CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Germany invades Poland

The Story

"Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns. General mobilization has been ordered in Britain and France." The announcer in this BBC news report from Sept. 1, 1939 may sound calm and composed, but the news he's delivering is deeply disturbing. With Germany's attack on Poland, the Second World War has begun.

Medium: Radio
Program: BBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: Sept. 1, 1939
Duration: 13:36
Photo: National Film Board of Canada / Library and Archives Canada / PA-130023

Did You know?

• Germany's attack on Poland began at 4:45 a.m. on Sept. 1, 1939. It continued until October 1939, with the Soviet Union joining Germany in the invasion starting on Sept. 17. By early October, Germany and the Soviet Union completely occupied Poland.

  • While the events of Sept. 1 sparked the beginning of the war, Britain didn't officially declare war on Germany until 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 3, 1939. France declared war on Germany several hours later. Canada officially joined the war a week after that, on Sept. 10, 1939.


• In 1939, the CBC relied on the BBC for its international news because CBC didn't yet have foreign correspondents. After the Second World War broke out, however, CBC sent reporters overseas for the first time. Find out more about this development in the clip How do you cover a war on radio?



The Coming of the Second World War more