Reuters - Video

Edition: U.S. | U.K. | IN | CN

World News

Polish town remembers attack that sparked World War II

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 01:36

Before the first shots of WWII were fired 75 years ago, a staged attack on German soil was used to justify Hitler's invasion of Poland. Vanessa Johnston reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Joachim Fulczyk still remembers the fateful radio broadcast 75 years ago that provided Adolf Hitler with an excuse to launch his invasion of Poland -- that sparked World War Two. (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) GLIWICE RESIDENT, JOACHIM FULCZYK SAYING: "I was eight years old then and I remember what was broadcast by the German radio, that there was an attack on the Gleiwitz radio station by.... be it Poles or rebels... And my mother said to her sister: 'This cannot be true'." And she was right. Germans pretending to be Poles had staged the attack on their own radio station on the evening of August 31, 1939. The next day Hitler made a speech in Berlin citing that -- and other orchestrated incidents -- to justify his decision to storm Poland. World War Two began two days later when Britain and France declared war on Germany. It was to last nearly six years and result in the deaths of more than 45 million people. As Poles and Germans prepare to mark the 75th anniversary of World War Two's first battle on Monday, the scene here is very different. For one, the town of Gleiwitz is now Polish and called 'Gliwice' -- ever since theThird Reich was defeated in 1945. And relations between the two countries are better than ever -- they are economic partners within the European Union and military allies in NATO.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Polish town remembers attack that sparked World War II

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 01:36