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todayinhistory:

September 2nd 1945: Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence

On this day in 1945 the Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence was issued. The Proclamation, written by communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, was first announced in public at the Ba Đình flower garden in Hanoi. Vietnam had been a colony of France since the 19th century, but revolutionary forces were able to take hold following the occupation of the country by the Japanese during World War Two. The Proclamation itself began with a direct quote from the US Declaration of Independence and liberally quoted from French revolutionary texts to highlight the hypocrisy of brutal and repressive French imperialism. The Communists’ Proclamation made no reference to Marx or Lenin but despite its praise of the American Founding Fathers and attempts to appeal to them, the Cold War driven United States was determined to destroy this new communist state. The US therefore supported France in their attempt to reassert control in the ensuing Indochina War. However the French were no match for Ho Chi Minh’s well-organised guerilla forces, and suffered humiliating defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The war ended with the Geneva Accords which divided Vietnam along the 17th parallel into a communist North and Western-friendly South. After years of struggle and unrest between the two, and the steadily increasing presence of US advisers, full scale war broke out and by 1965 the US had decidedly entered the conflict on the side of the South. The Americans underestimated the determination of the North Vietnamese and eventually withdrew from the war that had killed millions of people. Shortly after in April 1975, thirty years after the initial proclamation of independence, Saigon fell to the communists and Vietnam was reunited as an independent communist state.

"Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country—and in fact it is so already. And thus the entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty"
- excerpt from Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence
johanvandemerwe:

German soldiers and Italian POWs, battle of Caporetto, 1917

johanvandemerwe:

German soldiers and Italian POWs, battle of Caporetto, 1917

rocketman-inc:

World War 1 trench warfare

rocketman-inc:

World War 1 trench warfare

thefilmstage:

Photos by a young Stanley Kubrick, taken in the 1940’s while employed by Look Magazine. [x] [Set 1 of 2]

historicporn:

A car drives through a Texas dust bowl.1936.

historicporn:

A car drives through a Texas dust bowl.

1936.

ww1incolour:

Location: Gaza, Palestine
Year: 1918
Description: Riders of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade prepare to march on a street surrounded by the ruins of Gaza, Palestine in 1918.
Source: State Library of New South Wales

ww1incolour:

Location: Gaza, Palestine

Year: 1918

Description: Riders of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade prepare to march on a street surrounded by the ruins of Gaza, Palestine in 1918.

Source: State Library of New South Wales

bag-of-dirt:

A Polish family huddle together in front of the Grand Theatre opera house during a German bombing raid, whilst a Polish soldier looks on. The poster in the background reads “To Arms!”. During the Battle of Warsaw, the Grand Theatre was bombed and almost completely destroyed, with only the classical façade surviving. Warsaw, Poland. September 1939. Image taken by photographer Julien Bryan.

bag-of-dirt:

A Polish family huddle together in front of the Grand Theatre opera house during a German bombing raid, whilst a Polish soldier looks on. The poster in the background reads “To Arms!”. During the Battle of Warsaw, the Grand Theatre was bombed and almost completely destroyed, with only the classical façade surviving. Warsaw, Poland. September 1939. Image taken by photographer Julien Bryan.

littleghostwriter:

Poland Marks The 75th Anniversary Of The Outbreak Of World War II On The Westerplatte Peninsula In Gdansk

It was on Gdansk’s small Westerplatte peninsula that the first shots of World War II were fired.  The fighting began in the early hours of September 1, 1939, when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired on the Polish fort of Westerplatte. A small detachment of fewer than 200 Polish soldiers  attempting to withhold a siege from Nazi Germany held out for a full week before they had to surrender. 

Prior to the attack on Westerplatte, the Nazi’s staged a number of operations aimed at creating the illusion of Polish aggression on Germany as a pretext for attack.

Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Two weeks later, a half-million Russian troops attacked Poland from the east. World War II had begun.

Today various ceremonies are being held in Poland to mark the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

Later German President Joachim Gauck is to join his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski to commemorate the occasion. 

historia-polski:

German invasion of Poland, September 1st, 1939

"At 4:45 a.m., some 1.5 million German troops invade Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. Simultaneously, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields, and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II.

