The following table charts the main events of World War Two which took place during 1939, providing a clear overview of the war’s build up and development.
|1 September||Nazi Germany invasion of Poland which began from 4.45 in the morning. The Luftwaffe (Nazi Germany’s air force) attacked Polish targets. Blackout and evacuation plans started to be rolled out in Britain.|
Britain and France issued an ultimatum to Hitler. Unless Nazi Germany withdrew German troops from Poland, war would be declared.
The Luftwaffe gained dominance over the Polish air force.
By 11.30 am, Germany had not withdrawn its troops from Poland. Britain and France therefore declared war on Germany. British troops (the BEF) were sent to France.
A British cruise ship, the SS Athenia, was torpedoed a German submarine off Ireland. It was travelling from Scotland to Canada. More than 100 passengers were killed. This marked the start of the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’.
|4 September||German warships based in the Heligoland Bight were raided by the RAF.|
|6 September||South Africa declared war on Germany; Egypt disconnected their links with Germany.|
|9 September||The IV Panzer Division reached Warsaw in Poland.|
|17 September||The Russian Red Army launched an attack on Poland from the east.|
|24 September||Warsaw was bombed by 1,150 German aircraft.|
|26 September||The Luftwaffe attacked the Royal Navy at Scapa Flow.|
|27 September||Poland admitted defeat to Nazi Germany.|
|6 October||The Polish September Campaign, led by Polish resisters, ended. Hitler launched his "Peace Offensive" but Neville Chamberlain rejected it.|
|14 October||'HMS Royal Oak' was torpedoed at Scapa Flow by U-47.|
|30 November||The Soviet Union invaded Finland, starting the Winter War.|
|13 December||The Battle of the River Plate took place off Montevideo in Uruguay. The British Navy attacked the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee. Its captain, Hans Langsdorff, scuttled the cruiser on 17 December.|
|14 December||The USSR was expelled from the League of Nations because of its invasion of Finland.|
"World War Two 1939". HistoryLearning.com. 2023. Web.