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Monday, 15 April, 2024
03September 1939

Britain and France declare war on Germany

The world was plunged into chaos today as World War II officially began with the declaration of war by France and the United Kingdom against Germany following its invasion of Poland two days ago.

The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, addressed the nation at 11am.

This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.

I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, addressing the nation via the radio at 11:15am.

Amidst the rising tensions in Europe, diplomatic efforts to prevent the outbreak of war have faltered. The signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23, 1939, a non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union, has paved the way for Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1. 

Today sees the culmination of weeks of international unease. As Germany continued its aggressive expansion, the United Kingdom and France, bound by mutual defence agreements with Poland, finally issued ultimatums to Germany to withdraw its forces from Poland. When these demands went unanswered, the two countries honoured their commitments and declared war on Germany.

In other news…

The British cruise liner Athenia was today sunk by the German u-boat U-30. 117 passengers died as a result, including 28 Americans. The America cargo ship SS City of Flint was able to rescue 200 survivors

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