Hyökkäys päättyi Puolan antautumiseen 6. lokakuuta. Hyökkäyksen seurauksena Neuvostoliitto miehitti Puolan itäosat. Yli 230 000 puolalaissotilasta joutui sotavankeuteen.
Bochnian verilöyly (Wawer massacre) oli yksi lukuisista joukkomurhista valloitetussa Puolassa.
Adolf Hitlerin ja Josif Stalinin joukot pitivät yhteisen voitonparaatin 25. syyskuuta 1939 Puolan Brest-Litovskissa Puolan vaaltaamisen kunniaksi. 28. syyskuuta sovittiin miehitysalueiden jaosta, ja rajalinja noudatti pääosin jo vuonna 1919 Puolan itärajaksi ehdotettua Curzonin linjaa.
Puolan pakolaishallitus kokoontui ensin Pariisiin ja siirtyi myöhemmin Lontooseen. Saksa perusti Puolaan hirmuhallinnon, jonka aikana murhattiin miljoonia puolalaisia siviilejä ja juutalaisia. Työkuntoiset miehet pakotettiin pakkotyöhön huonoihin oloihin ilman palkkaa. Aluksi juutalaiset pakotettiin ghettoihin.
Lopullisen ratkaisun hahmottuessa suurimmat tuhoamisleirit perustettiin Puolaan.
Auschwitzissa yksinään murhattiin yli miljoona ihmistä.
Myös Neuvostoliitto syyllistyi omalla puolellaan sotarikoksiin ja rikoksiin ihmisyyttä vastaan. Näistä tunnetuimpia lienee Katynin joukkomurha, jossa teloitettiin noin 22 000 puolalaista upseeria ja älymystön jäsentä. Satojatuhansia puolalaisia siviilejä kuljetettiin keskitysleireille Siperiaan ja ainakin 150 000 kuoli neuvostoliittolaisten murhaamana.
Ne sotilaat, jotka olivat päässeet pakoon Puolasta taistelivat Saksaa vastaan liittoutuneiden joukoissa. Sodan loppuvaiheissa puna-armeijan alaisuudessa palveli noin 200 000 puolalaista. Puolalaisia sotilaita ja yksiköitä osallistui useisiin merkittäviin taisteluihin toisessa maailmansodassa, kuten Monte Cassinon taisteluun ja operaatio Market Gardeniin.
Saksalaiset hyökkäsivät Neuvostoliittoon 22. kesäkuuta 1941 ja valtasivat koko Puolan itselleen nopeasti. Puolalainen vastarintaliike pysyi aktiivisena koko miehityksen ajan, huolimatta miehittäjän julmista kostoista. Vuonna 1943 Saksan sotaretki saavutti käännekohtansa Stalingradin ja Kurskin taisteluissa. Puna-armeija alkoi vallata menetettyjä alueita ja elokuussa 1944 se läheni Varsovaa.
Lontoossa ollut pakolaishallitus kutsui varsovalaisia aseisiin saksalaisia vastaan. Pakolaishallituksen aikeena oli ehtiä vallata Varsova ennen puna-armeijaa.
Teko soisi paremman mahdollisuuden Puolan itsenäisyyteen pelkän miehittäjän vaihdoksen sijasta.
Stalin ymmärsi tämän ja komensi 20 kilometrin päässä olevat joukkonsa seisahtamaan. Näin saksalaiset saivat aikaa kaupungin takaisin valtaamiseen ja raakaan kostoon. Ärsyttääkseen neuvostoliittolaisia saksalaiset kohtelivat aseista riisuttuja kapinallisia sotavankisäädösten mukaan, mutta siviileille he kostivat julmemmin.
Arvioista riippuen 150 000–300 000 kuoli, 90 000 lähetettiin työleireille Saksaan ja 60 000 keskitysleireille murhattavaksi.
Lopuksi saksalaiset pommikoneet tuhosivat systemaattisesti lähes koko kaupungin.
(Vertaa Guernica / Bombing of Guernica)
Kun taistelu oli ohi, Neuvostoliitto valtasi Varsovan ja koko Puolan. Stalin perusti maahan kommunistisen nukkehallituksen. Viimeiset puolalaiset vastarintaliikkeen jäsenet taistelivat uusia miehittäjiä vastaan vielä 1950-luvulla.
From the beginning, the German government repeatedly asked Vyacheslav Molotov whether the Soviet Union would keep to its side of the partition bargain.
The Soviet forces were holding fast along their designated invasion points pending finalization of the five-month-long undeclared war with Japan in the Far East. On 15 September 1939 the Ambassadors Molotov and Shigenori Tōgō completed their agreement ending the conflict, and the Nomonhan cease-fire went into effect on 16 September 1939.
It was agreed that the USSR would relinquish its interest in the territories between the new border and Warsaw in exchange for inclusion of Lithuania in the Soviet "zone of interest".
By 17 September, the Polish defence was already broken and the only hope was to retreat and reorganize along the Romanian Bridgehead. However, these plans were rendered obsolete nearly overnight, when the over 800,000-strong Soviet Red Army entered and created the Belarussian and Ukrainian fronts after invading the eastern regions of Poland in violation of the Riga Peace Treaty, the Soviet-Polish Non-Aggression Pact, and other international treaties, both bilateral and multilateral.
