Invasion of Poland began this morning. Warsaw bombed. General mobilization proclaimed in England, ditto in France plus martial law. [Radio]
Foreign & General
1. Hitler’s terms to Poland boil down to return of Danzig & plebiscite in the corridor, to be held 1 year hence & based on 1918 census. There is some hanky panky about time the terms were presented, & as they were to be answered by night of 30.8.39,[1] H.[2] claims that they are already refused. Daily Telegraph [a]
2. Naval reservists and rest of army and R.A.F. reservists called up. Evacuation of children etc. begins today, involving 3m. people & expected to take 3 days. [Radio; undated]
3. Russo-German pact ratified. Russian armed forces to be further increased. Voroshilov’s speech taken as meaning that Russo-German alliance is not contemplated. Daily Express [b]
4. Berlin report states Russian military mission is expected to arrive there shortly. Daily Telegraph [a]

[a]Daily Telegraph 1-9-39 Page 1Daily Telegraph 1-9-39 Page 10Daily Telegraph 1-9-39 Page 11 [b]Express 1-9-39 Page 1Express 1-9-39 Page 2Express 1-9-39 Page 8

[1] Orwell wrote the date as 30.9.30 by mistake.
[2] Hitler. Peter Davison

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34 Responses to 1.9.39.

  1. Leo Eddy says:

    God help us. Let us hope that all will come out for the best. I for my part will help by teaching my servants how to put their gas masks on. May right be done and God Bless The King and Queen.

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  3. Today, “news” has come.

  4. Pingback: I Told You So « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North

  5. Stephen says:

    And so, it begins.

  6. Jane says:

    But what’s happened to the hens? How many eggs today?

  7. Paddles says:

    War!? I never thought Hitler would actually do it! And now we have to wait 6 years to see how it turns out!

  8. Pingback: Confine tedesco-polacco, 1 settembre 1939 «

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  10. Pingback: Liveblogging the Origins of World War II: September 1, 1939 | Bailout and Financial Crisis News

  11. Dominic says:

    Hold onto your hats! The diary is about to lose George’s references to the daily eggs! Or is it?

  12. According to A.J.P. Taylor (STRUGGLES FOR SUPREMACY, p. 224), on September 1st the Soviet government began broadcasting from their radio station at Minsk a regular signal which the Luftwaffe could use as a navigational aid while they were in Polish airspace. This was one of the first tangible benefits the Nazis derived from the Nazi-Soviet Pact. (The signal, incidentally, was the word “Minsk,” repeated as often as possible during regular broadcasting.)

  13. MNPundit says:

    Come now David, we don’t know that yet….

  14. patroclus says:

    With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we shall gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God!

  15. ronmossad says:

    On the 70th anniversary of the German blitzkrieg on Poland, it would be wise to reflect on the consequences of appeasing barbarians over taking the action necessary to protect your country.


    1938: Neville Chamberlain signs the Munich agreement and 50+ million people die.

    1967: Levi Eshkol launches a preemptive assault on 4 Arab nations and saves his country.

    It is clear that in a choice between appeasement and victory there is no real choice to make at all. We can either put an end to the Iranian menace now or we can wait until they are on equal footing with us and the job becomes exponentially worse. For both sides. In the history books intentions are irrelevant, only results are remembered.

  16. grrg63 says:

    What does A.R.P. abbreviate?

  17. Jordynne Olivia Lobo says:

    ARP stands for Air Raid Precautions. The abbreviation was painted on the steel helmets issued to British civilian volunteer air raid wardens. These men and women worked their full-time jobs, and then they gave their nights – or their days if they were night workers – to standing ARP shifts: seeing to people keeping the blackout; guiding and hustling people into air raid shelters. They also helped to rescue and succor many victims of the Nazi bombings of British cities – and to dig the dead from the rubble of bomb-demolished buildings.

  18. Pingback: “September 1, 1939″ by W.H. Auden | Open Culture

  19. We’ve been having fun with the eggs and such, but this is definitely one of those points in the narrative which reminds me how truly awesome this project is.

    Many, many thanks to Peter Davison, the Orwell Prize staff, and everyone else with a hand in making this blog happen.

  20. Doug says:

    Nothing to worry about, Mr. Orwell. I’m sure Poland will see the sense of German demands and the reich will be satisfied.

  21. grrg63 says:


  22. Brian says:

    Thank goodness France is safe behind their Maginot Line!

  23. Steve says:

    Now a day or two to visit the pubs, dispatch E to Hyde Park, and generally collect and share news.

  24. Pingback: “The Unmentionable Odour Of Death Offends The September Night.” « Around The Sphere

  25. Max says:

    Did Chamberlain sign away 50 million at Munich or did he buy time for Britain to arm – the only country who stood up to the Nazis, while ‘certain others’ stood by?

  26. I just recently saw newsreel footage of Chamberlain (not “certain others”) waving a piece of paper, smiling and bragging about Hitler’s signature on it as if that was the greatest thing ever.

    I don’t think he was buying time. I think he was star-struck.

  27. Bro. Bartleby says:

    Chamberlain has my vote! All you warmongers! Wake up! Give peace a chance!

  28. andrew says:

    “only country who stood up to the nazis”? you mean aside from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France? Chamberlain bought time for the Germans to build more tanks and artillery, is what he did.

  29. Max says:

    Quite right, Andrew. I’m hiding my head in shame. Up the Czechs, the Poles and the French! But we all know who ‘stood by’.

  30. Tom says:

    ronmossad, the choice Chamberlain had to make was not between appeasement and a preemptive strike. That’s a false dichotomy. There was a third choice, namely wait for Hitler to march his troops into the Sudetenland, and then attack them after that. Or even better, Britain and France could’ve attacked when Hitler took back the Rhineland years earlier. I agree appeasement didn’t work out well, but why have a preemptive attack?

  31. Alexander says:

    I would have appreciated it if Orwell had posted something brief and terse along the lines of “War started. 10 eggs.”

  32. the_cree says:

    Fascinating contrast between this entry and the one a day before. Would make a fine start for a novel.

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