On September 1, 1939, German forces under the control of Adolf Hitler bombarded Poland on land and in the air. World War II had started.
Why did Germany invade Poland?
Germany invaded Poland to regain lost territory and ultimately rule its neighbor to the east. The German invasion of Poland was an introduction to how Hitler intended to wage war – which would become the “blitzkrieg” strategy.
Germany’s blitzkrieg approach was characterized by early massive bombardment to destroy enemy air capability, railways, communication lines and munitions dumps, followed by a massive ground invasion with a overwhelming number of troops, tanks and artillery. After German forces pushed their way through, devastating part of the territory, infantry arrived, eliminating any remaining resistance.
Once Hitler had a base of operations in the target country, he immediately began to put in place “security” forces to annihilate all enemies of his Nazi ideology, be they racial, religious or political. . Concentration camps for slave workers and the extermination of civilians went hand in hand with German rule of a conquered nation. For example, less than a day after the German invasion of Poland, Hitler was already setting up SS “Death’s Head” regiments to terrorize the population.
Polish resistance weakens
The Polish Army made several serious strategic miscalculations from the start. Despite being a million strong, the Polish forces were severely under-equipped and attempted to take the Germans head-on, rather than fall back into more natural defensive positions.
The antiquated thinking of Polish commanders, coupled with the antiquated state of its army, simply fell short of the overwhelming and mechanized modern German forces. And, of course, any hope the Poles might have had of a Soviet counter-response was dashed by the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov non-aggression pact.
Britain would respond with bombardments on Germany three days later.