GERMANY: The Young Plan, the second renegotiation of Germany's World War I reparation payments, goes into effect. A new committee, chaired by the American Owen D. Young, met in Paris on February 11, 1929, to revise the Dawes Plan of 1924. Its report, accepted with minor changes, went into effect today. It reduced the amount due from Germany to 121 billion Reichsmarks in 59 annuities, set up the Bank for International Settlements to hanJack McKillop)
September 1st, 1939 (FRIDAY)UNITED KINGDOM:7.28 a.m. the Foreign Office learns of the German invasion of Poland.
Chamberlain addresses the house.
Young children from London and other urban areas are evacuated due to the fear from air attacks.
All BBC studios and transmitters are converted in the early hours to wartime conditions; this includes arranging two synchronised groups of radio transmitters to prevent radio direction finding, and creation of the "Home Service" on radio (at 0815 hours local). BBC Television Service, with continuity links from the Radio Exhibition at Olympia, closes at 1210 hours, ending unceremoniously with a Mickey Mouse cartoon, "Mickey’s Gala Première," in which the last words are a Greta Garbo caricature saying "Ah tink ah go home." (The order to close the service had not been received at Alexandra Palace at noon.) In the eight months of the year to date television transmitters have operated for an aggregate of 2,403 hours and had an audience of around 20,000-25,000 households. (Jack McKillop)
EIRE: The status of the Irish military is:
1. The Irish Army consisted of 19,000 men out of an authorized strength of 37,560 men with every unit understrength. None of the eight infantry battalions were organized. The Army had TWO (2) "serviceable" tanks and 21 armoured cars, most dating from the 1920s.
2. The air defence of Eire was entrusted to three Gloster Gladiator Mk I biplane fighters that most German aircraft could outrun. The first modern fighter aircraft "obtained" was an RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk I that crashed in Eire on September 29, 1940, was rebuilt, and entered service with the Irish Air Corps in July 1942. So for almost three years, Irish skies were defended by three biplanes.
3. As far as antiaircraft was concerned, there was no radar in the country and the antiaircraft defence of the capital, Dublin, consisted of ten 3.7-inch (9,4 centimetre) guns, four 3-inch (7,62 centimetre) guns and a small number of 40 millimetre guns.
4. The Irish Navy consists of two 70-foot (21,3 meter) motor torpedo boats.
FRANCE: The French government accepts Italian Premier Benito Mussolini's proposal for a peace conference. (Jack McKillop)
5:40 a.m. Berlin radio broadcasts Hitler's proclamation to his army; the invasion of Poland has been launched 'in order to put an end to this lunacy'.
10 a.m. Hitler is driven through an abnormally silent Berlin to the Reichstag, from where he broadcasts the news to the world.
Hermann Göring is officially designated as Hitler's successor. (Gene Hanson)
On the western front Army Group C (Ritter von Leeb) holds the front between Basle and Aix-La-Chapelle with 34 divisions, plus 2/3 of the 22nd Airborne division. (Eddy Bauer and Michael Alexander)
The Ambassadors of the British and French governments issue an ultimatum to the German government to pull out of Poland. (Jack McKillop)
Chancellor Hitler names his successors,: Herman Goering, Commander of the Luftwaffe, and Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party. (Jack McKillop)
The government issues a decree forbidding listening to any foreign radio station, with the death penalty imposed for spreading false foreign radio news. (Jack McKillop)
POLAND: German tanks thundered across the Polish border at precisely 0445 hours today. Supported by Junkers JU87 ("Stuka") dive-bombers, which are being used as airborne artillery, they are making rapid progress in penetrating Poland's forward defences. The assault is fast and violent, with units racing ahead to envelop and destroy the Polish defenders.
Warsaw has been bombed. Heinkel 111 and Dornier 17 bombers are pounding Polish airfields and strategic targets while Bf109 fighters hunt down those Polish planes which have managed to get airborne. First reports speak of the German Army Group South striking north-east from Silesia while the Fourth Army is advancing from Pomerania to link up with the Third Army pushing south-west from East Prussia.
The pattern that is emerging is of the Germans using their traditional technique of the double pincer movement against the Polish forces which are largely concentrated near the frontier to protect the industrial areas. It seems that the Polish commander-in-chief, Marshal Smigly-Rydz, hopes to hold the line until Britain and France come to his rescue. The force of the attack mounted by General Walter von Brauchitsch must cast doubts upon the Poles ability to resist until their allies attack in the west.
The Jablunka Pass is forced against fierce resistance of Polish mountain troops. Army Group South units move as much as 15 miles on this first day.
Warsaw: 14.00 Colonel Beck formally breaks relations with Germany.
