September 17, 1939 – As was reported from London on this broadcast, Poland was killed on this day. German together with Soviet armies overran and took possession of Poland – the first venture of this unholy alliance and the first grave defeat of the War. For the fourth time in its history, Poland became partitioned. But the process wasn’t complete. There was still some fighting and the evacuation of Warsaw was scheduled to take place this evening. The government had been moved to London. So, in effect, Poland no longer existed – not in the way people knew it before this day. This was the new Poland.
Joining in was the Soviet invasion, which took place earlier in the day and was the result of the German/Russian non-aggression pact signed some days earlier. There was much speculation over why Russia took this opportunity. But bets were on the simplest explanation; Russia did not want Germany to take all of Poland. No matter how well this supposed alliance was working out, there was still the overwhelming notion that Russia did not want Germany to become too powerful in the East. They wanted some of Poland; some loot, so to speak. And they managed to take while the taking was good.
The Russian invasion of Poland changed everything. But whether the Germans and Russians were actual allies. If this was so, then it meant France and Great Britain were not only fighting Germany, they were fighting Russia too, and it made for considerably uncomfortable speculation as to how this war was going to turn out. Even if Russia remained neutral to matters involving the West, the indirect help Russia could give Germany would be considerable. But for the moment; as German forces raced West, they have left Russia to finish the fighting.
And that’s what was going on this September 17, 1939 as reported by John Gunther from London.