Blitzkrieg September 1, 1939: a new kind of warfare engulfs Poland

. . . As the clever hopes expire

Of a low dishonest decade:

Waves of anger and fear

Circulate over the bright

And darkened lands of the earth

-- SEPTEMBER 1, 1939, by W.H. AUDEN

(c) 1940 by W.H. Auden. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.

Treachery, lies and murder -- those were the hallmarks of Adolf Hitler's launching of World War II. The German Wehrmacht had its orders to invade Poland at dawn of Sept. 1, 1939, but the first killings actually occurred the night before near a border town called Gleiwitz. There German SS troops took twelve prisoners...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!