Outbreak of World War II

World War II in the Arctic

the Arctic 1939.091

Outbreak of World War II

Arctic disputes, Winter War, Weather War, World War II, Cold War, Climate Change (10 September 1939)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

While Norway and Denmark were disputing ownership of Eastern Greenland, Japan invaded Manchuria and Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. By the end of the decade, the expansionist policies of these two nations were threatening the existing order. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Britain and France declared war, with Canada following suit a week later.

Main Events

Chancellor Adolf Hitler

In a coalition agreement between the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazi party) and the German National People's Party (DNVP), German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. From here Hitler would move swiftly to consolidate absolute power.

International Ruling on Greenland

The Permanent Court of International Justice ruled against Norway in its dispute with Denmark over eastern Greenland (Erik the Red's Land). In the wake of the court's ruling, Norway abandoned its claim.

Newfoundland Act

In accordance with the recommendation of the Newfoundland Royal Commission under Lord Amulree, the British Commission of Government took control of the Dominion of Newfoundland, with the government of the United Kingdom made responsible for the finances of the country. This state of affairs was intended to last until the island overcame its financial woes and became self-supporting again.

Japanese invasion of China

On the night of July 7, Chinese and Japanese troops exchanged fire in the vicinity of the Marco Polo bridge, an important access route to Beiping (Beijing). The confused skirmish escalated into a full-scale battle in which Beiping and Tianjin fell to Japanese forces, and marked the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov, his Soviet counterpart, signed the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Moscow. The pact provided a guarantee that neither of the two powers would take up arms against the other, as well as secretly dividing eastern Europe between them.

Germany invasion of Poland

Using several German-staged incidents as casus belli, Nazi Germany struck Wieluń, Poland, with the Luftwaffe at 04:40 on 1 September 1939 - the first blow of World War II. Five minutes later, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on a Polish military transit depot in the Free City of Danzig, with Germany launching an all out attack on Poland's northern, western, and southern borders later that day.

Declaration of War on Germany

Responding to the German invasion of Poland, France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany. The official Declaration of war by France and the United Kingdom was read out by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in Westminster, London, on behalf of both countries. Although the declaration fulfilled the two powers' guarantees to Poland, moves of practical support were limited.

Declaration of war by Canada

When the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Canada's political leaders unnecessarily sought political approval of the federal parliament to declare war to make a point of the dominion's new independence from Britain. The House of Commons and Senate of Canada approved authorization for the declaration on 9 September, after which the High Commissioner obtained the signature of King George VI as head of state. Canada officially declared war on Germany on 10 September.

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