and World War II;
by a U.S. Marine
6 years before he became a Marine
March 1992, 7th grade
World War II was assured when Germany
invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. During the
preceeding months, Germany had taken control of Austria
and Czechoslovakia; both countries had surrendered their
land in fear of Germany's massive military forces. Poland
France and Britain had signed a treaty with Poland
stating that, if Germany invaded Poland and Poland
resisted, France and Britain would come to Poland's
defense. Although this did not help Poland, the
obligation of those countries made other parts of the
After refusing to surrender, Poland was invaded by
Germany from the west, the north, and the south. Germany
invaded from the west from the mainland, from the north
through East Prussia (a part of Germany), and from the
south through German-occupied Czechoslovakia.
Seventeen days afer Germany invaded Poland, the Soviet
Union invaded Poland from the east under the pretense of
liberating Poland. Actually, the Soviet Union was
recapturing land which Poland and the Soviets had last
fought over in 1922.
Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, had signed an
agreement with Adolph Hitler, leader of Germany, to
divide and share Poland. They agreed that Germany would
rule the west and the Soviets would rule the east.
The Soviets controlled eastern Poland until 1941. They
treated the Poles as the Germans were treating the Poles
to the west, only in a less orderly fashion. The killed
whomever they chose on the spot rather than send them to
death camps. They starved whole communities by not
allowing them to receive food. They took some people into
the interior of Russia and forced them to work as slaves.
They suppressed and killed organizers of any religion.
In 1941, Stalin learned that Hitler was not a man of his
word. Hitler turned his forces to the east and took the
rest of Poland and took some Soviet land also. Hitler's
forces sent Jewish Poles to ghettos or death camps.
Non-Jewish Poles were sent to forced-labor camps or
killed on the spot. Some were passed over and survived.
Germany controlled Poland until 1945 when the Allied
Forces won the war in Europe. Yet at the Yalta
Conference, Poland lost its eastern portion. The Allies
gave it to Stalin as a "thank you" for his
The story of the war and one man