Events occurring on Tuesday, September 5, 1939  
  Fall Weiss - The German Invasion of Poland  
  The German 10th and 14th Armies crossed the Vistula River within 30 miles of Warsaw.  
  The Polish government began to evacuate Warsaw for Lublin, 100 miles southeast of the capitol.  
  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the neutrality of the United States in the war between Germany and France, Poland, the United Kingdom, India, Australia and New Zealand.  
  The Battle of the Atlantic  
  The unescorted British steam merchant Bosnia was stopped by gunfire and after the crew abandoned ship was torpedoed and sunk by the U-47, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, about 120 miles north-northwest of Cape Ortegal, Spain in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 32 survivors were picked up by the Norwegian motor tanker Eidanger. The 2,407 ton Bosnia was carrying sulphur and was bound for Manchester, England.  
  The unescorted British steam merchant Royal Sceptre was sunk by gunfire by the U-48, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze, about 300 miles northwest of Cape Finisterre off the west coast Spain in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 1 died and 32 survivors were picked up by the British steam merchant Browning. The 4,853 ton Royal Sceptre was carrying wheat and maize and was bound for Belfast, Ireland.  
  Captain Alan G. Kirk, U.S. Naval Attaché, and Commander Norman R. Hitchcock, Assistant U.S. Naval Attaché and Assistant U.S. Naval Attaché for Air, were flown to Galway, Ireland, where they interviewed the British steam passenger ship Athenia's surviving officers and men. The Athenia was torpedoed on September 3 by the U-30 and sank the next day. The attaché's investigation concluded that Athenia was torpedoed by a submarine.  
  The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark, ordered the Commander Atlantic Squadron, Rear Admiral Alfred W. Johnson, to maintain an offshore patrol to report "in confidential system" the movements of all foreign men-of-war approaching or leaving the east coast of the United States and approaching and entering or leaving the Caribbean. U.S. Navy ships were to avoid making a report of foreign men-of-war or suspicious craft, however, on making contact or when in their vicinity to avoid the performance of unneutral service "or creating the impression that an unneutral service is being performed." The patrol was to extend about 300 miles off the eastern coastline of the United States and along the eastern boundary of the Caribbean. Furthermore, U.S. naval vessels were to report the presence of foreign warships sighted at sea to the district commandant concerned.  
  The destroyers USS Davis (DD 395) and USS Benham (DD-397) were designated as the Grand Banks Patrol. They were to render rescue and other neutral assistance in emergencies and to observe and report ("in confidential system") movements of all foreign warships. They were to patrol across existing steamer lanes to the southward of the Grand Banks and to approximately 50° Maritime Commission. The two destroyers would be replaced by two 327-foot Coast Guard cutters.  
  Hydrographic Office Special Warning No. 9 directed that all U.S. merchant ships en route to or from Europe were not to steer a zig zag course, were not to black out at night, and were to paint the U.S. flag on each side of the hull, on hatches fore and aft, and on sun decks of passenger vessels, and to illuminate the colors flying from the flagstaff at night.  
  Hydrographic Office Special Warning No. 12 directed that all U.S. merchant vessels engaged in domestic, "near-by foreign" or transpacific trade were not required to paint the flag on hull, hatches and decks, but otherwise were to follow the other instructions contained in Special Warning No. 9.  
  The U.S. freighter Black Osprey, bound for Rotterdam, Holland, and Antwerp, Belgium, was stopped by British warship off Lizard Head, England and was ordered into the port of Weymouth, one of the five "contraband control bases." The other "contraband control bases" that would be established by the British were Ramsgate, Kirkwall, Gibraltar and Haifa.  
  The U.S. freighter Lehigh, bound for Hamburg, Germany, was detained by the British.  
  The Philippine motorship Don Isidro, on her maiden voyage en route from her builders' yard at Kiel, Germany, to Manila, Philippine Islands, cleared the Suez Canal. The U.S. government immediately protested that British authorities removed at Port Said two German engineers (on board "to guarantee construction and demonstrate proper manning" of the new vessel) from the Don Isidro which was under the American flag. The U.S. claimed this act was illegal and a violation of the neutral rights of the United States.  
  South Africa in WW2  
  General Jan Christian Smuts replaced Barry Hertzog as Prime Minister of South Africa after the legislature defeated Hertzog’s proposal that the country declare its neutrality.  
  Events in the United Kingdom  
  The National Registration Act was passed by Parliament in the United Kingdom. The Act was an emergency measure at the start of the war and established a National Register which began operating on September 29, 1939. The National Register was a system of identity cards and a requirement that they must be produced on demand or presented to a police station within 48 hours.  
  Weapons Advancement  
  At a meeting with rocket specialists Walter Dornberger and Karl Becker, German Army Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Walter von Brauchitsch signed an order stating that the “Peenemunde Project (Army Experimental Center, Production Plant and Construction Office) is to be pushed forward with all possible means as particularly urgent for national defense.”  
  The U.S. steamship President Roosevelt offloaded the British Scott-Paine-type motor torpedo boat PT 9 at New York. PT 9 would be the prototype for the motor torpedo boats constructed by the Electric Boat Company.  
  September 1939 Calendar  
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The objective of 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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