Monday, November 23, 2015

August 14, 1939: Hitler Decides To Attack Poland

Monday 14 August 1939

Hitler in Berchtesgaden at the Berghof
Hitler at the Berghof, 14 August 1939.
German Military Strategy: On this day, Adolf Hitler holds a meeting at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden with his ministers and military leaders. He declares that it is his unalterable will to invade Poland later that month. He sets a tentative date of 26 August. The code for the operation is Case White (code names were sometimes re-used).

On the same day, Hitler decides to send Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to Moscow to see if he can arrange an alliance with the Soviets. Moscow had been signaling since the spring (such as by Stalin replacing a pro-Western foreign minister with his crony Molotov, seen as more pro-German) that it was interested in developing closer relations with Germany. The feeling in Berlin was that Soviet Premier Josef Stalin had felt betrayed by the Western Allies' 1938 Munich Agreement, and believed he could not trust them. In addition, Stalin felt that the western powers had snubbed him, most recently by sending two low-ranking officers to see him about a military alliance rather than someone more senior.

Hitler, realizing that a deal might be obtainable against all the odds, instructed his Foreign Minister to go in person (rather than an underling as originally planned) in order to flatter Stalin. At this point, though, there is no indication that anything immediate would come of the talks, and nobody knows how Stalin would react to a German invasion of Poland. For Ribbentrop, it is a sweet chance to get back at the British, who he felt had mistreated him when he was ambassador to England in 1937.

Joachim von Ribbentrop.


8-9 November 1923: Beer Hall Putsch

December 20, 1924: Hitler Leaves Prison

September 18, 1931: Geli Raubal Commits Suicide

November 8, 1932: Roosevelt is Elected

30 January 1933: Hitler Takes Office
February 27, 1933: Reichstag Fire
March 23, 1933: The Enabling Act

June 20, 1934: Hitler Plans the Night of the Long Knives
June 30, 1934: Night of the Long Knives

August 1, 1936: Opening of the Berlin Olympics

September 30, 1938: The Munich Agreement
November 9, 1938: Kristallnacht

August 1, 1939: Flight Tests of B-17 Flying Fortress
August 2, 1939: Einstein and the Atom Bomb
August 7, 1939: Goering Tries to Broker Peace
August 14, 1939: Hitler Decides To Attack Poland
August 15, 1939: U-Boats Put To Sea
August 16, 1939: Incident at Danzig
August 20, 1939: Battle of Khalkhin Gol
August 22, 1939: Hitler Tips His Hand
August 23, 1939: Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact
August 25, 1939: Hitler Postpones Invasion of Poland
August 27, 1939: First Jet Flight
August 31, 1939: The Gleiwitz Operation


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