Three German Armeegruppen (Army Groups) begin the invasion of Poland at 0345 hours GMT, officially launching the world into what would be the most destructive and deadly war in all of history. Massive strikes by the Luftwaffe destroy vital communications and assembly areas, decimating the Polish air force on the ground. Panzer and motorized divisions make deep penetrations into the Polish defenses, using tactics soon to be known as the Blitzkrieg. Officially, the first shots of the war are fired from the 28 centimeter (11-inch) deck guns of the vintage World War I battleship Schleswig-Holstein. The ship had survived the ravages of WWI and entered service in the Kriegsmarine in 1935, serving initially as a cadet training ship. Under the guise of honoring the anniversary of the Battle of Tannenburg, the German battleship, complete with a hidden cargo of Marinesturmkompanie (Marine Assault) troops, was allowed by the Poles to anchor directly off the strategic island of W esterplatte, located at the mouth of the Vistula River in Danzig. At 0347 hours GMT, permission is given to the ship to open fire on the island, a strategic point on the Baltic Coast needed to support the troops advancing to the south. Shortly after 0347 hours GMT, the ship opens up its massive main guns, firing at near-point-blank range and zero elevation. Needless-to-say, the shells literally pound the small island, but although the ships guns devastate the target, they inflict minimal casualties on the Poles stationed within. When the Marinesturmkompanie hidden within the Battleship disembarks and launches its main assault on the island, it is repulsed after taking heavy casualties. Another assault is launched later in the morning, again by the Marinesturmkompanie, after more shelling from the Schleswig-Holstein, but this assault also ends in heavy German casualties.
FREE CITY OF DANZIG: The visiting battleship Schleswig-Holstein shells the Polish fortress of Westerplatte; the SS take over Danzig.
Albert Forster, leader of the National Socialists in Danzig, announces the reunion of Danzig with Germany in response to the German invasion of Poland. The Free City of Danzig, with adjoining territory of 731 square miles (1 893 square kilometers), was established as a free state under the League of Nations in 1919. (Jack McKillop)
LATVIA: Latvian president Karl Ulmanis issues a declaration of strict neutrality. (Jack McKillop)
ITALY: 3.00 p.m. in Rome Mussolini addresses the Council of Ministers and announces non-intervention.
BULGARIA: The government of Bulgaria issues a declaration of strict neutrality, maintaining close cooperation with Yugoslavia. (Jack McKillop)
EUROPE: Norway, Finland, Denmark,
Portugal, Romania, Yugoslavia, Sweden and Switzerland declare their neutrality, while Italy affirms its
"non-belligerency". (Mikko Härmeinen)
Strength of Armed forces of the combatants.
CHINA: The light cruiser USS Marblehead (CL-12) transports US Marines from Chinwangtao to Shanghai to bring the 4th Marine Regiment to full strength in the event that the Japanese try to take advantage of the war in Europe. (Jack McKillop)
CANADA: The War Measures Act is invoked, and the Defence of Canada Regulations are invoked under the Act. This act appropriates required regulatory acts and authority from the provinces. Canadians of German descent and Canadian Communist Party members are detained under the Act. Later this will be extended to Canadians of Italian and Japanese descent. Up to 250 Communists, left-wingers and other perceived opponents of the war effort are detained. Communists are targeted ostensibly because of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. (Dave Hornford)
The 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions are authorized as the Canadian Active Service Force. The Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy Reserve and Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve are placed on active service.
The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the Royal 22e Regiment, the Royal Regiment of Canada and 14 militia regiments are mobilized. (Jack McKillop)
Patrol craft (ex fishing vessels) hired for Canadian West Coast: HMCS Algie, Santa Maria, San Tomas, Marauder, West Coast, Mitchell Bay, Cape Beale and Takla.
Schooner HMCS Venture paid off to
become tender to RN 3rd Battle Squadron in
Halifax. (Dave Shirlaw)
NEWFOUNDLAND: The Act for the Defence of Newfoundland is instituted to grant The Commission of Government broad powers over economic and social life as necessary to defend the country. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.A.: President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Admiral William D. Leahy, who has recently retired as Chief of Naval Operations, as Work Projects Administrator for the Territory of Puerto Rico. (Jack McKillop)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeals to Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Poland to have their armed forces "in no event and under no circumstances" bombard civilians or unfortified cities under conditions of reciprocity. (Jack McKillop)
George Catlett Marshall sworn in as Chief of Staff.
Marine garrison withdrawn from
Chinwangtao to Shanghai to consolidate Fourth Marines.
Transport is on USS
The entire long range bomber force of the USAAC consists of 17 Boeing four-engine bombers: one XB-15, 13 Y1B-17s and three B-17Bs. (Jack McKillop)
Two motion pictures are released today:
* The mystery "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," based on a story by Arthur Conan Doyle, is directed by Alfred L. Werker and stars Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Ida Lupino. The plot has Holmes trying to outwit Professor Moriarty who is planning to steal the Crown Jewels.
* The comedy "The Women," based on a play by Clare Boothe Luce, is directed by George Cukor and stars an all female cast, i.e., Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Marjorie Main, Virginia Grey, Ruth Hussey, Hedda Hopper and Mary Beth Hughes; Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen appear in uncredited bit parts. The plot involves divorce, cattiness and competition in a group of female "friends." (Jack McKillop)
CUBA: Cuban President Federico Laredo Bru issues a proclamation declaring the neutral position of Cuba's government. (Jack McKillop)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: German ship Admiral Graf Spee refuels from the tanker Altmark southwest of the Canary Islands. Altmark obtained the fuel oil in Port Arthur, Texas, USA in August. Meanwhile, the German raider Deutschland is in the North Atlantic ready to commence operations. (Jack McKillop)
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