The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on September 4, 1939 · 7
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 7

London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Monday, September 4, 1939
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THE MANCHESTER GUARDIAN, MONDAY. SEPTEMBER 4, 1939 BRITAIN AT WAR WITH GERMANY France's Entry Follows KING'S CALL TO EMPIRE Calm and Unity AIR ATTACKS ON POLISH TOWNS CONTINUE German Invasion on Several Fronts MR. EDEN BAGK IN OFFICE WAR AGAINST HITLERISM MR. CHURCHILL IN WAR CABINET The British LORD GORT THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF Britain and France are now at war with Germany. The British ultimatum expired at 11 a.m. yesterday, and France entered the war six hours later at 5 p.m. The first announcement that the country was at war was made by Mr. Chamberlain in a statement broadcast from Downing Street. A little later Mr. Chamberlain addressed the House of Commons, where the fateful words "The country is now at war" were heard calmly and with a notable demonstration of determination and unity and with relief that the doubts and anxiety of Saturday had been swept away. Notification that a state of war existed was handed to the German Charge d'Aff aires at 11 15. This constituted a formal declaration of war. Last night the King broadcast a call to the British people to stand calm and firm and united. War Cabinet The following War Cabinet has been constituted : Prime Minister Mr. NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir JOHN SIMON Secretary or Foreign Affair LORD HALIFAX Minister lor Co-ordination ol Djrfence Admiral of Fleet LORD CHATF1ELD Fint Lord of the Admiralty Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL Secretary for War Mr. HORE-BEL1SHA Secretary for Air Sir K1NGSLEY WOOD Lord Privy Seal Sir SAMUEL HOARE Minister Without Portfolio LORD HANKEY Mr. Churchill thus returns to the post he held at the outbreak of war in 1914. Lord Hankey was for many years Secretary to the Cabinet. Mr. Eden rejoins the Government as Dominions Secretary with special access to the War Cabinet. British Commander-in-Chief Lord Gort. V.C.. until now Chief of the Imperial Staff, has been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in the Field General Sir E. Ironside becomes Chief of Staff in his place, and general Sir Walter Kirke becomes Commander-in-Chief of the Home rorces. Mr. Hore-Belisha. the Secretary for War. announced in the House of Commons yesterday that men under 19 already in the Army would not be sent abroad. He also said that the class aged 18 would be one of the last to be called up. It was intended to start at 2! and go up the scale very considerably before calling on the younger men. The Admiralty, which was already in control of all British shipping, has now adopted the convoy system. The banks will be closed to-day, but will reopen to-morrow. The Stock Exchange remains closed for the present. . All cinemas, theatres, and other places of entertainment are to be closed until further notice. Sports gatherings, indoor or outdoor, which involve large numbers of people congregating are prohibited! Churches and other places of public worship will not be closed. President Roosevelt, in his broadcast to the United States last night, declared. " America will remain a neutral nation." He disclosed that the proclamation of neutrality was already being prepared. The German Reply The German Government handed its reply to Sir Nevile Henderson twenty minutes after the expiry of the time-limit. It refused to give any assurance to withdraw troops. For the rest the reply consisted of propaganda. After saying that Britain's " rigid " attitude had caused the crisis and that the Poles had attempted to ruin Danzig, the reply went on: The German Government and to destroy the German nation nation has not. as Great Britain now even more than it was has. any intention to rule the destroyed by the Treaty of world, but they are determined Versailles of which intention to defend their freedom, their Commander King-Hall has independence, and their life. We informed us by order of the take note of the British intention British Government. The French Chamber and Senate met on Saturday to hear the Premier's account of events and a message from the President. The two Houses voted war credits to cover the needs of national defence to the end of .the year. A joint Anglo-French declaration last night declared their intention to conduct hostilities -with a firm desire to spare civilian populations and to preserve monuments to human achievement. Turkey has given an assurance that she stands by Britain and France. Eleven smaller European States have declared their neutrality. The Empire Assurances of support are being received from many parts of the Empire. The one from New Zealand invites suggestions from London of methods by which she can best assist "in the common cause." The