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Today in History: September 3, 1939 – WWII Begins

Although Germany had invaded Poland two days earlier, on the 1st, Britain had been hoping to avoid another major war. But, they’d made a promise to Poland, and were obligated to keep it.

Unfortunately for Poland, while Britain and France may have declared war against the Axis powers, they didn’t do much in the way of actually giving Poland the support they needed to fend of the Nazis. Their idea of “helping” was to drop a ton of anti-war pamphlets on the Germans. This, after handing over Czechoslovakia to Nazis. When, oh, that’s right, Hitler promised he’d be content with just that land. Of course, we all knew that wouldn’t last long.

[Below: British newspaper announcing the start of WWII & PM Chamberlain]

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Back in America, while we wouldn’t join the war for another two years, President Roosevelt took the opportunity to address the American People via his famous Fireside Chats. Fireside Chats were something that American people looked forward to, gathering around their family radioes to listen to the President speak to them – right in their living rooms! It felt like he was speaking directly to them.

Despite the breakout of war across Europe, Roosevelt proclaimed neutrality. He may have been keeping his boys out of war, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t willing to lend a helping hand. He told the people of his plan to sell arms to Britain and France. He also intended to send them all the supplies and food they needed. Unfortunately, most of everything sent via ship was sunk by U-boats.

Europe was at war, fighting off the vicious foes of Fascism, Naziism (which is Fascism), Socialism, and Communism.  

[Below: Roosevelt’s September 3, 1939 Fireside Chat]

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Listen:

September 3, 1939: Fireside Chat 14: On the European War

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