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War Begins Between Germany and Poland (1939)

From Audio: September 1, 1939 - Lights Go Out In London - Europe Mobilizes - Evacuations Begin -

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Duration: 08:33
War begins between Germany and Poland as the rest of the world plans to prepare.
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War begins between Germany and Poland as the rest of the world plans to prepare.
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Good evening, The Mad dog is loose in europe. You have already heard how, Without a word of warning, Without an ultimatum, without the submission of terms, Hitler has launched his army and his airplanes against the Pole. So far as they are concerned, at least, the war has begun. So far as Britain is concerned, she is in a state of war. All precautions have been taken tonight. Lights are out in the literal as well as in the figurative sense, orders have been issued completing the mobilization of the armed forces. The british and french ambassadors have been instructed to demand from Hitler instant stoppage of aggressive action against Poland and the withdrawal of his troops from polish soil. If this has refused the ambassadors to ask for their passports and leave Berlin, that means that the next step is war. Technically the severance of relations is not an actual declaration, but in the past it is almost always preceded a declaration. So far. The news of the actual fighting is confused and contradictory. This morning, we heard in London that Warsaw had been bombed and that hundreds of civilian lives have been lost. Later this afternoon. It was denied that Warsaw had been bombed, but asserted that a number of other towns in the corridor, chiefly railway junctions and manufacturing towns had been bombed. That seems to be true, but nothing is known about casualties. German troops of german troops have invaded Poland all along the frontier and there has been fighting but apparently not very severe fighting as the polish troops are reported to be withdrawing in good order to previously prepared defensive positions. The news that trickles through tells very little, except that long dreaded war has begun. I don't know how long it will before, I don't know how long it'll be before Britain and France are in. They have given Hitler one last chance to withdraw and discuss the issues at stake if you believe he will do it. Although there are some who profess to see in his attack on Poland one final bluff to see a Britain and France really will fight or not. It's more likely I think that he's pursuing his policy of a lightning war against Poland to be followed by an offer of peace when he has dealt with that country before France and Britain have been able to give effective aid. The new startled London this morning, Londoners had gone to bed in a little more hopeful mood. The first news reached most of them by radio, but it was circulated in the suburbs by milkman and butchers and other tradesmen who at first were not believed the instant reaction in government circles was a summons to the cabinet and then the summons to Parliament to meet at once. It did meet at six PM and Prime Minister Chamberlain Latin Grave and Stern made his fateful announcement. The most Faithful since 1914. When the house was told that Britain was at war with Germany, he said very little professing his remarks of the statement that the time had come for action rather than words. He told how he had hoped to avoid the task which he was then performing. But he said, I fear that I must take the responsibility of asking the country to accept the awful orbit treatment of war. And he added, we shall stand at the bar of history Knowing that that responsibility rests on the shoulders of one man. That man said Mr Chamberlain was the german Chancellor whose course was undertaken to serve his own senseless ambition. The Prime Minister then recited briefly some of the stages of the negotiations and interchange of communications, which are published tonight, is a parliamentary white paper. He told how the so called off of the Hitler had never been given to the Falls. But even after Hitler's duplicity and dealing with this document written, had tried to preserve the peace by calling for a discussion between Germany and Poland, pointing out that to be successful, the strain of aggressive action on the frontiers must be removed and urging the withdrawal of the armies that were facing each other. The polls at once accepted, provided the book, the Germans would give adequate guarantees. We never had any reply to that suggestion from the German government, said the Prime Minister and he repeated with great solemnity. We never had any reply. Mr Chamberlain then told the House that the british ambassador in Berlin had been instructed to inform the German government that unless solemn assurances were received and aggressive action against Poland's stopped and german troops withdrawn from polish territory, great Britain would fulfill our obligations to Poland and the ambassador would ask for his passports. Mr Chamberlain ended on a high note. We are ready, he said, and he told of The complete mobilization of the three forces We're stronger than the 1914, he added. And then said he would ask the house to pass a bill imposing compulsory military service On all fit men between the ages of 18 and 41 and with a compliment to Mussolini for his strenuous and honest efforts for peace. He sat down the two opposition leaders, Sir, Archibald Sinclair and Arthur Greenwood pledged their support and that of their parties to the government. And before going on with the routine business, the House bought it an emergency credit of £500 million pounds for the expenses of any war in which his majesty might be engaged up to March 31 next The house then tackle the job of passing through all their stages. 15 bills, mostly of a technical nature giving the government war powers and suspending the action of ordinary loans. Parliament will meet again tomorrow and probably will continue in permanent session with a minimum of delay. All the defensive arrangements which have been preparation were put in operation. The series of orders was issued mobilizing the Air raid Protection Services, the Auxiliary Fire Services and other volunteer services, men by most men and women. Final mobilization orders were issued to members of the forces. Householders were told that they must black out all their lights after sundown tonight, All three lighting is out. An automobile headlines are dimmed and covered, only a slit of light being allowed to be shown. There's little traffic on the road during the streets. The government has taken over the railways, but subject to military necessity, there would be as little interference with their ordinary working as possible. They're being controlled by a committee of their own managers everywhere. Tonight, men and women are discussing the chance of the war. There's less facile optimism than were displayed in 1914. And whatever anyone may think, if you venture to prophesy a short war, Of course, the decision of Italy not to fight has encouraged British opinion, which finds it, as I suggested last night, strongly reminiscent of Italy's action 25 years ago. There seems on the face of it could be little doubt that Mussolini, having failed to persuade Hitler to peace, decided to let him go his own way alone. Hitler's accession to the right side today, that he would not ask any foreign help in the task is undertaken, deceives no one. There's also the theory that Mussolini, by holding aloof from the war, may hope to be in a position to mediate when the time comes. But I think it must come soon if it's coming at all. As I've indicated already, Chamberlain's given Hitler one last chance to withdraw if he rejects it and Britain and France are drawn in. The only likely thing for peace talk is after Germany is beaten. How long that maybe no one can tell. We have found out in all Recent wars from 1914 until today, that there's a tendency to underestimate the resisting power of even a weak nation. And Germany is not weak. Although there is the undoubted fact that she's in a relatively worse Position in the 1914. The apparent increase in her manpower due to a recent annexations is deceptive, for it takes no account of the manpower of her Austrian ally in 1914. Now, with Italy outs, he's definitely inferior in that respect economically, she's also worse off and it's believed cannot feed herself throughout a long war and she has no money to buy supplies abroad Economically. Of course, Britain has always been stronger, but today she's stronger even than she was in 1914, her gold reserves larger and she supplies to last as long as required while she will have the inexhaustible resources and food and material of the United States to drawn. Even if the neutrality act is not modified as everyone on this side of the water believes it will be the evacuation of the schoolchildren from London and the other large towns proceeded without a hitch. Today, the number expected to be moved was largely exceeded. This is necessitate some changes in today's program. The effect of which will be that mothers and invalid will be taken to the safe area sooner than was expected. All that can be done for the safety of civilian population of Britain has been done and there's nothing now to do but wait with a stout heart for whatever may come. There's calm confidence that the defense forces are adequate and Britain is a nation unafraid. Thank you and good night.
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