On This Day, 9-27-2008: Poland Surrenders!

September 27, 1939

Poland surrenders

On this day in 1939, 140,000 Polish troops are taken prisoner by the German invaders as Warsaw surrenders to the superior mechanized forces of Hitler’s army. The Poles fought bravely, but were able to hold on for only 26 days.

On the heels of its victory, the Germans began a systematic program of terror, murder, and cruelty, executing members of Poland’s middle and upper classes: Doctors, teachers, priests, landowners, and businessmen were rounded up and killed. The Nazis had given this operation the benign-sounding name “Extraordinary Pacification Action.” The Roman Catholic Church, too, was targeted, because it was a possible source of dissent and counterinsurgency. In one west Poland church diocese alone, 214 priests were shot. And hundreds of thousands more Poles were driven from their homes and relocated east, as Germans settled in the vacated areas.

This was all part of a Hitler master plan. Back in August, Hitler warned his own officers that he was preparing Poland for that “which would not be to the taste of German generals”–including the rounding up of Polish Jews into ghettos, a prelude to their liquidation. All roads were pointing to Auschwitz.

“Poland surrenders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Sep 2008, 05:11 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6597.


On This Day

1779 – John Adams was elected to negotiate with the British over the American Revolutionary War peace terms.

1928 – The U.S. announced that it would recognize the Nationalist Chinese Government.

1938 – The League of Nations branded the Japanese as aggressors in China.

1940 – The Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis was set up. The military and economic pact was for 10 years between Germany, Italy and Japan.

1964 – The Warren Commission issued a report on the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963. The report concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.

1973 – U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew said he would not resign after he pleaded “no contest” to a charge of tax evasion. He did resign on October 10th.

1982 – Italian and French soldiers entered the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Beirut. The move was made by the members of a multinational force due to hundreds of Palestinians being massacred by Christian militiamen.

2004 – North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon announced that North Korea had turned plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into nuclear weapons. He also said that the weapons were to serve as a deterrent against increasing U.S. nuclear threats and to prevent nuclear war in northeast Asia. The U.S. State Department noted that the U.S. has repeatedly said that the U.S. has no plans to attack North Korea.


September 27, 1540

Jesuit order established

In Rome, the Society of Jesus–a Roman Catholic missionary organization–receives its charter from Pope Paul III. The Jesuit order played an important role in the Counter-Reformation and eventually succeeded in converting millions around the world to Catholicism.

The Jesuit movement was founded by Ignatius de Loyola, a Spanish soldier turned priest, in August 1534. The first Jesuits–Ignatius and six of his students–took vows of poverty and chastity and made plans to work for the conversion of Muslims. If travel to the Holy Land was not possible, they vowed to offer themselves to the pope for apostolic work. Unable to travel to Jerusalem because of the Turkish wars, they went to Rome instead to meet with the pope and request permission to form a new religious order. In September 1540, Pope Paul III approved Ignatius’ outline of the Society of Jesus, and the Jesuit order was born.

“Jesuit order established.” 2008. The History Channel website. 27 Sep 2008, 05:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5378.

5 Responses to “On This Day, 9-27-2008: Poland Surrenders!”

  1. 1 ericnave
    September 27, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    The headline is wrong. It should read on this day Warsaw surrenders – the whole of Poland had not surrendered. The last battle was the Battle of Kock which ended on 6 October.

  2. 2 Randy Roberts
    September 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    You bring up a valid point. War endings are often murky and very rarely can a specific day be pointed to as the day a war ended.

    The great American example of that would be the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans occurs several days after the war was officially over.

    The end of the American Civil War is regarded as April 9, 1865 when Robert E Lee surrenders. But Joe Johnston doesn’t surrender his army until several weeks later and guerilla fighting would go on throughout 1865 and some would argue continues to this day.

    The end of World War II in Europe is regarded as May 8, 1945 even though ardent Nazis continued partisan activity well into the next decade.

    The surrender of Warsaw is the surrender of the Polish government and essentially the surrender of Poland, and any fighting thereafter would be considered partisan or guerilla fighting. Arguably the Polish Government in exile never surrendered and so Poland had not surrendered at all during World War II, but that government also never returned to power in Poland.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. 3 ericnave
    September 28, 2008 at 10:11 am

    “The surrender of Warsaw is the surrender of the Polish government and essentially the surrender of Poland, and any fighting thereafter would be considered partisan or guerilla fighting”

    Ok we are talking semantics but it was the mayor of Warsaw who surrendered on behalf of his city. The Polish government had fled to Romania. The rough equivalent would be if Stalin had fled but the Nazi’s captured Moscow. You still could not have said that the Soviet Union surrendered because it’s capital was captured.

    So I still think a more correct heading would be “Warsaw surrenders” not “Poland surrenders”

  4. 4 Randy Roberts
    September 28, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    We were talking semantics until you invalidated your own point. “The Polish government had fled to Romania.” The Polish government had fled the country essentially making the mayor of Warsaw the de facto leader of Poland.

    Here are other examples from history.

    The Shah of Iran leaves Iran because of the Iranian Revolution. Is he still in control of Iran? I think not, because had he returned to Iran he would have most certainly been executed. Had the Polish government returned to Poland they would have most certainly been imprisoned if not executed.

    At the end of the Battle of Yorktown Cornwallis refuses to surrender his sword to Washington, instead he had an underling offer his sword, which Washington refused to accept. Does that mean Cornwallis had not surrendered? Of course not. It just means Cornwallis wasn’t willing to accept defeat.

    Had the Germans captured Moscow Stalin would not have surrendered, he would have simply retreated deeper into the Soviet Union, but he would still be in the Soviet Union. The surrender of Warsaw is the surrender of Poland, whether it be by the mayor or the chief dog catcher, because the rest of the government, unwilling to accept defeat, had fled.

    Poland Surrenders!

    Thank you for commenting.

  5. 5 ericnave
    September 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Ok then if Stalin had fled to China had that been plausible. Soviet forces still loyal to him still controlling parts of the Soviet Union.

    Mayor of Warsaw was never regarded as the leader of all Poland. Therefore Poland had not surrendered.

    Thank you for responding……

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