As Adolf Hitler took control of Germany, his power created a lust to control other nations and that lust led to millions of deaths and years of warfare across Europe.
On August 31, 1939, Hitler issued the orders to invade Poland. The plan was to use his lightning war tactic, also known as a Blitzkrieg.
On September 1, 1939, two major German army groups storm across the Polish border. Additionally, a number of German planes began bombing strategic targets inside Poland. One of the major German army groups, known as Army Group South was tasked with taking Warsaw, the capital of Poland.
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On September 6, 1939, many among the Polish government and military leadership fled the country. Krakow, the largest city in southern Poland surrendered to the German forces which helped the city from being totally destroyed. It was later made the capital of the new General Government created by Germany. The German forces moved so fast into Poland that by the end of the 6th, they had moved over 60 miles north into Poland, past the city of Lodz. Warsaw was only about 35 miles away to the east northeast.
On September 8, 1939, German tanks reached the Bug River east of Warsaw around the area where it joins with the Narew and the Vistula Rivers. The German 14th Army reached the southeastern city of Przemysl, which lies along the San River which was an important trade route between Middle and Eastern Europe. The German 10th Army arrived on the outskirts of Warsaw.
On September 9, 1939, German ground forces arrived on the outskirts of Warsaw. They covered around 200 miles in 7 days which at the time was nearly unheard of for such a large ground force. As German forces arrived at the cities of Kutno and Bzura, they are met with resistance from Polish Poznan army units.
On September 10, 1939, the German army defeated Polish military units at Modline, located about 20 miles north of Warsaw.
On September 17, 1939, German forces take 170,000 Polish prisoners as the Polish military units north of Lodz along the Bzura River surrender. At the same time, Russian forces begin their invasion of Poland from the east, attacking near Vilnius and Bialyustok.
On September 18, 1939, the remaining Polish government leaves the county and establishes a government-in-exile in Romania. Russian forces take the city of Vilnius, located today in the southeast part of Lithuania.
On September 19, 1939, contingencies of the Russian and German armies meet and join forces at Brest-Litovsk, located east of Warsaw. Today, Brest-Litovsk lies in the southwest corner of Belarus.
On September 22, 1939, Russian forces capture the cities of Lwow (today Lviv in western Ukraine) and Bialystok (in eastern Poland). On June 29, 1941, German forces then occupying Lwow began slaughtering thousands of prisoners, Jews and Russians.
On this day, September 27, 1939, after days of heavy shelling, the Polish capital of Warsaw surrenders to German forces who take 140,000 Polish troops as prisoners. Officially, the nation of Poland has surrendered after less than a month of heavy bombardment, shelling and ground fighting. The German forces proved to be too fast and powerful for the Polish forces to resist.
On September 29, 1939, Germany and Russia sign the German-Soviet Boundary Friendship Treaty dividing the captured nation into an eastern and western zone. Germany took control over the western zone which consists of much of modern day Poland and the Russians took control over the eastern zone which today comprises sections of eastern Poland as well as western sections of the Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, along with a small region along the northern coast that still belongs to Russia. The German invasion of Poland left many Polish cities in ruins from heavy bombing and shelling.
[NOTE] the video below is in German but shows the German invasion and capture of Poland.
Sources for the above includes: Timeline of Selected Events 1931-1945; World War II in Europe; Timeline of Poland in World War 2; Poland Surrenders; Invasion of Poland, Fall 1939; The Attack on Poland; Invasion of Poland; Invasion of Poland; How Kraków Made It Unscathed Through WWII; Today, June 29, 1941: Slaughter of Thousands in Lvov, Ukraine