Invasion of Poland (1939) facts for kids

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Invasion of Poland (1939)
Part of World War II
Second World War Europe.png
The map shows the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939 in a wider European context.
Date 1 September – 6 October 1939
Location Poland
Result Decisive German/Slovak and Soviet victory. Beginning of World War II
Territorial
changes
Polish territory divided between Germany, the USSR, Lithuania and Slovakia
Participants
 Germany
Slovakia Slovakia

Soviet Union Soviet Union (After September 17, see details)

Poland Poland
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Fedor von Bock
(Army Group North)

Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt
(Army Group South)

Slovakia Ferdinand Čatloš
(Army Bernolák)


Soviet Union Kliment Voroshilov
(Belorussian Front)

Soviet Union Mikhail Kovalev
(Belorussian Front)

Soviet Union Semyon Timoshenko
(Ukrainian Front)

Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły
Strength
Germany:
60 divisions,
6 brigades,
9,000 guns,
2,750 tanks,
2,315 aircraft
Slovakia:
3 divisions

Joined on 17 September:
Soviet Union:
33+ divisions,
11+ brigades,
4,959 guns,
4,736 tanks,
3,300 aircraft


Total:
1,500,000 Germans,
466,516 Soviets,
51,306 Slovaks
Grand total: 2,000,000+

Poland:
39 divisions (some of them were never fully mobilized and concentrated),
16 brigades,
4,300 guns,
880 tanks,
400 aircraft
Total: 950,000
Casualties and losses
Germany:
16,343 killed,
3,500 missing,
30,300 wounded
Slovakia:
37 killed,
11 missing,
114 wounded

USSR:
1,475 killed or missing,
2,383 wounded

Poland:
66,000 dead,
133,700 wounded,
694,000 captured

The Invasion of Poland in 1939 was a military offensive in which Nazi Germany, and two weeks later the Soviet Union, invaded Poland. It was the start of World War II in Europe. The invasion took place from 1 September to 6 October 1939. The invasion of Poland caused Britain and France to declare war on Germany on 3 September; they did little to affect the September Campaign. In the end, Poland lost and Germany and the Soviet Union divided the country, following a treaty signed years before the war.

This was the first time blitzkrieg was tried on the battlefield. The German surprise attack was successful. It was very effective against the ineffective and unmobilized Polish Army, whose tanks and airplanes were few and mostly old. They were outflanked, outmaneuvered, and outnumbered in September 1939, and easily destroyed by the blitzkrieg. The Poles if well prepared could have had two million soldiers in the fight.

The invasion came directly from the Gleiwitz incident, where German soldiers dressed as Polish troops occupied a radio station and transmitted Anti-German messages. The next morning German forces pushed the Polish defenders from the border back to inland Poland. After the Battle of the Bzura the Polish were forced to defend Warsaw, while the rest defended the Polish-Romanian border, waiting for the long awaited Allied support which was in the campaign very limited.

The Polish saw how their country was destroyed by war, as their newest enemy, the Soviet Union, attacked the Polish on the 17th of September, destroying all hopes of a Polish victory. The Polish government ordered that all forces retreat to Romania through the border. After the occupation of Poland the remaining Polish forces joined the Western Allies, while some joined the Russian on their fight against Germany.

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