1939 Europe on the brink of war

Axis

Allied

Neutral

Troop concentrations

Great Britain

700,000 troops

Danzig

15,000

East Prussia

The

Netherlands

USSR

2.0 million

Poland

1.1 million

Germany

2.0 million

Romania

850,000

France

2.5 million

Yugoslavia

Albania

Spain

Greece

200,000

Italy

1.3 million

Turkey

300,000

Mediterranean

Sea

15 March Germany invades Bohemia and dismembers Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich agreement, signed the previous November

31 March Britain and France guarantee Poland’s territorial integrity

27 April Britain introduces limited conscription for 20-to 22-year-olds

23 August Germany and Russia sign a non-aggression pact, with secret protocols to divide Poland between them

25 August Hitler cancels the order to invade Poland after Mussolini insists Italy will remain neutral. Britain signs an alliance with the Poles

28 August Chamberlain rejects Hitler’s offer of an alliance in return for Danzig and the “Polish corridor”, insisting that Britain would never desert Poland

29 August Hitler demands that a Polish emissary arrives in Berlin within 24 hours to discuss the “Polish question”

30 August The Poles refuse to accede to Hitler’s demands

31 August Britain mobilises the Royal Navy, Hitler orders the invasion of Poland to begin the following morning

1 September German troops invade Poland

3 September Britain sends Germany an ultimatum at 8am (GMT), demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities in Poland. When the ultimatum expires three hours later, Britain declares war on Germany

Guardian graphic. Source: Professor Saul David

1939 Europe on the brink of war

Axis

Allied

Neutral

Troop concentrations

Great Britain

700,000 troops

Danzig

15,000

East Prussia

The

Netherlands

USSR

2.0 million

Poland

1.1 million

Germany

2.0 million

France

2.5 million

Romania

850,000

Yugoslavia

Albania

Spain

Greece

200,000

Mediterranean

Sea

Italy

1.3 million

Turkey

300,000

15 March Germany invades Bohemia and dismembers Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich agreement, signed the previous November

31 March Britain and France guarantee Poland’s territorial integrity

27 April Britain introduces limited conscription for 20-to 22-year-olds

23 August Germany and Russia sign a non-aggression pact, with secret protocols to divide Poland between them

25 August Hitler cancels the order to invade Poland after Mussolini insists Italy will remain neutral. Britain signs an alliance with the Poles

28 August Chamberlain rejects Hitler’s offer of an alliance in return for Danzig and the “Polish corridor”, insisting that Britain would never desert Poland

29 August Hitler demands that a Polish emissary arrives in Berlin within 24 hours to discuss the “Polish question”

30 August The Poles refuse to accede to Hitler’s demands

31 August Britain mobilises the Royal Navy, Hitler orders the invasion of Poland to begin the following morning

1 September German troops invade Poland

3 September Britain sends Germany an ultimatum at 8am (GMT), demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities in Poland. When the ultimatum expires three hours later, Britain declares war on Germany

Guardian graphic. Source: Professor Saul David

1939 Europe on the brink of war

Axis

Allied

Neutral

Troop concentrations

Great Britain

700,000 troops

Danzig

15,000

East Prussia

The

Netherlands

USSR

2.0 million

Poland

1.1 million

Germany

2.0 million

France

2.5 million

Romania

850,000

Yugoslavia

Albania

Spain

Greece

200,000

Mediterranean

Sea

Italy

1.3 million

Turkey

300,000

15 March Germany invades Bohemia and dismembers Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich agreement, signed the previous November

 

31 March Britain and France guarantee Poland’s territorial integrity

 

27 April Britain introduces limited conscription for 20-to 22-year-olds

 

23 August Germany and Russia sign a non-aggression pact, with secret protocols to divide Poland between them

 

25 August Hitler cancels the order to invade Poland after Mussolini insists Italy will remain neutral. Britain signs an alliance with the Poles

 

28 August Neville Chamberlain rejects Hitler’s offer of an alliance in return for Danzig and the “Polish corridor”, insisting that Britain would never desert Poland

