Events occurring on Sunday, September 3, 1939  
  Diplomacy  
  France and Great Britain sent ultimatums to German Chancellor Adolf Hitler: begin an immediate withdrawal of Poland or face world war. After receiving no favorable response Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.  
   
  Australia, New Zealand, and India declared war on Germany.  
   
  Fall Weiss - The German Invasion of Poland  
     
  The Polish Lodz Army was in retreat after being beaten in the frontier battles with Army Group South.  
   
  The German 14th Army was converging on Krakow.  
   
  Czestochowa in Upper Silesia was captured by the Germans.  
   
  Allied Military Reaction to German Aggression  
  The British government announced the implementation of a naval blockade of Germany.  
   
  10 Whitley medium bombers of Nos. 51 and 58 Squadrons carried out the first RAF operation over Germany, dropping over 5 million leaflets over Hamburg, Bremen and the Ruhr telling the Germans that Hitler's promises were worthless, that Germany was near bankruptcy, and Germany was weak compared to Allied forces.  
   
  The Air War Over Europe  
  A Bristol Blenheim light bomber of No. 139 Squadron, Wyton, carried out the RAF's first operational sortie of the war - photographic reconnaissance of the German naval base of Wilhelmshaven.  
   
  The Battle of the Atlantic  
  The British steam passenger ship Athenia was torpedoed and sunk by the U-30, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Fritz-Julius Lemp, about 250 miles west of Ireland. Of the ship’s complement and passengers, 112 died and 1,306 survivors were picked up by the Norwegian motor merchant Knute Nelson, the Swedish motor yacht Southern Cross, and the destroyers HMS Electra and HMS Escort. The 13,581 ton Athenia was carrying general cargo and 1,103 passengers and was bound for Montreal, Canada. The Athenia was the first ship sunk by a U-boat in the World War II and Germany initially denied responsibility, claiming that Great Britain planted a bomb to bring the United States into the war.  
   
  The light cruiser HMS Ajax, under command of Captain Charles H. L. Woodhouse, intercepted the 4,576 ton German merchant Olinda outward bound from Montevideo, Uruguay off the River Plate. Not having a prize crew available to seize the Olinda, HMS Ajax shelled and sank the vessel.  
   
  The British Home Fleet deployed aircraft carriers to seek out and destroy German submarines. The HMS Ark Royal was deployed off the northwestern approaches to the British Isles. The HMS Courageous and HMS Hermes were deployed off the southwestern approaches.  
   
  The U.S. freighter Saccarappa, with a cargo of phosphates and cotton, was seized by British authorities and its cargo confiscated. British patrols would stop 108 merchantmen over the next three weeks, ordering 28 into ports to have their cargoes inspected, confiscated, or to remove German nationals. This procedure would continue through 1939 until a procedure to certify cargos before departure was instituted.  
   
  Events in the United Kingdom  
  British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain formed a War Cabinet and a Ministry of Economic Warfare was established. The War Cabinet included Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty and Anthony Eden as Secretary for the Dominions. Churchill and Eden have been the most prominent opponents of an appeasement policy. The message "Winston is back" was signaled to all Royal Navy ships and installations.  
   
  Inside the Third Reich  
  Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Security Service, issued a secret decree which provided all regional police leaders with regulations for internal state security during the war. The new regulations ordered the immediate arrest of any person who publicly voiced doubts concerning Germany's victory in the war or the nature of the war and gave instructions to “eliminate such elements ruthlessly.” As the war progressed, an increasing number of people were arrested. Many were deported without trial directly to concentration camps.  
   
  Egypt in WW2  
The Egyptian government proclaimed martial law in order to deport Germans, impose censorship, and arrest persons suspected of espionage.
     
   
  September 1939 Calendar  
   
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The objective of WW2Timelines.com is to provide a day by day account of the events that lead up to and were part of the greatest conflict known to mankind. There are accounts for the activities of each particular day and timelines for subjects and personalities. It is the of this website intent to provide an unbiased account of the war. Analysis, effects caused by an event, or prior or subsequent pertinent events are presented separately and indicated as text that is italicized.

 
   
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