Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Today marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War when the German armies invaded Poland.

My dear old Dad, and his brothers, followed the political events of the 1930s closely, so closely that Dad had already begun in early 1939 to construct a secret room in the basement of his shop and living accommodation above, which he stocked with food, water and some family valuables.
Due to the heroic Battle of Britain the secret room was never used except for storage but was so well hidden that when other family members reported items stolen that he had stored in the room no one including the police could find it. Only when he got leave from the army some time in 1943 was he able to show the police where it was, and that the filthy solid old stone wall in the darkest part of the basement could be moved away to reveal a store room, or in an emergency a possible hiding place.

In 1938 Britain and France had failed to go to war to protect Czechoslovakia, below is an extract from Munich, Prologue to Tragedy by J.W. Wheeler -Bennett

In the months which followed, however, when it became apparent that Britain and France were bent upon compelling Czechoslovakia to cede the Sudetenland to Germany, Beck [Jozef Beck the Polish Foreign Minister] could not resist the urge to seize the opportunity of settling his account with Benes [the Czechoslovakian President] once and for all. Still ignorant of the fact that Poland was marked for the next victim of Nazi aggression, Beck yielded to the bait of Teschen, which Hitler extended as the price of Polish co-operation in the destruction of Czechoslovakia, and refused steadfastly to permit the transit of Soviet troops through Polish territory. [In view of later events you could not blame him for that-my comment]

When the final climax came at Munich, Poland shared with Hungary the odium of the jackal.


On August 23 Joachim von Ribbentrop arrived by plane from Berlin, and , during the night, he signed with Molotov a Pact of Neutrality and Non-Aggression, together with a Secret Agreement, in which was embodied the price exacted by Russia, and paid by Germany for the formal document.

On 17 September 1939 Soviet forces invaded Eastern Poland in co-operation with Nazi Germany.

On 22 June 1941 Nazi Germany launched a surprise attack on the Soviet Union.

On 13 April 1943 the Germans announced the discovery of the bodies of 4,500 Polish officers buried in Katyn Wood. The Germans claimed the Poles had been massacred by the Russians.


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