The Polish people were peaceful and a very Christian country from the very start. At times it was strong and at other times it fell to stronger countries. It was a country that gave an open gate to the national, ethnic and religious minorities like Jews and Gypsies that were escaping the oppressions of other countries surrounding Poland. It also had no religious wars, no Religious intolerance, no burning of witches, no racial hatred, no extermination of ethnic, and national minorities.
September 1st, 1939 was a day that a stronger country came to devour them. Germany attacked from it's own land to the west, form Czechoslovakia from the south, and from Prussia to the north. They attacked very quickly without warning. It was a military term of Blitzkrieg or lighting war. It first started with preparing the way with fifth-column activity behind enemy lines. Then massive destruction was brought upon the opposing air force on the ground. Next, destroying the communication and transportation systems from the air. Then, keeping the opposing enemy off balance to keep them from defending with strength. The next step was sending light force in the enemy's territory with motorcycle infantry, light tanks, motor-drawn artillery. Then heavy tanks come from the rear and started carving out mechanized pockets. Finally, sending out the foot soldiers supported by artillery, to deal with any resistance and join up with the advanced forces.
On September 17, 1939, Russia invaded on the East Side on the basis of a pact between Russia and Germany called the Ribentropp-Molotov pact. Russia and Germany had signed treaties with Poland a few years before, and France and England had given their promise to protect Poland in case of an attack in 1939. France and England had hoped that Russia would protect Poland, but it did not know about the pact between Germany and Russia. Stalin and his forces took the other half of Poland with its oil fields. Hitler had not known they would attack so swiftly because he had planned to cut Stalin off from the oil fields and Hitler's road to the oil of Romania.
With Germany on the west and Russia on the east, it did not take much to take over Warsaw, the capitol of Poland. The major of Warsaw, Stefan Starzynski, organized the citizens and fought back. They dug trenches and constructed fortifications. Many of the Polish officers left their surrendering troops and retreated back into Warsaw to form new regiments made of mostly officers. In the trenches that were five yards apart were usually one to two men with rifles, machine guns, and hand grenades. The German's tried to get them to surrender quickly by promising bread and no imprisonment. The Poles refused to listen to the lies. They were then bombarded with artillery day and night. Railroad stations, coal yards, and hotels were gutted and were reduced to rubble. The Old Saxon palace in Pilsudski Square was also destroyed from being shelled and burned. Fires were everywhere. In ten days the great city was reduced to smoking piles of plaster, brick, and debris, and hardly any building was left untouched. The results of the bombings were catastrophic. Water supplies and sewers were damaged, and food was very low. On September 27, 1939, with no more ammunition, the defenders had to be capitulated. There were a few isolated units out in the south and east of Poland until October. In the end, Germany held 73,000 square miles of land with the lion's share of Poland's mining and manufacturing with 22,000,000 people. But to obtain this land, Germany did suffer some losses. They lost 3 tanks and 400 aircraft. About 8,082 German men were killed, 27,278 were wounded, and 5,029 were missing. The Russians received 77,000 square miles and it's oil, along with 13,000,000 people.
Tens of thousands of Polish that were left were forced into slave labor for the Nazi machine. With the land that Germany had taken, it was split into two 36,000 square mile segments. One section of land was incorporated into Germany, and the other section of land was converted into a "Gouvernement General" with Krakow as it's capital and Hans Frank as Nazi Administrator. Nazi Police Cheif Heinrich Himmler was designated to begin a merciless extermination of the Poles and Jews by firing squads and gas chambers.
The eradication of Poland of six years began with mass execution, gallows, and death camps. Whole families and settlements were snuffed out of existence. The citizens of importance like university professors, teachers, and priests were killed selectively. The population of Poland dropped dramatically. For example, in 1939, there were nearly 34 million. However, by 1945, there were only about 16 million in Poland. The total of the native Polish that were killed was more than 12 million, not counting the Jews, Gypsies, and other minorities.
This was the beginning of the terrible blood bath of World War II.