Commonwealth Premier announced in a broadcast to the nation last night, '-Australia is at war." The Dominion Parliament has been summoned for Thursday to give its authority " for effective co-operation by Canada at the side of Britain." The Fighting in Poland The German armies are now invading Northern Poland from both sides of die ." Corridor," and Polish Silesia from Slovakia and German Silesia. They have also attacked from the air many towns and villages far. from the fighting zone. Field Forces ALL WE HOLD DEAR AT STAKE "We Shall Prevail ' Tne Kins broadcast the following message to the Empire last night : In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, 1 send to every household of my people both at home .and overseas this message spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself. For the second time in the lives of most of us we are at war. Over and over again we have tried to hnd a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies. But it has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict. For we are called with our allies to meet the challenge of a principle which if it were to prevail would be fatal to any civilised order in the world. It is the principle which permits a State in the selfish pursuit of power to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges, which sanctions the use of force or threat of force against the sovereignty and independence of other States Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right, and if this principle were established throughout the world the freedom of our own country and of the whole British Commonwealth of Nations would be in danger. But far more than this the peoples of the world would be kept in the bondage of fear and all hopes of settled peace and of the security ot justice and liberty among nations would be ended. This is the ultimate issue which confronts us. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear and of the worms order ana peace it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge. It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas who will make our cause their own. I ask them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial. The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to Oiod. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it. rearfv fnr whatever service or sacrifice it may aemana, men witn uoa s help we suciu prevail. May He bless and keep us all. The King spoke from his study at Buckingham Palace. He was alone in the room as he broadcast Thp Quo An listened to the speech from another room m tne Palace. The King spoke in a serious. iiicasmeu lone. nis voire rnsp a little and his pace increased when he spoKe ot meeting the challenge of a principle which if it prevailed would be fatal to civilised order in the voria. A copy of the message is to be sent to every household in the country. THE EMPIRE'S HELP Many Assurances The British Government is receiving assurances from many parts of the Empire that they, will co-operate in the war against Hitlerism. The New Zealand Governmpnt promises to give the fullest consideration to any suggestion from London as. to me metnoas Oy which it can best assist " in the common cause " The Commnnvvpslfh Prom," - - -. umau casting last night, said, " Australia is "i war- wnere Britain stood the DeoDle of the V w Jr.lllOI wunu NLom a en The Dominion Cabinet is calling owiouicm on inursaay to seek its authority for effective co-operation by Canada at the side of Britain." The Viceroy, in a broadcast from Simla, appealed for the support of all both in British Tnriia mA ; lA UU Indian States. At least 46 State rulers nave now ottered their services to Britain. The Union Premier, General Hertzog. is shortly to make a statement on South Africa's attitude to the war. RATIONING OF PETROL The Secretary for Mines last night issued the following statement : "There are very substantial stocks of netrot in the country, but in the national interests the best use must be made of these supplies. For this purpose petrol distributors throughout the country have arranged to pool aQ their resources and after the individual brands still in stock at garages and service stations have been sold by them at the prices now ruling one grade only of motor spirit will be supplied tu the public "This spirit will be called 'pool' motor soirit and will be on sale ex pump in England and Wales at Is. 6d per gallon. No change win be made in the price for the next fourteen days at least. " Rationing will be introduced as from September 16. and to-morrow an announcement will be made informing tl nruhlff turn CMMnu nHnn IimV. Meanwhile the Government appeal to au owners oi motor vemcies to use them only for essential purposes. TOWN BURNED IN SILESIA: HARD FIGHTING IN "CORRIDOR" The German offensives in Northern Poland and Silesia continued yesterday, accompanied by the bombing of numerous towns, and yesterday the Germans