To Hitler, the conquest of Poland would bring Lebensraum, or ‘living space,’ for the German people. According to his plan, the ‘racially superior’ Germans would colonize the territory and the native Slavs would be enslaved. German expansion had begun in 1938 with the annexation of Austria and then continued with the occupation of the Sudetenland and then all of Czechoslovakia in 1939. Both had been accomplished without igniting hostilities with the major powers, and Hitler hoped that his invasion of Poland would likewise be tolerated.

To neutralize the possibility that the USSR would come to Poland’s aid, Germany signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939. In a secret clause of the agreement, the ideological enemies agreed to divide Poland between them. Hitler gave orders for the Poland invasion to begin on August 26, but on August 25 he delayed the attack when he learned that Britain had signed a new treaty with Poland, promising military support should it be attacked. To forestall a British intervention, Hitler turned to propaganda and misinformation, alleging persecution of German-speakers in eastern Poland. Fearing imminent attack, Poland began to call up its troops, but Britain and France persuaded Poland to postpone general mobilization until August 31 in a last ditch effort to dissuade Germany from war.

Shortly after noon on August 31, Hitler ordered hostilities against Poland to begin at 4:45 a.m. the next morning. At 8 p.m. on August 31, Nazi S.S. troops wearing Polish uniforms staged a phony invasion of Germany, damaging several minor installations on the German side of the border. They also left behind a handful of dead concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms to serve as further evidence of the supposed Polish invasion, which Nazi propagandists publicized as an unforgivable act of aggression.

At 4:45 a.m. on September 1, the invasion began. Nazi diplomats and propagandists scrambled to head off hostilities with the Western powers, but on September 2 Britain and France demanded that Germany withdraw by September 3 or face war. At 11 p.m. on September 3, the British ultimatum expired, and 15 minutes later British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went on national radio to solemnly announce that Britain was at war with Germany. Australia, New Zealand, and India followed suit shortly thereafter. At 5:00 p.m., France declared war on Germany.

In Poland, German forces advanced at a dizzying rate. Employing a military strategy known as the blitzkrieg, or ‘lightning war,’ armored divisions smashed through enemy lines and isolated segments of the enemy, which were encircled and captured by motorized German infantry while the panzer tanks rushed forward to repeat the pattern. Meanwhile, the sophisticated German air force—the Luftwaffe—destroyed Polish air capability, provided air support for the blitzkrieg, and indiscriminately bombed Polish cities in an effort to further terrorize the enemy.

The Polish army was able to mobilize one million men but was hopelessly outmatched in every respect. Rather than take a strong defensive position, troops were rushed to the front to confront the Germans and were systematically captured or annihilated. In a famously ill-fated strategy, Polish commanders even sent horsed cavalry into battle against the heavy German armor. By September 8, German forces had reached the outskirts of Warsaw, having advanced 140 miles in the first week of the invasion.

The Polish armed forces hoped to hold out long enough so that an offensive could be mounted against Germany in the west, but on September 17 Soviet forces invaded from the east and all hope was lost. The next day, Poland’s government and military leaders fled the country. On September 28, the Warsaw garrison finally surrendered to a relentless German siege. That day, Germany and the USSR concluded an agreement outlining their zones of occupation. For the fourth time in its history, Poland was partitioned by its more powerful neighbors.

Despite their declaration of war against Germany, Britain and France did little militarily to aid Poland. Britain bombed German warships on September 4, but Chamberlain resisted bombing Germany itself. Though Germans kept only 23 divisions in the west during their campaign in Poland, France did not launch a full-scale attack even though it had mobilized over four times that number. There were modest assaults by France on its border with Germany but these actions ceased with the defeat of Poland. During the subsequent seven months, some observers accused Britain and France of waging a ‘phony war,’ because, with the exception of a few dramatic British-German clashes at sea, no major military action was taken. However, hostilities escalated exponentially in 1940 with Germany’s April invasion of Norway and May invasion of the Low Countries and France.

In June 1941, Hitler attacked the USSR, breaking his nonaggression with the Soviet Union, and Germany seized all of Poland. During the German occupation, nearly three million Polish Jews were killed in the Nazi death camps. The Nazis also severely persecuted the Slavic majority, deporting and executing Poles in an attempt to destroy the intelligentsia and Polish culture. A large Polish resistance movement effectively fought against the occupation with the assistance of the Polish government-in-exile. Many exiled Poles also fought for the Allied cause. The Soviets completed the liberation of Poland in 1945 and established a communist government in the nation.” (source)

Images: [x][x]