – destination unknown.

That destination can now be revealed. At the present writing, the Berwick is pacing the Bremen across the Atlantic, ready to pounce on her the minute Hitler unleashes the war dogs.

It was decided that there was no use holding the big liner in New York when the British could take her, if war broke, at sea.

London, England –
An Admiralty spokesman said today that the Admiralty knew nothing of reports that a British warship had intercepted the German liner Bremen which left New York Wednesday. The spokesman said the reported seizure appeared unlikely inasmuch as Great Britain was not now at war.

Swiss recall citizens

Washington –
The Swiss Legation announced today that all male Swiss citizens between 20 and 48 in the United States must return to Switzerland for special military duty.

Parents weep as evacuation gets underway

Children in English cities go aboard trains for havens of rural safety

London, England (UP) –
Great Britain, in one of the great mass movements of history, was evacuating its mothers and children, its crippled and its blind from “target areas” in the large cities to sanctuaries in the country today.

Authorities hoped the evacuation, affecting three million persons, would be completed by Monday night.

But news from the continent indicated that by that time I might be too later to save all of the three million from the horrors of aerial bombings.

Children 4 to 16 years old came first. Some one and a half million of them were started today toward destinations “somewhere in England.” Of the total, 700,000 were London schoolchildren.

Blind, cripples next

At least 200,000 were streaming out of Liverpool and Merseyside, 250,000 from Manchester, 130,000

At the same time, London hospitals were being cleared of all patients in condition to leave in order to make room for air-raid casualties in the event London is bombed.

Tomorrow the blind and crippled children and adults were to follow, Sunday expectant mothers, and Monday mothers and children under four.

All the drama of Britain’s last-minute attempts to save its younger generations from death in shattered tenements was concentrated in London, where children assembled at dawn in 2,000 schools and were herded by 22,000 teachers, parents and volunteer workers to trains and buses.

Eight trains every hour

To get its children safely out of the city, London restricted the use of rail, bus and underground service for other purposes.

The evacuation started at dawn of a clear, sunny day and gained in volume hourly. An average of eight trains pulled out of the principal railway terminals every hour.

The children arrived at concentration points equipped with kits containing changes of clothing and articles of personal necessity and with gas masks slung over their shoulders.

Mothers and fathers, gently but firmly restrained from accompanying their sons and daughters to the railway platforms, gathered along the tracks to wave goodbye.

Gather in groups weeping

Then they gathered in sober groups, many weeping.

Each child had his name and address sewed to his clothing and each clutched a box of lunch.

Sallow boys and girls from London’s grimy slums were frankly delighted. Many had never been on a train before. They immediately began experimenting, opening closed windows and doors and scrambling for window seats.

Policemen moved unobtrusively through the crowds of mothers reminding them not to stay beyond the rope barriers. Many of the women kissed their children goodbye and hurried away.

School teachers, whose charges the children will be for no one knew how long, assured the mothers that they youngsters would be “very well looked after.” Parents were exhorted to “look cheerful.”

Gas mask tests given

While waiting for their trains, the children, divided into groups, were put through the familiar gas mask drill. One group was timed at 31 seconds.

The first children to leave the city were those from the worst target areas, children whose homes were near docks, power stations and arsenals along the Thames, or near munitions plants and reservoirs, all of which were expected to be among the first objectives of bombers.

‘Somewhere in England’

The honor of being among the “first hundred” went to a group of East End kids who gathered at the Myrtle St. Junior School at 5:30 a.m. The “first hundred” marched in military order to the Aldgate Subway Station, nearly a mile from the school.

Among the first hundred at Myrtle St. was 9-year-old Freda Skrzypce who came here with her parents and brother from Danzig last Sunday.

Freda spoke no English, but through an interpreter explained she was a Pole and bitterly denounced the Germans for “taking away our nationality.”

In the same group was a little Jewish girl, Ruth Rosenzweig, a refugee from Berlin. She was one of hundreds included in the evacuation order.