are for the first time reported to have used gas in an air attack. The Poles give a list of between twenty and thirty towns which have been attacked, some of them several times. Some 1 .500 people were killed or injured in German air bombardments of open Polish towns and villages on Friday and Saturday. At the same time Hitler undertook to confine his air attacks to military objectives. Germany has not declared war. but yesterday the puppet State of Slovakia, which is occupied by great numbers of German troops, did so. Points of German Invasion The Germans are attacking on several fronts. Their forces are trying to meet across the "Corridor." moving from east and west. Farther south, in Silesia, they are fighting round Katowice which they have not. however, captured. Other forces have captured Bohumin and Teschen, still farther south. Some of the German troops forced their way to Bohumin over the Jablunka Pass from Slovakia. In Polish Silesia the Germans claim that they have captured the historic Polish city of Czestochowa. This is a place of pilgrimage. They bombed the town and yesterday it was said to be on fire. This morning Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris, will broadcast a condemnation of this. They also ' captured the railway junction of Bohumin. There is fighting on the main railway line from Berlin to Warsaw. There the Germans took the town of Zbaazyn. near the frontier, and yesterday the Poles retook it. The Polish General Staff claims that in the first two days the enemy lost 64 'planes and 100 tanks. The Germans claim 120 Polish aeroplanes, but this is denied by the Poles. AMERICAN AMBASSADOR'S VILLA DAMAGED IN RAID Reported Use of Gas by Germans Prom our own Correspondent Warsaw, September 3. It is announced here that the Germans used gas bombs during air raids yesterday on four Polish towns. One thousand five hundred civilians were killed in the first two days by air raids. In spite of Hitler's assurances to President Roosevelt that he would n -t bomb civilians German bombers to-day attacked and dropped bombs on towns of no strategical import-Ence. A Polish train that was evacuating the civilian population was bombed. The cinemas were opened as usual to-night even though only a short time before a heavy raid on Warsaw had been frustrated only by the effective firing of the anti-aircraft guns. Bombs were dropped outside the capital and one damaged the American Ambassador's villa at Konstancin, a summer resort. The Ambassador and his wife and daughter, who were inside, were unharmed, but two children in the district were killed. GARRISON HOLDS OUT The fiercest German attack is in Upper Silesia. Not only Gdynia, Poland's only seaport, but Grodno, near the Lithuanian frontier, has been heavily bombed, and at the latter place an historic church was destroyed besides many people being killed. In spite of repeated attacks from the air and by the Danzig Heimwehr the little island of Westerplatte, in the Danzig harbour, is still held by the Polish garrison of only one company. The Polish wireless stations, in the intervals between air-raid alarms, are relaying dance music, and the people are calm German accusations that Poland violated German territory and thus led to the German attack are categorically denied here. It is replied that Germany, the aggressor, is attacking Poland without a declara B.B.C. NEWS News bulletin.- will be broadcast by the B.B.C. to-day at 7 sum 8 a mr. 9 a.m.. 12 noon. J pm 2 p.m.. 4 30 p-nu, 6 pjn . 7 30 pn 9 p.m . 10 30 pxa-, 12 midnight. The programmes may be broken into for news or announcements every hour of the day. Programmes aa pag 21 tion of war. It is added that the attacks have been repulsed. " GOD SAVE THE KING " Thousands of people gathered at noon to-day outside the British Embassy and sang "God Save the King" after hearing the anxiously awaited news that Britain has entered the war. People wept for joy in the streets. A few minutes after the news had reached Warsaw the Polish Foreign Minister, Colonel Beck, arrived at the British Embassy, and, together with the Ambassador, Sir Howard Kennard, appeared on the balcony. Colonel Beck, who was deeply moved, declared : " Poland never doubted that Britain would fulfil her pledge." PROCLAMATION TO ARMY The following proclamation was issued to the Polish Army yesterday by Marshal Smigly-Rydz, Inspector General of the Polish forces : Soldiers, The Germans, our traditional enemy, attacked the Polish Republic yesterday, violating the whole frontier. The hour has come to fulfil our duty as soldiers. You are fighting for the future existence ot Poland. The enemy must pay with his blood for every step he has taken on Polish territory. Each ot you, confident in the equity of your cause and ir the God of Justice, must make a supreme effort to execute as firmly as possible what duty and honour command you to do. However long the war lasts and however great the sacrifices which it will entail, the final victory will be for us and our allies. Smigly-Rydz. "MILITARY OBJECTIVES - Warsaw, September 3. The German Government submitted to the Polish Government on the night of September 1-2, through the Du:ch Legation in Warsaw, a proposal that aerial bombardments should be restricted to military objectives. The Polish Government agreed, but at the same time pointed out that German 'planes have bombed 24 open Polish towns, whose names were given. Exchange Telegram. ON OTHER PAGES: P rentier's Broadcast 19 Parliament 3 Rooaovdfs State meat 9 Neutrality of Smaller CooBtriea 9 Hitler'. Appeal, to Nation 9 Tka Empire's PoaitioB 10 Depression in Gamasj (by mmr j DlrwnaKr CsiirniwMp ... 