On September 1, 1939, over 1.5 million German soldiers crossed the border into Poland. The German government declared that they were coming to the aid of German people in Poland who were being persecuted by the Poles, but few people were fooled into believing it was anything more than Hitler’s grab for more territory.
Hitler knew France and England were allies of Poland who had promised to come to its aid if attacked. But he doubted they would act. Many people in France and England felt the same way.
Yet both governments declared war on Germany on September 3. Unfortunately, neither country was in the position to provide Poland with much help turning back the German blitzkrieg, which overran the country in a month.
In “Poland in Chains,” which appeared in the Post 19 months after the invasion, one of the Post’s war correspondents describes the aftermath of the German conquest. His report was a chilling introduction to Germany’s treatment of Jews in occupied countries.