This day in 1939 (75 years ago), the Second World War began with the German invasion of Poland. When done, the war would redefine the world and still reverberates today.
A common misconception about the war’s beginning was the so-called “Polish Corridor” was imposed on Germany in 1918; in reality, the German-Polish border was drawn to nearly match the 1772 frontier.
Poland fell after six weeks of fighting, but did not surrender; the government and many soldiers escaped to the West – most never to return. Others fell into the hands of the USSR, and many died or were executed.
An excellent précis can be found here: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005070
The picture above (taken 11 June 2014) shows 45 unknown graves of Polish soldiers from the 1939 campaign in the community cemetery in Ciechanow, Poland. The author’s great-grandparents are buried yards away.