The World War II Multimedia Database

For the 72 Million


The war begins September 1, 1939. Attacking in Poland after signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union the week before, German and Soviet troops divide the defeated country. Poland would endure the longest occupation of the European War. World War II begins when the British and French declare war on September 3, but they do not invade – instead a “Phoney War” pauses combat for the winter. The British public calls it the “Sitzkrieg.”

In China, the Sino-Japanese War that reignited in 1937, continues. Since the Mukden Railroad incident in 1931, low-intensity conflicts between Chinese and Japanese troops builds until open war breaks out. Japan successfully takes many urban areas but cannot destroy either the Communist or Nationalist Chinese forces entirely. By 1939, the Chinese peasants are suffering at the hands of all three armies.

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