1 Eira to Stay Nesbrol . 10 German JReprj to Britain.... ... ! l Secretary mions SPECIAL ACCESS TO WAR CABINET Sir J. Anderson's Title From our Political Correspondent Westminster, Sunday. Two of the appointments to the War Cabinet win wide approval. The first, of course, is Mr. Churchill's to the Admiralty, the second is Lord Hankey's as Minister without For tf olio. Mr. Churchill, it was always believed, would have to be admitted to the Government immediately war broke out because public opinion would not tolerate his exclusion, and now he has gone to the post he held on the outbreak of war in 1914. There will be no less rejoicing in the Navy than among the general public. Nevertheless, gratified though most people are that he is now in the Government, there is a school of opinion that thinks that Mr. Churchill would have been better employed as a Minister without a Department to deal with the general problems of strategy and defence. That would really make him Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence, and Mr. Chamberlain keeps Lord Chatfield at that post. MR. EDEN Other Ministerial appointments (not in the War Cabinet) are as follows. The previous offices are given in brackets : Dominions Secretary .. Mr. Eden, lord President of the Council Lord Stanhope , (First Lord of the Admiralty). Lord Chancellor Sir T. Inskip (Dominions Secretary). Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security Sir J. Anderson (Lord Privy Seal). Mr. Eden's return to office will, of course, be generally welcomed. It was desired every bit as much as Mr. Churchill's, both in itself and as a sign of the Government's resolution. It is obvious that Mr. Eden is showing considerable unselfishness in taking the Dominions Secretaryship, which is outside the War Cabinet, though in order to maintain close contact between the War Cabinet and the Dominions he is to have "special access" to it. As a former Foreign Secretary he could have expected more. Sir John Anderson exchanges places with Sir Samuel Hoare at the Home Office, but he also becomes Minister for Home Security, and con tinues to take charge of A.R.P. This leaves Sir Samuel Hoare free from departmental duties. Under the new changes Lord Maugham, who was Lord Chancellor, and Lord Bunciman, who was Lord President, disappear from the Cabinet altogether. THE BANKS Closed To-day, Open To -morrow To-day has been declared a limited Bank holiday affecting only banks. The arrangement applies to the Post Office Savings Bank and other banks. It does not apply to any other business and the day is not a general holiday. This day will be used by the banks to complete their measures for adapting I themselves to the emergency, and to morrow morning the banks will be open for business. The Treasury, in conjunction with the Bank of England, has taken all step needed to ensure that the banks, including the Post Office Savings Bank and other savings banks, will be ampiy supplied with currency. Postal orders will be legal tender for the present, and Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes will be legal tender in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. The arrangements which have been made will render unnecessary any general moratorium such as was adopted in August, 1914, but a Courts (Emergency Powers) Act has been passed to give further protection to any institution or person who is unable to meet his liabilities solely by reason of the emergency. The Stock Exchange will remain closed, but will reopen as soon as possible. No money, gold, or securities may be sent abroad without Treasury permission, which must be obtained through a bank or through the Post Office. All gold and certain foreign exchange must be offered to the Treasury by persons resident in the ' United Kingdom. Certain foreign securities must be noti fied to the Bank of England through bankers oi stockbrokers. For further informatior people should apply to their banker PARACHUTE JUMPS Descent Behind Polish Lines -Warsaw. September 3. The Warsaw broadcast reports that German parachute jumpers '- have descended o isolated points of Polish territory in attempts to cut -telephone' and telegraph connections and damage communications. The public is