Eighty years ago, Nazi Germany attacked Poland. By doing so it started World War II, which brought death and misery to Europe. During this war, six million Jews and members of other minorities were murdered in an unprecedented genocide campaign. Commemorations are scheduled to take place in Poland and Germany.
On August 31st, 1939, Adolf Hitler had an SS command unit simulate a Polish attack on a transmitter in Gleiwitz. By doing so he created the pretext he wanted, for Germany’s attack on Poland the next day. It happened on September 1st, 1939, when the Wehrmacht bombarded an ammunition depot on the Westerplatte peninsula and 1.5 million German soldiers crossed the border.
Hitler Spreads Lies
At 10:00 a.m. on the same day, Hitler held a speech in front of the Reichstag which had assembled at the Kroll Opera House. He said Germany was “shooting back since 5:45 a.m..” It was a lie. They were not shooting back, but attacking. And they had started an hour earlier, at 4:45 a.m..
Now, eighty years later, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller said World War II had originated from Berlin, and it had returned to the city in 1945. “Berlin was the location at which the Nazi government planned and directed its criminal war”, Müller stated.
According to the Governing Mayor it is not self-evident that Germany was invited to the commemoration event on the Westerplatte on September 1st. German representatives, including President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will be there. The invitation was “a gesture of reconciliation”, Müller said.
Commemorations in Poland and Germany
Later on Sunday, Steinmeier, his Polish colleague Andrzej Duda, U.S. President Donald Trump (Update August 30th, 6:00 a.m.: Trump cancels Poland visit because of hurricane Dorian) and other state guests will be on Pilsudski Square in Warsaw, where they will lay wreaths at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier. Before, Duda and his German guest will talk to residents of the village of Wielun who are witnesses of that terrible day in 1939 and the entire war.
Another commemoration event is scheduled to take place in Berlin. Wolfgang Schäuble, the President of the Berlin Bundestag, and other politicians will be at ‘Askanischer Platz’ square. Elzbieta Witek, the President of the Polish ‘Sejm’, the lower chamber of the country’s parliament, is the main guest.
A public campaign in Germany and some MPs are demanding a memorial for the Polish victims of the German occupation on the very same square in Berlin.
On September 2nd, 1939, a day after the initial attack on Poland, Nazi Germany reported it took Gdansk. Another day later, on September 3rd, Britain and France declared war against Germany. It took five and a half years until the German fascists were finally defeated by the Allies.