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In the evening the English wireless was already beginning to discuss the question of war guilt. The Germans are permitted to hear that Hitler’s ‘surprisingly generous proposals’ were never actually made. Then on German wireless there were more military marches, creating the mood for dying, on the English wireless - instructions to the population, evacuation of 3 million people from London.


At times, Chamberlain even tried to bang his fist on the famous ‘box’ on the Speaker’s table. But everything cost him such torment and was expressed with such despair in his eyes, voice and gestures that it was sickening to watch him. And this is the head of the British Empire at the most critical moment in its history! He is not the head of the British Empire, but its grave-digger! ...

Unless an extraordinary miracle happens at the very last moment, Britain will find itself at war with Germany within the next 48 hours.


Throughout these last days of crisis Signor Mussolini also has been doing his best to reach a solution.It now only remains for us to set our teeth and to enter upon this struggle, which we ourselves earnestly endeavoured to avoid, with determination to see it through to the end. We shall enter it with a clear conscience, with the support of the Dominions and the British Empire, and the moral approval of the greater part of the world. We have no quarrel with the German people, except that they allow themselves to be governed by a Nazi Government. As long as that Government exists and pursues the methods it has so persistently followed during the last two years, there will be no peace in Europe. We shall merely pass from one crisis to another, and see one country after another attacked by methods which have now become familiar to us in their sickening technique. We are resolved that these methods must come to an end. If out of the struggle we again re-establish in the world the rules of good faith and the renunciation of force, why, then even the sacrifices that will be entailed upon us will find their fullest justification.


Chamberlain, looking terribly depressed and speaking in a quiet, lifeless voice, confessed that 18 months ago (when Eden retired!) he prayed not to have to take upon himself the responsibility for declaring war, but now he fears that he will not be able to avoid it. But the true responsibility for the unleashing of war lies not with the prime minister, but ‘on the shoulders of one man – the German Chancellor’, who has not hesitated to hurl mankind into the abyss of immense suffering ‘to serve his senseless ambitions’. 


The thoughts of many of us must at this moment inevitably be turning back to 1914, and to a comparison of our position now with that which existed then. How do we stand this time? The answer is that all three Services are ready, and that the situation in all directions is far more favourable and reassuring than in 1914, while behind the fighting Services we have built up a vast organisation of Civil Defence under our scheme of Air Raid Precautions. As regards the immediate man-power requirements, the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force are in the fortunate position of having almost as many men as they can conveniently handle at this moment. 


I do not propose to say many words to-night. The time has come when action rather than speech is required. Eighteen months ago in this House I prayed that the responsibility might not fall upon me to ask this country to accept the awful arbitrament of war. I fear that I may not be able to avoid that responsibility. But, at any rate, I cannot wish for conditions in which such a burden should fall upon me in which I should feel clearer than I do to-day as to where my duty lies.

No man can say that the Government could have done more to try to keep open the way for an honourable and equitable settlement of the dispute between Germany and Poland. Nor have we neglected any means of making it crystal clear to the German Government that if they insisted on using force again in the manner in which they had used it in the past we were resolved to oppose them by force. Now that all the relevant documents are being made public we shall stand at the bar of history knowing that the responsibility for this terrible catastrophe lies on the shoulders of one man-the German Chancellor, who has not hesitated to plunge the world into misery in order to serve his own senseless ambitions.


Tomorrow Britain and France probably will come in and you have your second World War. The British and French tonight sent an ultimatum to Hitler to withdraw his troops from Poland or their ambassadors will ask for their passports. Presumably they will get their passports.


 Naval reservists and rest of army and R.A.F. reservists called up. Evacuation of children etc. begins today, involving 3 m. people & expected to take 3 days. [Radio; undated] 


Hitler, may his name be blotted out, threatened in one of his speeches that if war comes the Jews of Europe will be exterminated. The Jews comprehend and sense all that is in store for them wherever Hitler's armies make a temporary conquest. It should therefore not be surprising that the Jews show their devotion to their fatherland in a demonstrative fashion. When the order was issued that all the inhabitants of the city must dig shelter trenches for protection from air raids, the Jews came in numbers. I, too, was among them. I took with me A.W., whose friend and supporter I have become in this time of tribulation. We signed up with the group of diggers who volunteered on behalf of the Jewish Journalists and Authors Association, and we went to dig at 29 Dluga Street. This was almost the first time in my life that I had done such physical labor, but I did not lag in my work. I returned home tired, but I couldn't eat.


War! The alarm woke me up at half past seven in the morning, but it seemed to be an exercise and I fell asleep again. At eight thirty the minister called to say that the local press office reported that the Germans had bombed Krakow and many other cities at dawn. A new alarm soon after. We understood that it was serious and all went to the shelter. Forsberg and I, in helmets and gas masks, went to the attic to extinguish any potential incendiary bombs. As I write, there were already four alarms. During the alarms we heard distant detonations. Bombs were not supposed to fall on the city.


We are now waiting for England and France to join the war. Perhaps the United States will enter, too. Meanwhile, we fight off the German attacks valiantly. There were three air-raid alarms during which enemy warplanes were prevented from reaching the city.


 Hitler’s terms to Poland boil down to return of Danzig & plebiscite in the corridor, to be held 1 year hence & based on 1918 census. There is some hanky panky about time the terms were presented, & as they were to be answered by night of 8.30.39., H. claims that they are already refused. [ Daily Telegraph ] 


- Wake up, wake up! It's an air raid warning! - My mother jolted me awake.

On the radio, there were endless broadcasts of the first beats of Chopin's Polonaise. Suddenly we heard "Attention, attention! Incoming, incoming... F.A. 63 has just passed". A minute later the voice announced: Attention, attention! C.H. 54 has passed.

- Mom, this is not an alarm for Warsaw. This is how they give the position of the enemy planes. I am sure this is not an alarm. Maybe some drills. Please don’t worry and let's go back to bed. It is still so early. 


Invasion of Poland began this morning. Warsaw bombed. General mobilisation proclaimed in England, ditto in France plus martial law. [Radio]

Hitler’s terms to Poland boil down to return of Danzig & plebiscite in the corridor, to be held 1 year hence & based on 1918 census. There is some hanky panky about time the terms were presented, & as they were to be answered by night of 8.30.39., H. claims that they are already refused. [ Daily Telegraph ]


Germany has begun the war!

This morning Chancellor Hitler made a declaration in the Reichstag in which he demanded Gdansk, Pomerania, a number of new plebiscites, etc. At the same time, German forces began to cross the Polish border in a number of places. Simultaneously, air raids were made on such Polish cities as Krakow, Czestochowa, Katowice, Grodno, and so on. The world has caught fire.