appealed to' to co-operate with the authorities 'in arresting; and disarming German soldiers engaged in this. Exchange Telegram. Dom The Commons Scene CALM, RELIEF, AND UNITY Doubts Swept Away From our Political Correspondent Westminster, Sunday. The Speaker rose in a crowded House of Commons to-day. " National Registration Emergency Bill," he recited, and the Chief Whip said, according to the ritual, " To-morrow," which is the Parliamentary device for passing over a measure that it is not desired should be immediately dis cussed. There was a roll-call of half a dozen such bills, and then the Speaker almost casually called, "The Prime Minister ! " Just so have sessions of Parliament opened decade after decade, and some have left no imprint at all behind them on the national history ; others have their interest for the research student : still others have marked great moments in our history, but to-day's session belongs to the very few that are the high peaks of our national destiny the day we went to war to destroy Hitlerism. SATURDAY'S DOUBTS "The Prime Minister." He had been loudly cheered when he came into the Chamber. Some membeis stood and waved their order papers. He began almost in a whisper. He referred at once to the doubts about the Government's firmness that struck the whole House nearly dumb after his statement last night. There is no need now to go over the anguish that searched every soul in the House last night at the delayed ultimatum and the reasons given for the delay. That, as Mr. Greenwood said, is over. The atmosphere is completely changed. Mr. Chamberlain admitted that if he had had only the information available to the ordinary members of the House he would himself have been tortured by the same doubts and misgivings last night. AT WAR He then told of the ultimatum. There had been no reply from Berlin. "Consequently," he went on in subdued tones, "this country is now at war with Germany." Even Mr. Chamberlain's thin voice could not rob those words of the ring of fate that is in them. Fiance had also sent an ultimatum with a time-limit. Here was final relief, the destruction of the last plaguing doubt. There was a loud burst of cheering. Emotion nearly mastered Mr. Chamberlain now. He was fighting hard and just prevailed. He spoke of this sad day that had brought to ruin "everything I have worked for and hoped for during my public life." There was a murmur of sympathy from the packed benches. He proceeded on a note of humble aspiration to speak of the service he might be able to render his country in the struggle, and he ended with the hope that " I may live to see the day when Hitlerism has been destroyed," to which there was the instant response of a sustained cheer. MR. GREENWOOD Mr. Greenwood, who so magnificently spoke the mind of the House in those torturing moments last night, spoke even better to-day. Nothing could have been more admirable than his contrast of last night's " anger and apprehension " with " the relief, composure, and resolution" of to-day. "The intolerable agony of suspense is over," and ' a relieved House cheered its agreement with the deputy Labour leader. His tribute to Poland (standing in the gate for liberty) was well done, and the whole House was with him when he promised that the country would never tolerate " wavering, confused counsels, or inefficiency," for the country was inexorably determined to end the Nazi regime for ever. The crisis has greatly raised Mr. Greenwood's stature in the eyes of the House. The big view, combined with a strong masculinity, has been seen in all he has done since Mr. Attlee fell ill. MR. CHURCHILL AND MR. LLOYD GEORGE Mr. Churchill conjured the countrv with fine eloquence not to underrate the severity of the coming ordeal, to remember there must be disappointments and unpleasant surprises, but to remember also the might of the oniisn empire and the French Republic, which were quite equal to riddine the worM nf th& nocrto,.,, -1 . w - f--J..J.1i,v.V vlm Nazism. Then Mr. LlovH Civnrtto rrtcA 9nH House, remembering only the great leader of the nation in the last war and forcettint? th uvan rrii nt Government, welcomed him with rounds ot cheers. "I have been through this before," he said, shaking no, wnne nair, amia lurtner cheers, and staring at the floor in momentary reverie. Suddenly raising his head he told the House in accents that still hold their spell that he himself had always found the country greatest in moments of disaster. And then he gave the country and the Government this for their encouragement. "We won a vietnrv fir rifft..- n tm mJ and we will do it again." Mr. Lloyd oeorge sat down amid great cheers. REAR LIGHTS FOR CYCLISTS Pedal-cyclists should note that rear lights are now compulsory. Thp' 1amn'miKt ' Ko WrAA .... -3 dimmed so that no light is thrown direy upwards" and no appreciable' u(ui u toiown on xne ground.

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