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The result of the german blitzkrieg on poland

Blitzkrieg

Visit Website Shortly after noon on August 31, Hitler ordered hostilities against Poland to begin at 4: They also left behind a handful of dead concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms to serve as further evidence of the supposed Polish invasion, which Nazi propagandists publicized as an unforgivable act of aggression. Nazi diplomats and propagandists scrambled to head off hostilities with the Western powers, but on September 2 Britain and France demanded that Germany withdraw by September 3 or face war.

German invasion of Poland, What is the significance of this event?

Australia, New Zealand, and India followed suit shortly thereafter. In Poland, German forces advanced at a dizzying rate. Meanwhile, the sophisticated German air force—the Luftwaffe—destroyed Polish air capability, provided air support for the blitzkrieg, and indiscriminately bombed Polish cities in an effort to further terrorize the enemy. The Polish army was able to mobilize one million men but was hopelessly outmatched in every respect.

Blitzkrieg Tactics: Lightning Conquest of Poland

Rather than take a strong defensive position, troops were rushed to the front to confront the Germans and were systematically captured or annihilated. In a famously ill-fated strategy, Polish commanders even sent horsed cavalry into battle against the heavy German armor. By September 8, German forces had reached the outskirts of Warsaw, having advanced 140 miles in the first week of the invasion. The Polish armed forces hoped to hold out long enough so that an offensive could be mounted against Germany in the west, but on September 17 Soviet forces invaded from the east and all hope was lost.

Germans invade Poland

On September 28, the Warsaw garrison finally surrendered to a relentless German siege. For the fourth time in its history, Poland was partitioned by its more powerful neighbors.

  • The aim of German military planners in both the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich was to achieve victory by enveloping enemy armies, threatening their lines of supply and communications, and forcing them to fight in an unexpected direction;
  • By 8 September the leading Panzers were on the outskirts of Warsaw, having covered 140 miles in only eight days;
  • On September 27th, Warsaw surrendered;
  • However, only hours before the attack Hitler cancelled the invasion when his ally Mussolini declared that Italy was not ready to go to war, and Britain declared a formal military alliance with Poland;
  • The result was the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact on 23 August 1939.

Despite their declaration of war against Germany, Britain and France did little militarily to aid Poland. Britain bombed German warships on September 4, but Chamberlain resisted bombing Germany itself.

  • Did the invasion of Poland really prove that blitzkrieg tactics were so very powerful?
  • The Polish army was predominantly made up of slow moving infantry, unable to respond to the swift strikes of the Germans.

Though Germans kept only 23 divisions in the west during their campaign in Poland, France did not launch a full-scale attack even though it had mobilized over four times that number. There were modest assaults by France on its border with Germany but these actions ceased with the defeat of Poland. During the German occupation, nearly three million Polish Jews were killed in the Nazi death camps.

  • The term blitzkrieg was in fact never used in the title of a German military manual or handbook;
  • Coming at the end of the summer, the invasion occurred while the ground was hard and dry, adding to the ease with which the German troops advanced;
  • In total, 90,000 Polish military personnel escaped to either Hungary or Rumania and a number of Polish airman fought with distinction in the Battle of Britain;
  • German Soldier Marching in Parade — 1939;
  • The Polish armed forces, though hardy and courageous, were badly suited to facing these new German tactics;
  • Even with other tactics, the Germans would almost certainly have won.

The Nazis also severely persecuted the Slavic majority, deporting and executing Poles in an attempt to destroy the intelligentsia and Polish culture. A large Polish resistance movement effectively fought against the occupation with the assistance of the Polish government-in-exile.

The Attack on Poland

Many exiled Poles also fought for the Allied cause. The Soviets completed the liberation of Poland in 1945 and established a communist government in the nation.