 

29 August Hitler demands that a Polish emissary arrives in Berlin within 24 hours to discuss the “Polish question”

 

30 August The Poles refuse to accede to Hitler’s demands

 

31 August Britain mobilises the Royal Navy, Hitler orders the invasion of Poland to begin the following morning

 

1 September German troops invade Poland

 

3 September Britain sends Germany an ultimatum at 8am (GMT), demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities in Poland. When the ultimatum expires three hours later, Britain declares war on Germany

Guardian graphic

Source: Professor Saul David

1939 Europe on the brink of war

Axis

Allied

Neutral

Troop concentrations

Norway

Sweden

Estonia

Latvia

Great Britain

700,000 troops

Danzig

15,000

Lithuania

Denmark

The

Netherlands

East Prussia

Poland

1.1 million

USSR

2.0 million

Germany

2.0 million

troops

Belgium

Romania

850,000

Hungary

Atlantic Ocean

France

2.5 million

Black Sea

Switzerland

Yugoslavia

Bulgaria

Turkey

300,000

Portugal

Spain

Italy

1.3 million

Greece

200,000

Mediterranean Sea

Albania

15 March Germany invades Bohemia and dismembers Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich agreement, signed the previous November

 

31 March Britain and France guarantee Poland’s territorial integrity

 

27 April Britain introduces limited conscription for 20-to 22-year-olds

 

28 August Chamberlain rejects Hitler’s offer of an alliance in return for Danzig and the “Polish corridor”, insisting that Britain would never desert Poland

 

29 August Hitler demands that a Polish emissary arrives in Berlin within 24 hours to discuss the “Polish question”

 

30 August The Poles refuse to accede to Hitler’s demands

 

31 August Britain mobilises the Royal Navy, Hitler orders the invasion of Poland to begin the following morning

 

1 September German troops invade Poland

 

3 September Britain sends Germany an ultimatum at 8am (GMT), demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities in Poland. When the ultimatum expires three hours later, Britain declares war on Germany

23 August Germany and Russia sign a non-aggression pact, with secret protocols to divide Poland between them

 

25 August Hitler cancels the order to invade Poland after Mussolini insists Italy will remain neutral. Britain signs an alliance with the Poles

 

Guardian graphic. Source: Professor Saul David

1939 Europe on the brink of war

Axis

Allied

Neutral

Troop concentrations

Norway

Sweden

Estonia

Latvia

Great Britain

700,000 troops

Danzig

15,000

Lithuania

Denmark

The

Netherlands

East Prussia

USSR

2.0 million

Poland

1.1 million

Germany

2.0 million

troops

Belgium

Atlantic Ocean

Hungary

Romania

850,000

France

2.5 million

Black Sea

Switzerland

Yugoslavia

Bulgaria

Turkey

300,000

Portugal

Spain

Italy

1.3 million

Greece

200,000

Albania

Mediterranean Sea

15 March Germany invades Bohemia and dismembers Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich agreement, signed the previous November

 

31 March Britain and France guarantee Poland’s territorial integrity

25 August Hitler cancels the order to invade Poland after Mussolini insists Italy will remain neutral. Britain signs an alliance with the Poles

 

28 August Chamberlain rejects Hitler’s offer of an alliance in return for Danzig and the “Polish corridor”, insisting that Britain would never desert Poland

29 August Hitler demands that a Polish emissary arrives in Berlin within 24 hours to discuss the “Polish question”

 

30 August The Poles refuse to accede to Hitler’s demands

 

31 August Britain mobilises the Royal Navy, Hitler orders the invasion of Poland to begin the following morning

1 September German troops invade Poland

 

3 September Britain sends Germany an ultimatum at 8am (GMT), demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities in Poland. When the ultimatum expires three hours later, Britain declares war on Germany

27 April Britain introduces limited conscription for 20-to 22-year-olds

 

23 August Germany and Russia sign a non-aggression pact, with secret protocols to divide Poland between them

Guardian graphic. Source: Professor Saul David