The battle began at 4:45 am with the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opening fire with her huge guns on the Polish military garrison at Danzig. Just over an hour later, German bombers began a merciless pummeling of Warsaw and war was underway.
Chamberlain was shocked. After all, he and French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier had been assured during their meeting for peace with Hitler in Munich that he had no intention of commandeering Europe. While he had captured Czechoslovakia nearly effortlessly in March of 1939, the European leaders were unwilling to face the facts that were becoming clear. Accordingly, Hitler, thinking that the French and British were "all talk and no action" gambled that there would be no forceful response to the Polish tragedy.
The Polish Army was brave and fearless, but soldiers with muskets and old rifles were no match for the German Air Force with its 1300 aircraft and "blitzkrieg" Army forces including tanks and the latest weaponry and a troop strength of 62 combat divisions. The brave Polish resistance was quickly crushed and Germany was officially declared victorious on September 27th.
Britain and France, however, unlike the prediction of Hitler, chose not to remain silent and both nations quickly declared war after the fall of Warsaw. The long and bloody struggle known as World War II was underway.
It would be over two years before the United States joined in the fray on the side of the British. While we did set up several aid programs and many American volunteers, especially aviators, volunteered to fight alongside their British cousins, it took the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan, a German axis ally, to draw America actively into battle. And with it would come four long years of death, destruction, and heartache. In the end, however, America's might prevailed and the world avoided what could have been a untenable situation.
And this brings to mind one other factor that we seldom talk about which impacts us today. After victory in World War I, America let her guard down and our military forces were reduced to dangerously low levels. We seem to be doing the same thing right now despite the threats of Iran and other dangerous tyrants around the world. Will we learn from history before its too late or will the same fate soon befall us again? Think about this carefully as history does indeed tend to repeat itself. A strong and economically healthy nation is one which survives.