Soviet diplomacy claimed that they were "protecting the Ukrainian and Belarusian minorities of eastern Poland since the Polish government had abandoned the country and the Polish state ceased to exist".
Polish border defence forces in the east—known as the Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza—consisted of about 25 battalions. Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered them to fall back and not engage the Soviets. This, however, did not prevent some clashes and small battles, such as the Battle of Grodno, as soldiers and local population attempted to defend the city. The Soviets murdered numerous Polish officers, including prisoners of war like General Józef Olszyna-Wilczyński.
The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists rose against the Poles, and communist partisans organized local revolts, robbing and murdering Poles. Those movements were quickly disciplined by the NKVD. The Soviet invasion was one of the decisive factors that convinced the Polish government that the war in Poland was lost.
Prior to the Soviet attack from the east, the Polish military's fall-back plan had called for long-term defence against Germany in the south-eastern part of Poland, while awaiting relief from a Western Allies attack on Germany's western border. However, the Polish government refused to surrender or negotiate a peace with Germany. Instead, it ordered all units to evacuate Poland and reorganize in France.
The Royal Castle in Warsaw on fire after being shelled by the Germans
Meanwhile, Polish forces tried to move towards the Romanian Bridgehead area, still actively resisting the German invasion. From 17–20 September, Polish armies Kraków and Lublin were crippled at the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski, the second-largest battle of the campaign. The city of Lwów capitulated on 22 September because of Soviet intervention; the city had been attacked by the Germans over a week earlier, and in the middle of the siege, the German troops handed operations over to their Soviet allies.
Despite a series of intensifying German attacks, Warsaw—defended by quickly reorganized retreating units, civilian volunteers and militia—held out until 28 September. The Modlin Fortress north of Warsaw capitulated on 29 September after an intense 16-day battle. Some isolated Polish garrisons managed to hold their positions long after being surrounded by German forces. Westerplatte enclave's tiny garrison capitulated on 7 September and the Oksywie garrison held until 19 September; Hel Fortified Area was defended until 2 October.
That is guaranteed not only by Germany, but also Russia.
Despite a Polish victory at the Battle of Szack, after which the Soviets executed all the officers and NCOs they had captured, the Red Army reached the line of rivers Narew, Bug River, Vistula and San by 28 September, in many cases meeting German units advancing from the other direction. Polish defenders on the Hel peninsula on the shore of the Baltic Sea held out until 2 October. The last operational unit of the Polish Army, General Franciszek Kleeberg's Samodzielna Grupa Operacyjna "Polesie", surrendered after the four-day Battle of Kock near Lublin on 6 October marking the end of the September Campaign.
The Polish September Campaign was an instance of total war. Consequently, civilian casualties were high during and after combat. From the start, the Luftwaffe attacked civilian targets and columns of refugees along the roads to wreak havoc, disrupt communications, and target Polish morale. Apart from the victims of battles, the German forces (both SS and the regular Wehrmacht) murdered several thousand Polish civilians. During Operation Tannenberg, nearly 20,000 Poles were shot at 760 mass execution sites by the Einsatzgruppen.
The Polish Campaign was the first action by Adolf Hitler in his attempt to create Lebensraum, or living space, for the ethnic German people. The German retaliation against the opposing Polish civilians quickly turned into an atrocity, an irregular warfare against Polish men, women, and children. The brutality that the German army carried out on the civilians was justifiable in their eyes. Many historians have studied the reasoning behind this brutality and have found that Nazi propaganda could be one of the factors. Nazi propaganda worked to manipulate the German people into believing that the Jewish and other ethnic people were the enemy.
Altogether, the civilian losses of Polish population amounted to about 150,000–200,000 while German civilian losses amounted to roughly 3,250 (including 2,000 who died fighting Polish troops as members of a fifth column).
|Soviet invasion of Poland|
|Part of the invasion of Poland in World War II|
Soviet parade in Lviv, 1939
|Commanders and leaders|
|Edward Rydz-Śmigły|| Kliment Voroshilov(Commander-in-Chief)|
Mikhail Kovalyov(Belarusian Front)
Semyon Timoshenko(Ukrainian Front)
|20,000 Border Protection Corps,|
250,000 Polish Army.
|Casualties and losses|
|3,000–7,000 dead or missing.|
up to 20,000 wounded.
|1,475–3,000 killed or missing.|
On that day, sixteen days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Union did so from the east. The invasion ended on 6 October 1939 with the division and annexing of the whole of the Second Polish Republic by Germany and the Soviet Union.
In early 1939, the Soviet Union entered into negotiations with the United Kingdom, France, Poland, and Romania to establish an alliance against Nazi Germany. The negotiations failed when the Soviet Union insisted that Poland and Romania give Soviet troops transit rights through their territory as part of a collective security agreement. The failure of those negotiations led the Soviet Union to conclude the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany on 23 August; this was a non-aggression pact containing a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.
