Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 1939; French Break through German Lines:



Action Scene Kept Secret
in Dispatches; Heavy
Duel Reported.

PARIS, Sept. 4.—(INS)—France's seasoned and war-tried army opened operations against Nazi Germany at dawn today and 12 hour- later had broken through the German lines at a dozen points, according to official announcement by the French high command.

At some places, the communique asserted, the French penetrated into German territory to a depth of three kilometers (1.86 miles). "Attacking with traditional bravery and clan," The communique issued at 4:45 p. m., stated, "French troops penetrated the German lines at a dozen points, advancing as much as three kilometers."

(Editor's note: For obvious reasons of censorship, the exact spots where the French broke through were not revealed. It was thought likely, however, that the attack might have been made from the Metz region into the Saar, where the Rhino river docs not form a natural fortification as it docs father south).
With land, sea. and air forces all participating, France went into action at 5 a. in., today. Details o/ the operations were exceedingly scanty, but it was clearly obvious that hostilities on a major scale were in progress.

Quick Victory in Eastern
Europe Sector Pledged
to Germany.

BERLIN, Sept. 4.—W—Adolf Hitler, relying on the Siegfried line of fortifications in the west to "shelter and defend" Germany against Britain and France, joined his troops on the eastern front today to direct the drive to conquer Poland and thus "burst open the ring laid around Germany."Declaring "Germany will never again capitulate," the fuehrer left behind him .an assurance the task of subjugating Poland will take "only a few weeks," if the western army does its duty in holding off Poland's two allies.

"Then," he added, in a special message to the army facing France, "the strength of our entire ninety millions stands behind you."
Hitler departed to take personal command of the forces fighting on the Polish • front some 12 hours after he had rejected the ultimatum presented by the British ambassador, sir Nevlle Henderson, demanding the withdrawal of German troops from Poland.


Mobilization of All Regular
Forces in Empire

LONDON, Sept. 4.—(INS)—Full mobilization of all regular forces in Great Britain and the colonies was announced by the war office today as Britain's mighty navy, backbone of defense against Nazi Germany,was launched upon a sweeping blockade of reich naval ports.

A bulletin Issued by the ministry of information said: The war office states that all British regular forces have been mobilized in all colonies and all measures of security taken. Precautions have been taken to ensure that enemy action will not hinder the use of the Suez canal tor merchant shipping.
From the colonies and dependencies where defense measures have all been completed, messages of loyalty are still arriving. "Reports show volunteer forces everywhere. The colonies and dependencies have no lack of volunteers."

Liner With 1347 Aboard,
Including 311 From
U.S. Is Sunk.

LONDON, Sept. 4.—(AP)—A rescue fleet, guarded by guns of British destroyers, was officially reported today to have saved all but the few persons killed by the explosion which sank the Donaldson liner Athenia, which British officials sald was torpedoed by a German submarine in the open North Atlantic.

There were 1347 passengers and crew aboard, which Included United States citizens listed tentatively at 311.

The charge that the Athena was torpedoed was made by the British ministry of information and officially reiterated in commons by Winston Churchill, first lord of the admiralty.
Bulletins from British government agencies failed to give the number of dead. The main basis for hope was the announcement which the Athenians master, Capt. James Cook, wirelessed:



Keep Out of War
We can keep out of war if we want to. Europe could keep out of war if it wanted to. There .is no situation in Europe which could not have been solved by the peaceful discussion which the president urged. But the traditional hatreds and jealousies and the long established warlike habits of Europe made war inevitable there. But war is in no sense inevitable here. We have not the established warlike habits. We have not the racial hatreds, the international jealousies. We have not the greed for power and added territory.

And if we follow the injunctions of Washington, we will not have the partisanship which might lead us into war.

If the president wants to keep us out of war—as it is evident from his broadcast that he does—if the congress acts intelligently to keep us out of war, if the people continue their desire, so often expressed, to keep out of European conflicts, there is no reason why we should become involved in this European catastrophe. When it is over, Europe will be prostrated of course.

The people will be exhausted and impoverished. A large part of what we considered civilization, but what is apparently only an empty shell, will have been destroyed over there.

But here in America peace and prosperity will prevail, the best benefits of civilization will have been retained, and the United States in her full strength can stand forth to lead and aid the world back to such peace and happiness as these warring peoples are then capable of securing and enjoying.

America has a great opportunity, a great mission, which it can only fulfill if it keeps out of war, and if it keeps its resources, its institutions, its democratic principles intact, and fully available for its own benefit, and for the reconstruction of the world.



War Bulletins

AMSTERDAM, Sept. 4.—(AP)_A Netherlands radio announcement tonight said that German bombing planes had been seen flying west over Netherlands territory.


LONDON, Sept. 4—(AP)—Via Radio)—The admiralty announced today that there were no mines in the north Atlantic where the liner Athenia went down yesterday with 1347 persons aboard, about 300 of whom were Americans.



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