Facts From 1939 - World War II Begins | Herbys Gifts & Cards

Facts From 1939 - World War II Begins

On 3rd September 1939 a dark shadow fell over the world. Following Nazi Germany`s invasion of Poland on 1st September - Great Britain , France , New Zealand and Australia declared war on Germany. The war would spread to other countries and was to last almost 6 years.

Up to this date , Neville Chamberlain , Conservative Prime Minister of Great Britain had run a policy of appeasement by signing the Munich Agreement which ceded the German speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany lead by Adolf Hitler. In addition , Hitler and Chamberlain signed the Anglo-German agreement which stated that the two nations would never go to war again. Believing that Hitler`s ambitions had been fulfilled Chamberlain returned home and declared "peace for our time". It was not long however for Hitler`s true ambitions to surface when in March 1939 he invaded the remainder of Czechoslovakia and gave an ultimatum to Lithuania to hand over lands that had been lost during World War I. Britain and France continued their policy of appeasement whilst Italy and Japan supported Germany. Lithuania had no choice but to agree to terms. 

Hitler then turned his attention to Poland demanding control over the Free City of Danzig (Today Gdansk) which had access to the sea. This lead to Great Britain and France quickly agreeing to support Polish independence and giving a similar agreement to Romania and Greece following Italy`s invasion of Albania. Hitler , not wishing to fight on two fronts then signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union and subsequently invaded Poland on 1st September 1939 , resulting in the declaration of war. Germany quickly made advances into Poland and on 17th September the Soviet Union invaded from the east. By the 6th October Poland had been carved up with Germany taking the larger area and this was followed by the Soviets moving on Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania.

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Hitler tried in vain to make peace but Great Britain and France declined resulting in the expansion of the war to all regions of the world. Germany invaded Denmark and Norway - with Denmark capitulating within hours and Norway , despite Allied support only held out for 2 months. This resulted in Chamberlain being replaced by Winston Churchill. On the same day Germany invaded France and succeeded in forcing the British to retreat back across the English Channel from the beaches of Dunkirk. Italy also invaded France resulting in an Armistice whereby territory was divided up between the invaders.  war.

In Europe , Britain now stood alone and the Battle of Britain commenced with German bombing by the Luftwaffe following Britain`s refusal of a peace deal. Meanwhile Italy invaded Malta , Somalia and Egypt but suffered heavy losses on land and sea to the British to such an extent that Hitler sent an expeditionary force under the command of Rommel to North Africa.

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The pact between Germany and Soviet Union started to unwind with both sides distrusting each other and with most of Europe under German control Hitler turned his attention to the Soviet Union. He soon invaded with the objective of destroying communism. In Asia Japan attacked the American fleet at Pearl Harbour which resulted in the USA declaring war on Japan and Germany. The war was about to take a turn. Britain was now beginning to win the air battle with their superior Spitfire planes and both the USA and Britain started plans to launch an offensive to retake France. Meanwhile Montgommery started to overcome Rommel in North Aftrica and the German offensive to take Moscow began to fail as winter took hold. Months later , Allied forces landed in France in huge numbers , the British in North Africa defeated Rommel and retook Sicily and headed for Rome and finally the Soviet Union defeated the Germans in the East. The war for Germany was lost and the Allies raced to take Berlin. Hitler committed suicide and in May 1945 the Germans unconditionally surrendered to both the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.


Know someone born in the year 1939?


Here`s a wonderful 1939 birthday card and gift in one that will bring back many nostalgic memories.

                                          1939 Birthday Card & CD


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