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  • ✪ Poland Falls and China Rises - WW2 - 006 October 6 1939
  • ✪ October 6, 2018


October 6th, 1939. When Germany invaded Poland, everyone thought that a successful invasion would take months, even considering the might of the German Army. Then the USSR also invaded and now, just one month from the war's beginning, the Polish Armed Forces' resistance is at an end. I'm Indy Neidell. This is World War Two. Last week Warsaw fell to the Germans as both they and the Soviets continued their invasions of Poland. Germany and the USSR signed a treaty of friendship that partitioned Poland between them and Adolf Hitler set his sights on Western Europe. Oddly enough, as of this week, Western Europe kind of now included Poland: on September 30th, a new Polish government was set up in exile in Paris. Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz is the new President and General Wladyslaw Sikorski Commander-in-chief of the armed forces and Prime Minister. Around 100,000 Polish troops managed to escape into either Hungary, Romania, or the Baltics, despite the efforts of the Russians and Germans. Now, I mentioned two weeks ago that the Polish government had crossed into Romania and been interned, that was because by issuing a proclamation for Poles to continue the fight and head to France. They were technically a belligerent regime on Romanian territory. And when the Germans protested, the Romanians complied with international law rather than risk German intervention. With now former president Ignacy Moscicki under house arrest, there was a real risk that Poland would be stuck without a government and a German puppet regime would be recognized by neutral nations. Moscicki nominated Raczkiewicz and the first Paris meeting of the government-in-exile was held October 2nd. Bucharest itself was flooded with Polish refugees, but most Romanian officials were pretty well disposed toward them. To leave Romania, though, you need a passport, so the Polish Embassy was working overtime and an exodus of Poles towards Yugoslavia or across the Black Sea two points further was beginning. On October 5th, Raczkiewicz sent a message to the Polish people: "It is not the first time in our history that the head of state and the national government has had to take refuge from the motherland which has been overrun by an enemy.... In the course of a thousand years we have defended more than once our existence and Christian civilization against the thirst for conquest and oppression by Germany and against her barbarous oriental ally... I profoundly believe that the heroic contribution of Poland to the Anglo-French coalition war will not be in vain... It will result in final victory." And speaking of the Orient and victory those two words were quite topical this week. In China the First Battle of Changsha ended this week. This was the first major battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the war between China and Japan has been going on the past two years, to fall within the scope of this channel. That war is considered by many to be part of the Second World War, though Japan was not allied with Germany or anything, but the war in Europe and the war in East Asia were affecting each other as the Soviets were dealing with both the Japanese and the Germans. After a couple of years of fighting the Chinese war had become kind of a stalemate, but the Chinese army had just had a big morale boost when the Russians and Mongolians badly defeated the Japanese at the end of August we saw last month. And a successful attack on the Chinese now would in turn be a much-needed morale boost for the Japanese army. And the Soviets and Japanese had recently signed an armistice, so the Japanese could put them out of the picture for the time being, and focus on trying to beat the Chinese and then installing a puppet government in central China much as they had already done in Manchuria. Japanese forces were converging on Changsha by mid-September and the battle began September 17th. Sidenote here, the attacks would include poison gas - the Japanese had not signed the Geneva Protocol. By September 23rd, the Chinese had been driven from the Xinqiang River region and Changsha had been surrounded on three sides. By the end of September, advance Japanese troops had reached the outskirts of the city. But they had taken heavy casualties and were in danger of overstretching their supply lines, which were being constantly harassed and were possibly in danger of being cut altogether, so they withdrew. The Chinese pursued them straight away and began a general counter-attack October 3rd. Japanese general Yasuji Okamura ordered the whole offensive called off. The Chinese shot down the plane carrying the order. By the week's end, the Japanese were being destroyed and were in full retreat northward over the Miluo River. Within days, the Chinese will have retaken the territory they lost in Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces. Changsha was the first major city that had managed to repel the Japanese advances. As you can imagine, it was a big boost for the Chinese nationalists and the Japanese were foiled for the time being from consolidating their gains in southern China. But in Europe, the Polish Army's resistance was coming to an end as the Germans and Russians consolidated their gains. Admiral Unrug's garrison on Hel Peninsula finally surrendered to the Germans. On the 30th a series of land mines were detonated. This nearly