The First Country Invaded by Germany in WW2

Are you curious about the first country that Germany invaded in WW2? In this article, we’ll explore the historical background and events that led up to the invasion, as well as its impact on Poland and the rest of the world.

Join me as we delve into the factors that influenced Germany’s decision to invade, the tactics and strategies they employed during the invasion, and the aftermath of this pivotal moment in world history. Let’s uncover the story behind the first country invaded by Germany in WW2.

Background Information

Before we dive into the invasion itself, it’s important to understand the context in which it occurred. The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, placed harsh penalties and restrictions on Germany, including the loss of territory and military restrictions.

This left many Germans feeling resentful and humiliated, and Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party rose to power by promising to restore Germany’s former glory. Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy and expansionist goals eventually led to the invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the beginning of World War II.

Additionally, the appeasement policies of other European nations, such as the Munich Agreement, allowed Hitler to annex parts of Czechoslovakia and emboldened him to pursue further aggression. All of these factors set the stage for the invasion of Poland and the devastating conflict that followed.

Factors Leading to the Invasion

Understanding the factors that led to Germany’s invasion of Poland is crucial to comprehending the full scope of World War II. One of the main factors was the desire to expand Germany’s territory and to gain access to Poland’s rich resources, such as oil and grain. Additionally, Hitler viewed Poland as a threat to Germany’s security, citing the Polish Corridor as a cause for concern.

Moreover, the policy of appeasement from other European nations, which allowed Hitler to rearm and annex other territories, emboldened him to pursue further aggression. These and other factors converged to create a perfect storm, ultimately resulting in the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the subsequent global conflict that followed.

The Invasion of Poland

The invasion of Poland was a significant event that marked the beginning of World War II. On September 1, 1939, German forces launched a surprise attack on Poland, swiftly overwhelming the Polish army and air force. This act of aggression was in direct violation of international law and led to a declaration of war by France and the United Kingdom.

The invasion was a strategic move by Germany to gain control of Poland’s rich resources, including coal, iron, and agricultural land. It was also a prelude to Hitler’s larger plan of expanding the German empire, known as Lebensraum, or “living space.” The invasion was swift and brutal, with many civilian casualties, and set the stage for years of devastating conflict across Europe.

Germany’s Tactics and Strategy

Germany’s tactics and strategy during the invasion of Poland were highly effective, and proved to be a major factor in their success. The German army, under the command of General Walther von Brauchitsch, utilized a combination of new technology, well-trained soldiers, and a highly coordinated attack plan to overwhelm Polish forces.

One of the key tactics employed by the Germans was the use of their new “Blitzkrieg” or “lightning war” strategy. This involved the rapid and coordinated use of tanks, infantry, and air power to create a breakthrough in enemy lines, followed by the swift exploitation of that breakthrough to encircle and destroy enemy forces.

Another important factor in the German victory was their use of radio communications to coordinate their forces. This allowed for a level of flexibility and quick decision-making that the Polish forces, who were still relying on more traditional forms of communication, were unable to match.

Finally, the Germans also utilized propaganda and psychological warfare to their advantage. They dropped leaflets and broadcast messages to the Polish people, urging them to surrender and promising that they would be treated well. This caused confusion and demoralization among the Polish forces and civilians, further aiding the German advance.

Overall, Germany’s tactics and strategy during the invasion of Poland were highly effective and allowed them to achieve their goals with relative ease. However, these tactics also had a devastating impact on Poland and its people, as we will explore in greater detail in the next section.

International Response to the Invasion

The invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939, marked the beginning of World War II in Europe. The international response to this act of aggression was mixed, with some countries condemning it and others remaining neutral or even supportive of Germany.

France and Britain, both allies of Poland, issued ultimatums to Germany to withdraw its forces, but they were ignored. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, officially marking the beginning of World War II.

Other countries, such as the Soviet Union, remained neutral in the early stages of the war but eventually entered on the side of the Allies in 1941 after Germany violated their non-aggression pact.

The United States, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, declared neutrality at the start of the war but provided aid to Britain and other Allied countries through programs such as Lend-Lease. It was not until Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, that the US officially entered the war against Germany.

The invasion of Poland and the lack of a strong international response to it highlighted the failures of the League of Nations, an intergovernmental organization created after World War I to promote international cooperation and prevent future wars. The League’s inability to stop the aggression of countries such as Germany and Japan ultimately led to its dissolution in 1946.

Impact on Poland and its People

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, it had a profound impact on the country and its people. The invasion marked the beginning of World War II and brought about years of suffering and destruction for the Polish people.

During the occupation, the German authorities established a regime of terror, persecution, and oppression. The Polish people were subjected to forced labor, imprisonment, torture, and execution. Many were sent to concentration camps, where they suffered and died.

