1 Sep 1939
  • Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden all proclaimed their neutrality in the European War; Germany pledged to respect Norway's and Sweden's sovereignty. ww2dbase [TH]
  • 12 Swordfish torpedo bombers of 814 Naval Air Squadron landed aboard HMS Hermes to join her air crew. ww2dbase [Hermes | CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • U-23 was officially assigned to the 1st Submarine Flotilla, although she was already at sea on her first war patrol. ww2dbase [U-23 | CPC]
  • France mobilized its military. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Germany placed a curfew on German Jews: 9pm in the summer, 8pm in the winter. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | CPC]
  • As the Free City of Danzig ceased to exist, Gauleiter Albert Forster's title of State President of the Free City of Danzig was abolished. He would soon be named the Gauleiter and Reichstatthalter of Danzig-West Prussia. ww2dbase [Albert Forster | Danzig-Westpreu├čen | CPC]
  • Adolf Hitler authorized Reichsleiter Bouhler and Dr. Brandt to "grant merciful deaths" for the mentally ill and those who were suffering from incurable diseases. This was the beginning of Action T4 euthanasia program. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | CPC]
  • Reinhard Heydrich presided a meeting attended by the heads of Security Police and Commanders of Special Units, during which the deportation of the "remaining 30,000 Gypsies" from Germany to the soon-to-be-conquered territory of Poland was ordered. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | CPC]
  • The Iron Cross awards were established in Germany as an award for those who displayed bravery in combat or in command of military personnel. Four grades were specified: Iron Cross 2nd Class, Iron Cross 1st Class, Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, and the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop warned Adolf Hitler that the invasion of Poland would compel France to fight. Hitler (exceptionally irritable, bitter and sharp with anyone advising caution) replied: "I have at last decided to do without the opinions of people who have misinformed me on a dozen occasions... I shall rely on my own judgement." ww2dbase [Joachim von Ribbentrop | Invasion of Poland | AC]
  • Wilhelm Gustloff was requisitioned by the German Navy. ww2dbase [Wilhelm Gustloff | CPC]
  • The keel of battleship J was laid down at the Deschimag shipyard in Bremen, Germany. ww2dbase [Deutsche Schiff- und Maschinenbau AG | J | Bremen, Weser-Ems | CPC]
  • Britain and France turned to Italy in response to his proposal to revamp the conditions of the Versailles Treaty rather than declaring war on Germany. Meanwhile, Italy declared itself a non-belligerent nation in the European War. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Adolf Hitler relieved Italy from having to fight in the war against Poland and possibly with the western powers in writing, asking only for political and economic support. ww2dbase [The Pact of Steel | CPC]
  • Using the staged Gleiwitz radio station attack as an excuse, Germany declared war on Poland. Meanwhile, the radio station in Minsk, Byelorussia increased the frequency of station identification and extended its playing time in an attempt to help German aviators navigate. Among the opening acts of the European War, the German Luftwaffe bombed the town of Wielu in Poland, causing 1,200 civilian casualties. ww2dbase [Invasion of Poland | TH, AC]
  • Over Warsaw, Poland, Oberst Walter Grabmann's Messerchmitt Bf 110 squadron (I.(Z)/Lg.1) led by Hauptmann Schleit, shot down five Polish PZL P.11 fighters whilst escorting the Heinkel He 111P bombers of II/KG.1. He sustained wounds as one of the P.11 fighters damaged his Bf 110 fighter. ww2dbase [Walter Grabmann | AC, CPC]
  • Moscow City Party Committee secretary Semyon Korytny was executed for the crime of having married the sister of military leader Iona Yakir, a perceived enemy of Joseph Stalin. ww2dbase [Joseph Stalin | CPC]
United Kingdom
  • In Britain, evacuation of civilians in large cities began; three million women and children would be evacuated, though most of these will return when the anticipated air raids did not materialize. Also, Air Raid Precautions were introduced and a blackout enforced from sunset to sunrise. ww2dbase [TH]
United States
  • Henry Arnold submitted a report on the organization of US Army air units and recommendations on doctrine to US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. ww2dbase [Henry Arnold | CPC]
  • George Marshall was appointed as the US Army's Chief of Staff. ww2dbase [George Marshall | Washington | AC]
  • Clifton Cates began his studies at the Army War College in Washington DC, United States. ww2dbase [Clifton Cates | Washington | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 1 Sep 1939
German troops removing the Polish emblem from the wall of a post office in Danzig, 1 Sep 1939German troops removing a gate at a border checkpoint, Zoppot-Gdingen (Sopot-Gdynia) Street in Danzig (Gdańsk), 1 Sep 1939, photo 1 of 2German battleship Schleswig-Holstein bombarding Westerplatte, Danzig, 1 Sep 1939. Photo 1 of 2.German troops removing a gate at a border checkpoint, Zoppot-Gdingen (Sopot-Gdynia) Street in Danzig (Gdańsk), 1 Sep 1939, photo 2 of 2
See all photos dated 1 Sep 1939

1 Sep 1939 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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