History, Military History, The War in Europe,

On This Day in 1939

The Countdown To War – August 30th

The British Foreign Office sends a message to Berlin following reports of German sabotage in Poland. Poland is mobilising for war. Posters throughout the towns summon all men up to the age of forty to enlist.

Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson received minimum conditions of settlement from Hitler yesterday, August 29th. Hitler is demanding Danzig and the corridor, and wants Poland to send a negotiator within 24 hours. Britain and Poland refuse.

Henderson meets with von Ribbentrop on the night of August 30th. Ribbentrop presents Germany’s final offer to Poland and warns Henderson that Britain has until dawn to reply, after which time the offer will be considered to have been rejected. The discussions are heated and Henderson claims Ribbentrop refuses to grant him a copy of Hitler’s latest proposals.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It is a similar situation when peace envoy Birger Dahlerus meets with Goering shortly after midnight. Goering shows him the proposals for Poland, but refuses to grant him a copy.

Hitler agrees to grant Britain a 24-hour extension while a Polish negotiator meets von Ribbentrop.