Archive for August 31st, 2008

It’s good to be back!!

I often took my lunch with me in grade school and, as I recall things, I had a bicentennial lunchbox that depicted scenes from the American Revolution.  While all red, white, and blue like most things from 1976, this lunchbox was a “comic strip” version, with the scenes played out in panel form.  One 3-panel comic depicted Paul Revere’s ride.  The first 2 panels showed our hero on his charger shouting, “The British are coming, the British are coming!!!”, while the 3rd showed him stopped and surrounded by British soldiers with one of them saying, “Riiiight.”  Ok, it’s not THAT funny, but it was the 70’s and it was a lunchbox, so expectations should be somewhat tempered.

I mention that because World War II started in a somewhat similar (humorous) fashion, with the Germans making the laughable claim that the Poles were invading Germany.  I don’t want to knock the Polish too much here, as they possessed a reasonable military (though their air force was pretty awful).  But relative to the quality of the army on the other side of the German-Polish border, the “aggressor” wasn’t even capable of pointing west, much less attacking west.

Still, Adolf Hitler needed a catalyst.  And over the preceding years, he had learned that the best sparks are made-up ones, so that’s what he did this time, too.  On August 31, 1939, German operatives staged numerous small incidents along the border.

The most famous of these occurred at the radio station in Gleiwitz, located on the border in Upper Silesia, Germany.  Germans dressed in Polish uniforms “attacked” the station, shot it up, broadcast some anti-German statements over the air, and left the bodies of some Polish sympathizers and prisoners as evidence of the attack.

Then, of course, came the broadcasts by Nazi propaganda about how the Poles had violated German sovreignty and defensive action was needed.  The German dictator had all the reason necessary to attack Poland, and said the victor in a battle would never need to talk about what really happened anyway.  The War was about to be engaged…

Recommended Reading: Adolf Hitler – The Definitive Biography

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