Poland was attacked on September 1, 1939. Why did Britain, France take two days to declare war on Germany?

.... so naïve were the prime minister and foreign secretary about the true nature of modern Blitzkrieg warfare that they genuinely imagined that there was even an outside possibility of Hitler simply calling off the attack.

Wehrmacht marches in Warsaw. Poland falls

Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939. Why did Britain and France take two days (They declared war on September 3) to do the same on Germany?

Andrew Roberts, the author of The Storm of war: The New History of the Second World War, gives the answers in an article in The Telegraph, UK.

So what were the real reasons for the two-day delay in declaring war? It was true that Chamberlain and Halifax still hoped against hope (and rationality) that Hitler could be persuaded to withdraw from Poland once it was made clear to him that the Western Allies would stand by their guarantee. Because they would not be providing any material help to Poland, indeed the British Army only started crossing over to the Continent after 3 September, there seemed to them to be no particular hurry to declare war, since doing nothing to help immediately struck them as little different from doing equally little a few days later. Moreover, the French Government of Edouard Daladier seemed to be dragging its feet, and both Governments believed a simultaneous declaration would have a far better effect.

Weak man at the helm: Chamberlain: Britain lost the chance to crush Germany

Yet the central reason for the delay was an offer by Mussolini for an immediate Five Power conference of Britain, France, Poland, Germany and Italy. Although Chamberlain told the Commons that Britain 'would find it impossible to take part in a conference while Poland is being subjected to invasion, her towns are under bombardment and Danzig is being made the subject of a unilateral settlement by force', so naïve were the prime minister and foreign secretary about the true nature of modern Blitzkrieg warfare that they genuinely imagined that there was even an outside possibility of Hitler simply calling off the attack.

'If the German Government should agree to withdraw their forces', Chamberlain stated with supreme wishful thinking, 'then His Majesty's Government would regard the position as being the same as it was before the German forces crossed the Polish frontier.'

To this day we do not know whether Mussolini made his offer of a peace conference in good faith or as a means of muddying the waters for the Western Allies just as his ally in the Pact of Steel, Adolf Hitler, concentrated on crushing the Poles, and anyhow it does not matter. The delay came to an end only when furious Cabinet ministers met behind the Speaker's Chair in the Commons and an outraged House imposed its will on Chamberlain and Halifax on the evening before war was finally declared. Appeasement was at an end, and not a moment too soon.
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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito