A Select Weekly Record of the Most Important War Declarations and statements:
Sunday September 3rd 1939
Leaflets distributed by the Royal Air Force in West and North Germany:
“Deliberately and coldly the Government of the Reich has forced war upon England. Never before has any Government driven its citizens to death on such futile pretexts. This war is perfectly unnecessary. The soil and the rights of Germany were menaced from no side at all. Nobody hindered the reoccupation of the Rhineland, not the completion of the Anschluss or the Bloodless linking of the Sudetenland with the Reich.
Neither England nor any other Powers attempted to check the rebuilding of the Reich, so long as the Reich did not forcefully crush the independence of non-German nations.
“All German demands could have been considered as long as they were justified. Instead of that your Government has sentenced you to a bath of blood, to distress and to war that you cannot hope to win. We have not been ‘betrayed’; you Germans have been betrayed. During many years a reckless censorship has hidden the truth from you, a truth that even uncivilised nations knew. We and our allies have at our disposal considerable reserves. We are too strong to be broken. We can fight against you until you are entirely exhausted. You, people of Germany, now, and at any moment, have the right to make peace. We, too, hope for peace, and we are already prepared to conclude peace with any German Government which has a sincere determination for peace.”
Monday September 4th
General Smuts, speaking in the Parliament of the Union of South Africa:
“General Hertzog has said this matter of Danzig is a Polish affair with which South Africa has nothing to do. But I am profoundly convinced that although Danzig and the Polish corridor were the immediate occasion of war, the real issue goes beyond Danzig and Poland and touches South Africa.
“General Hertzog has made a statement which I regard as resembling a ‘complete’ justification of Herr Hitler. I do not think that the people of the Union, in their vital interest as South Africans, could hope to justify that view. Nothing could be more fatal for South Africa, poor is it is in defence, and rich as it is in resources, to dissociate itself directly or indirectly from its friends in the Commonwealth.
“It is not only a question of loyalty and self-respect – which I assume we all feel deeply: it is a question of importance and of the deepest interest to the future of South Africa. If we dissociate ourselves deliberately and conspicuously from the line of action taken by other members of the Commonwealth, we are going to get what we deserve, and the day will come – and it will not be far off – when the same treatment will be applied to us. And as surely as you are seated here – when the German demand for the return of South West Africa is made at the point of the bayonet, we shall stand alone…..”
Declaration by the British Labour Party to the Czechoslovakian peoples, broadcast in their own language by secret means:
“Being in close contact with their Czechoslovakian friends now outside their community, the Labour Party is well aware of the sufferings of the peoples. Now is the time to put an end to the brutal violence endangering all Europe. We are calling from London to Prague and Bratislava. We are calling all workers of Czechoslovakia.
“Remain firm, Keep your hearts strong in the new wave of violence. Remain true to the deeds and principles of the great Thomas Masaryk. The hour of your liberation is near.”
Tuesday September 5th
Message to the Independent Labour Party from the Independent Socialists of Germany, smuggled across the frontiers at great risk to its bearers:
“In the moment before the cannons speak, before the world faces, horror and slaughter, we send out message to you. The German workers do not want this war, the German peasants do not want war. We love Germany, the country where we have been born and educated, but we have nothing in common with the present regime. In our illegal pamphlets, spread even among the fortifications workers watched by the Gestapo, we have protested against the annexation of Czechoslo1vakia, against Hitler’s policy of aggression and war. This war is not our war, this fight is not our fight. Our common Fatherland is humanity”
Saturday, SEptember 6th
From the broadcast to the British people made by the Polish Ambassador in London, Count Raczynski:
“September 1st will go in history as a day of shame for the brutal aggressors, and as the opening of a new chapter in the life of Europe.
“Since that day my country has been incessantly battered by practically the whole of the German army and continuously bombed by its entire air force. The losses suffered by Poland in territory and economic resources are certainly great, and owing to the crushing superiority of the enemy in equipment the Polish armies did not have as yet a chance of making full use of their skill and daring manoeuvres.
“But our resistance has not been broken. Reserves are called up, the troops are occupying new positions and the fighting goes on. The day of aggression was fixed by the enemy beforehand with ruthless precision. It was known to be planned for the beginning of September and some excuse or other has to be found by that time. When Nazi Germany struck at Poland with all her might Poland had no choice but to take up arms in defence of her independence.
“The one excuse invented by the fertile brain of the German Fuehrer was the alleged maltreatment of the German minority in Polish lands. The excuse is poor and the accusation is slander. All who know the position of the German minority in Poland, small in numbers by enjoying an important status due to its money power and to the spirit of tolerance displayed in Poland, stand amazed at the impudence of German mendacity. And this impudence shows no sign of abating.
“May I take this opportunity to utter, before the whole civilised world, the most solemn protest against the calumnies with which the aggressor attempts to besmirch the good name of the Polish nation?
“It seems the simplest thing that could be done to defend the “homes of Poland” against a cruel and unscrupulous aggressor. And yet, by doing it, Poland turned a new leaf in recent European history, for Poland was the first nation which dared to defy Hitler’s challenge and meet his attack with fire. The act of courage was a great service rendered to all the free nations of the world. The time was bound to come when the Nazi method of extortion would meet with strong resistance. But the fact is that Poland was the first nation to do it, and she accepted an unusual struggle rather than join the ranks of those who allowed themselves to be the victims of Nazi blackmail.”
source: war illustrated