August 24, 1939 – With War in Europe only days away from breaking out, events leading up to that ominous moment become clearer in retrospect. On this day, reactions over the signing of a non-aggression Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany spread. The situation in Poland made it more clear that was where the flashpoint would take place. Diplomacy was still attempting to maintain the delicate balance, While in the meantime, preparations were being made for the evacuation of civilians living in the danger zones. Military preparations were underway in France as well as Britain.
Parliament assembled to hear Prime Minister Chamberlain give an assessment of the pact signing, and to pass the Emergency Powers Defense Bill. Events were moving quickly – Hitler had replied to the British Ambassador in Berlin, saying that the British government’s attitude would not induce Germany to abandon what he called “Her vital rights”. Mr. Chamberlain went on to add that “if this country is forced into war, we should not be fighting for the political future of a distant city, but for the preservation of those principles whose destruction would involve the destruction of all possibility of peace and security”.
Meanwhile, reports from Danzig said a decree was issued which had been purported to give Herr Forster, the Nazi point-person in Danzig, head of the State of the Free City. The German communiqué announcing the news, said the decree came into effect the previous day. And it added that this latest law overturned the edifice of the Danzig constitution. It was said to bring about, on the model of the Third Reich, personal union between the head of the State and the leader of the Nazi Party.
And that’s just a small bit of what went on, this anxiety-ridden August 24, 1939 – As reported by The Home Service of The BBC.