One week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. Polish forces then withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited the French and British support and relief that they were expecting. The Soviet Red Army invaded the Kresy, in accordance with the secret protocol, on 17 September.
The Soviet government announced it was acting to protect the Ukrainians and Belarusians who lived in the eastern part of Poland, because the Polish state had collapsed in the face of the Nazi German attack and could no longer guarantee the security of its own citizens. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded that the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania.
The Red Army achieved its targets, vastly outnumbering Polish resistance and capturing some 230,000 Polish prisoners of war. The Soviet government annexed the territory under its control and in November 1939 made the 13.5 million formerly Polish citizens now under its control citizens of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union immediately started a campaign of sovietizing the newly acquired areas. This included staged elections, the results of which the Soviet Union used to legitimize its annexation of eastern Poland. The Soviets quelled opposition through summary executions and thousands of arrests. The Soviet Union sent hundreds of thousands of people from this region to Siberia and other remote parts of the Soviet Union in four major waves of deportation between 1939 and 1941.
Soviet forces occupied eastern Poland until the summer of 1941, when they were expelled by the invading German army in the course of Operation Barbarossa. The area was under Nazi occupation until the Red Army reconquered it in the summer of 1944. An agreement at the Yalta Conference permitted the Soviet Union to annex almost all of their Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact portion of the Second Polish Republic, compensating the People's Republic of Poland with the southern half of East Prussia and territories east of the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet Union enclosed most of the annexed territories into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
In August 1945, after the end of World War II in Europe, the USSR and Poland signed a border agreement. This agreement recognized the status quo as the official border with the exception of the region around Białystok and a minor part of Galicia east of the San river around Przemyśl, which were returned to Poland.
The Polish political determination to deploy forces directly at the German-Polish border, based on the Polish-British Common Defense Pact, shaped the country's defence plan, "Plan West". Poland's most valuable natural resources, industry and population were located along the western border in Eastern Upper Silesia. Polish policy centred on their protection especially since many politicians feared that if Poland were to retreat from the regions disputed by Germany, Britain and France would sign a separate peace treaty with Germany similar to the Munich Agreement of 1938.
The fact that none of Poland's allies had specifically guaranteed Polish borders or territorial integrity certainly did not help in easing Polish concerns. For these reasons, Poland disregarded French advice to deploy the bulk of their forces behind the natural barriers such as the Vistula and San rivers, even though some Polish generals supported it as a better strategy. The West Plan did permit the Polish armies to retreat inside the country, but it was supposed to be a slow retreat behind prepared positions and was intended to give the armed forces time to complete its mobilization and execute a general counteroffensive with the support of the Western Allies.
The Polish General Staff had not begun elaborating the "West" defence plan until 4 March 1939. It was assumed that the Polish Army, fighting in the initial phase of the war alone, would be compelled to defend the western regions of the country. The plan of operations took into account, first of all, the numerical and material superiority of the enemy and, consequently, assumed the defensive character of Polish operations.
The Polish intentions were: the defence of the western regions judged as indispensable for waging the war, the taking advantage of the propitious conditions for counterblows by reserve units, the avoidance of being smashed before the beginning of Allied operations in the West and the making of decisions depending on the existing situation. The operational plan had not been elaborated in detail and concerned only the first stage of operations.
The British and French estimated that Poland should be able to defend itself for two to three months, while Poland estimated it could do so for at least six months. Poland drafted its estimates based upon the expectation that the Western Allies honor their treaty obligations and quickly start an offensive of their own. In addition, the French and British expected the war to develop into trench warfare much like World War I. The Polish government was not notified of this strategy and based all of its defence plans on promises of quick relief by their Western allies.
Polish forces were stretched thinly along the Polish-German border and lacked compact defence lines and good defence positions along disadvantageous terrain. This strategy also left supply lines poorly protected. One-third of Poland's forces were massed in or near the Polish Corridor, making them vulnerable to a double envelopment from East Prussia and the west. Another third were concentrated in the north-central part of the country, between the major cities of Łódź and Warsaw.
The forward positioning of Polish forces vastly increased the difficulty of carrying out strategic maneuvers, compounded by inadequate mobility, as Polish units often lacked the ability to retreat from their defensive positions as they were being overrun by more mobile German mechanized formations.
As the prospect of conflict increased, the British government pressed Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły to evacuate the most modern elements of the Polish Navy from the Baltic Sea. In the event of war the Polish military leaders realized that the ships which remained in the Baltic were likely to be quickly sunk by the Germans. Furthermore, the Danish straits were well within operating range of the German Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe, so there was little chance of an evacuation plan succeeding if implemented after hostilities began. Four days after the signing of the Polish-British Common Defense Pact, three destroyers of the Polish Navy executed the Peking Plan and consequently evacuated to Great Britain.
Although the Polish military had prepared for conflict, the civilian population remained largely unprepared. Polish pre-war propaganda emphasized that any German invasion would be easily repelled. Consequently, Polish defeats during the German invasion came as a shock to the civilian population. Lacking training for such a disaster, the civilian population panicked and retreated east, spreading chaos, lowering troop morale and making road transportation for Polish troops very difficult.