cut off the peninsula from the mainland. Unrug was determined to fight even after the surrender of Warsaw last week, but as October rolled in he realized it was futile. The garrison surrendered October 2nd. On the 3rd, the last significant Polish unit surrendered near Lublin. The Germans have taken 700,000 prisoners of war and the Soviets 200,000. Polish casualties are heavy: an estimated 70,000 killed and 133,000 wounded. The Germans have 10,000 dead and 30,000 wounded. The available casualty estimates from the Soviet invasion are chilling: the Red Army is said to have lost 996 men killed and 2002 wounded, while the Poles are said to have suffered 50,000 fatalities without any figure for the wounded. Such a figure can perhaps only be explained by executions. I'm going to throw in another quote here about the German invasion. That's pretty interesting. "Although tank units have played a notable part in the campaign, it is interesting to note that the contemporary German official appreciations lay more stress on the traditional-style infantry battles. The tank forces are seen at this stage, except by enthusiasts like Guderian, as little more than useful auxiliaries who can help the infantry do the real work." A day after the main fighting ended, Adolf Hitler issued an amnesty order to German troops who had killed prisoners or civilians, presuming that they had acted from bitterness over atrocities committed by Poles. The next day the 5th, at the victory parade in Warsaw, Hitler said to the assembled foreign journalists: "Gentlemen, you have seen the ruins of Warsaw. Let that be a warning to those statesmen in London and Paris who still think of continuing the war." Okay, that was to journalists. The day after that, as the week ended, Hitler had a major speech to the Reichstag. He talked then of his desire for peace with Britain and France. He says he has no war aims against them and up to now has only corrected the unjust Versailles Treaty. He blames warmongers like Churchill for the current state of affairs and even calls for a conference to resolve their differences. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain says that to consider this would be to forgive Germany for its aggression. He and French Prime Minister Édouard Daladier tell Hitler no way Jose. There was a conference that took place this week, though. The second Pan-American conference was held the 2nd with 21 nations participating. They established a 300-mile (480-kilometer) security zone off the American coast. Any act of war in this zone against anyone will be interpreted as a hostile attack on America. And the war at sea was in fact heating up: on the 30th the German pocket battleship Graf Spee sinks its first merchant ship, the British freighter Clement, off the coast of Brazil. On October 5th, eight British and French hunting groups are formed to look for the Graf Spee. Now, the other pocket battleship on the loose, the Deutschland, sinks the Stonegate in the neutrality zone. Deutschland would also seize an American ship as a prize of war. This turned out to be a big mistake. Combined with the Polish invasion, this really helped turn American public opinion not just against the Germans, but against the Neutrality Acts which banned loans or the sale of munitions to belligerents. Early next month, this will help result in President Franklin Roosevelt getting a new Neutrality Act passed that allows the arms trade with belligerent nations (read: Britain and France) on a cash-and-carry basis. The recipients would have to use their own ships, pay immediately in cash (still no loans), and assume all transportation risk - American shipping was forbidden from entering the war zone. And here are some notes to end the week: on the 2nd, the Soviets threatened an ocupation if they don't get to use military bases in Latvia. Three days later the Latvians and the Soviet Union signed a 10-year mutual assistance pact. The Soviets can have 25,000 men on Latvian bases. This follows a similar agreement signed with the Estonians last week. Lithuania is now pressured to do likewise but they're reluctant. And as the week ends, the Finns mobilize their standing armed forces, more about why next week. So this week is now at an end as is Polish armed resistance to the invaders. Well, in Poland that is, because there is now a Polish government in Paris to continue the fight. Chinese resistance scores a big victory over the Japanese, an American resistance to the German naval campaign grows stronger, and... Hitler issued an amnesty for those of his men who had killed civilians or prisoners of war. We've seen that there had been a lot of that this first month of the war. You may think though that the issuing of such an amnesty means that those killings are only in the past tense. They are not. They very much continue day after day after day. Please join the Time Ghost Army and support the effort to make even more content like this. Every dollar counts. See you next time.





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  1. ^ "Melania Mazzucco". The Institute of Modern Languages Research. 22 March 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  2. ^ "NIKO KARI 2016 - 2017". Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Cléo de Verberena - a primeira cineasta mulher do Brasil". Caixa de Sucessos. Retrieved 2018-05-09.

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This page was last edited on 10 January 2020, at 11:13
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