VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > K. World War II, 1939–1945
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See Sept. 3) (See Sept. 3)
K. World War II, 1939–1945
1. The Campaigns in Poland and Finland, 1939–1940
1939, Sept. 1
POLAND WAS INVADED by German forces estimated at 1 million men. Headed by mechanized divisions and supported by overwhelming air power, the German thrusts disorganized and defeated the poorly equipped Polish armies. Though the latter had a numerical strength of 600,000 men, they were unable to mobilize effectively or concert their resistance.  1
Sept. 17
In accordance with the secret protocol of the Soviet-Nazi nonaggression pact (See Aug. 23), Russian troops invaded Poland from the east, meeting the advancing Germans near Brest-Litovsk two days later.  2
Sept. 27
After heroic resistance and destructive bombing, Warsaw surrendered and Polish organized opposition came to an end. The Blitzkrieg had lasted less than four weeks and the outcome had been determined in the first ten days.  3
Sept. 29
The German and Russian governments divided Poland. Germany annexed outright the Free City of Danzig (population 415,000) and 32,000 square miles between East Prussia and Silesia. In addition an area of 39,000 square miles, known as the Gouvernement Général, remained under German protection. The total German gains were estimated at 72,866 square miles, with a population of 22,140,000. The Russians occupied 77,620 square miles of eastern Poland, with a population of 13,199,000. Lithuania and Slovakia received small cessions of Polish territory.  4
Nov. 30–1940, March 12
RUSSO-FINNISH WAR. Russian armies attacked on three fronts: below Petsamo on the Arctic Sea, in central Finland, and on the Karelian Isthmus.  5
Dec. 14
Russia was expelled from the League of Nations (See Nov. 30) for acts of aggression against Finland.  6
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.