The invasion also led to the destruction of Polish cities, infrastructure, and cultural heritage. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was almost completely destroyed during the war, with over 80% of its buildings destroyed or damaged. The destruction of cultural heritage was not limited to physical structures, as the Nazis also sought to eradicate Polish culture and identity through policies of Germanization.

Despite the atrocities committed by the Germans, the Polish people resisted the occupation and fought for their freedom. The Home Army, the largest resistance movement in occupied Europe, carried out sabotage and guerrilla warfare against the Germans. The Warsaw Uprising of 1944, in which the Home Army attempted to liberate Warsaw, remains one of the most significant acts of resistance during the war.

The impact of the German invasion on Poland and its people cannot be overstated. It brought about immense suffering, destruction, and loss of life, and had long-lasting effects on the country’s cultural, social, and political landscape.

The Aftermath of the Invasion

The aftermath of the German invasion of Poland was devastating. The country was quickly overrun, and the Polish army was no match for the German war machine. The invasion resulted in the deaths of over 66,000 Polish soldiers and nearly 6 million Polish civilians, including around 3 million Polish Jews who were systematically murdered by the Nazis.

The occupation of Poland was brutal and marked by widespread violence and oppression. The German authorities quickly established a reign of terror, executing thousands of Poles and imposing harsh penalties for even the slightest acts of resistance or dissent. The Poles were subjected to forced labor, deportation, and imprisonment in concentration and extermination camps.

The occupation of Poland also had a profound impact on the country’s culture and society. The German authorities sought to erase Polish identity and culture, banning the use of the Polish language and suppressing Polish history and traditions. Polish intellectuals, artists, and leaders were targeted for persecution and extermination, resulting in a profound loss of talent and leadership for the country.

The aftermath of the invasion of Poland marked the beginning of a long and brutal period of war and occupation for much of Europe, as the German war machine continued its conquests across the continent. The legacy of the invasion and occupation of Poland continues to be felt today, as the country continues to struggle with the trauma and legacy of the war and the atrocities committed against its people.

Lessons Learned from the Invasion

Reflecting on the invasion of Poland, there are several key lessons that we can learn from this tragic event. Firstly, it is important to recognize the dangers of appeasement and the consequences that can arise from failing to confront aggressive and expansionist powers. The appeasement policies pursued by the European powers in the lead up to World War II only served to embolden Nazi Germany and ultimately contributed to the outbreak of war.

Secondly, the invasion of Poland underscores the importance of international cooperation and collective security in maintaining peace and stability. The failure of the League of Nations to effectively respond to the aggression of Nazi Germany highlights the need for more effective mechanisms of international cooperation and the need for nations to work together to prevent future conflicts.

Thirdly, the invasion of Poland serves as a reminder of the devastating human cost of war. The invasion resulted in the deaths of millions of people, both military and civilian, and had a profound impact on the lives of countless others. It is important for us to remember the sacrifices made by those who fought and died in the war and to work towards creating a more peaceful and just world for future generations.

In conclusion, the invasion of Poland was a dark chapter in human history, but it also serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of learning from the past in order to build a better future. By reflecting on the lessons of the past, we can work towards creating a more peaceful and just world for all.

Commemorating the Invasion

The invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939 marked the beginning of World War II and a dark period in human history. As we reflect on the events that unfolded during that time, it is important to remember the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and to commemorate the lives lost.

Various memorials and monuments have been erected in Poland and around the world to remember the invasion and its impact. In Warsaw, the capital of Poland, there are several notable sites that serve as reminders of the invasion, including the Warsaw Uprising Museum and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Other notable memorials include the Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East, which honors the victims of Soviet and Nazi crimes during World War II, and the Katyń Memorial, which commemorates the thousands of Polish officers who were murdered by the Soviet secret police in 1940.

Anniversaries of the invasion are also commemorated annually in Poland and around the world. In Poland, September 1st is known as “Dzień Weterana Wojny 1939 roku” (Veterans Day of the War of 1939) and is a national holiday to honor the soldiers who fought in the war. Many other countries also mark September 1st as a day of remembrance for the invasion.

It is through these commemorations that we can ensure that the memory of the invasion and its impact are never forgotten. By reflecting on the past, we can learn from the mistakes that were made and strive towards a better future.


In conclusion, the invasion of Poland by Germany in World War II was a significant event in world history. It marked the beginning of a brutal conflict that would engulf the world for six long years. The invasion had devastating consequences for Poland and its people, resulting in widespread destruction, loss of life, and the displacement of millions of people.

However, the invasion also serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of aggression and the importance of international cooperation and diplomacy in preventing conflict. The lessons learned from this tragic event have helped shape international relations and foreign policy to this day.

It is crucial that we continue to commemorate the invasion of Poland and honor the memory of those who suffered and died as a result. By remembering the past, we can learn from it and work towards a better future for all.

Thank you for joining me on this journey to discover the first country invaded by Germany in World War II. I hope that this exploration has been informative and has shed light on the importance of understanding and learning from our history.

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