Poland marks 80th Anniversary of the Outbreak of World War 2

“I bow my head before the victims of the attack on Wielun. I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany’s tyranny. And I ask forgiveness,” said German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, commemorating the outbreak of World War II, 80 years ago on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. Soon after, on September 17, the Soviet Union invaded Poland.

The commemoration ceremonies started in Wielun, one of the first bombing sites of World War II. Other events are held in the coastal city of Gdansk.

“We need to talk about those losses, we need to remember, we need to demand truth and demand compensation,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at Gdansk.

Hitler watching German soldiers marching into Poland in September 1939. (Credits: Bundesarchiv)
Wieluń after German Luftwaffe bombing the 1st of September 1939 (The first day of WW II). Photograph taken from an aeroplane.
A German and a Soviet officer shaking hands at the end of the Invasion of Poland.

After the war, its shattered capital of Warsaw had to rise again from ruins and Poland remained under Soviet domination until 1989.

Politicians of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, repeatedly called out for war reparations from Germany, however Berlin says all financial claims linked to World War Two have been settled and as such the case is closed.

Later this sunday also German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Vice President Mike Pence will participate in events.

TIP: Read Poland’s Struggle: Before, During and After the Second World War to learn more.

In September 1939, both Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland, which caused the start of World War II after France and Britain declared war to Germany. After World War II ended, Poland remained under control of the Soviet Union until 1989.