Holiday from death

The children knew that this really was a holiday from death and broken bones and smashed faces.

Peter Selmes, 8, wearing blue coat and dark brown trousers with a patch on the seat, spoke for all of them old enough to speak, when he said with a wise look in his eye:

I know where I’m going. My mother told me that I was going to the country to look for apples. But I know better. My brother is in the Navy and he said the Germans were going to bomb London.

Meanwhile, all hospitals were rejecting new patients, while cots and extra blankets were installed against later need. Medical students stacked sandbags against walls.

Many of the patients evacuated from hospitals were babies, including some only a few hours old. They were carried to ambulances by their fathers.


Brighton, England –
Refugee children from London began arriving here today. More than 30,000 children in all will be received here.

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Hitler is doomed, Pittman declares

New York (UP) –
Adolf Hitler has written not only his physical death, but his political demise by today’s activities against Poland, Senator Key Pittman (D-NV), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a radio address today.

Speaking from Salt Lake City after receiving word of Hitler’s Reichstag speech, Senator Pittman predicted that “probably he [Hitler] will destroy the Polish people, but Hitler will never win.”

Senator Pittman said:

Anyone who understands human nature would understand that speech. He [Hitler] is a coward. The reference to his possible death no brave man would make, no patriotic statesmen would urge.

He has been guilty of subterfuge. He is unworthy of the German people. The German people have rights which we recognized In Danzig. His demand for the Polish Corridor is not based on any principle that he has ever asserted, or occupation by races.

Hitler has today written not only his own physical death, which would be small, but he has written his political death, which will mean much to the German people and to all the world.

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Canada will help Britain in conflict

Ottawa, Canada (UP) –
Prime Minister Mackenzie King announced today after an emergency cabinet meeting that if Great Britain becomes actively involved in the conflict between Germany and Poland, Canada will stand by her side.

The Prime Minister said complete mobilization of the Canadian permanent forces, including the Navy, Army and Air Force, has been completed.

The cooperative measures which will be followed by the Canadian government, both for the defense of Canada and aid to Great Britain, will be decided when Parliament meets Sept. 7, he said.

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Ports blockaded by both nations

Paris, France (UP) –
The German radio reported today that the Poles and Germans mutually have entirety blockaded the ports of Gdynia and Danzig.


German plane shot down

Paris, France (UP) –
Le Temps reported from Warsaw today that Polish guns shot down a German bomber at Otwock near Warsaw.

French sources said the Poles staged a vigorous cavalry flanking attack against a German column advancing into Upper Silesia.


Warsaw joyous at false report

Warsaw, Poland (UP) –
Rejoicing – later proved to be unfounded – surged through Warsaw hotel lobbies and cafés tonight with the spread of rumors that the British Navy was bombarding Hamburg.

It was also reported without confirmation that a Polish division stormed and captured Danzig.

It is war

As this is written, the mad march to war is quickstepping over the hill to Armageddon.

The Free City of Danzig – for whose independence Poland has said she would fight – is free no more. It has been folded into the German Reich. German bombs have been dropped on Polish railroad centers, and on Warsaw. Hitler has exhorted his solders “to answer force with force.” But the Nazi legions are not waiting for “force” to come to them, they are going forth to find it and “to answer.” The prospects are they will find what they are seeking – for Great Britain and France are pledged to go to war, when and if Poland does, to defend Poland’s sovereignty.

Only a few hours ago, Hitler made public his 16-point proposal for a settlement of Germany’s demands against Poland. There seemed momentarily some chance that those 16 points might be made the basis for negotiations. True, his terms were so stiff there seemed very little possibility they could be accepted anyway. Ever so Der Führer would not wait.

Here is one which, we predict, historians will never dispute as to where the blame lies.

But we who are so fortunate to live on this side of the Atlantic – it is not for us, at this time, to assess responsibility for the tragedy that has overtaken Europe. Rather should all our energies, all our resolution, turn to efforts to prevent our own involvement.

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