Soviet invasion of Poland was a Soviet military operation that started without a formal declaration of war on 17 September 1939, during the early stages of WWII. 16 days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the West, the Soviet Union did so from the East. The invasion ended on 6 October 1939 with the division and annexing of the whole of the 2nd Polish Republic by Germany and The USSR.
Soldiers of the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Division, resting in a ditch alongside a road on the way to Pabianice, during the invasion of Poland in 1939.
Although the Polish Army would have outnumbered the attacking German army — the Wehramcht — once it had all been mustered, the Germans were met by 17 ill-equipped infantry division. The Poles had just one armored brigade — 660 tanks in all, versus Germany's 2,100. It was during the Invasion of Poland that the last cavalry charge in the history of warfare was made by the Polish horseman against German tanks.
German troops marching into the city of Bromberg (the German name for the Polish city of Bydgoszcz) found several hundred German nationals dead from Polish sniper fire. The snipers were equipped with arms by the retreating Polish forces. Bodies are shown on a forest road, September 8, 1939.
At 4.45 am on 1 September 1939 the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the Polish garrison of the Westerplatte Fort, Danzig (modern-day Gdansk), in what was to become the first military engagement of World War Two. Simultaneously, 62 German divisions supported by 1,300 aircraft commenced the invasion of Poland. The decision of Adolf Hitler to invade Poland was a gamble.
Following the German invasion of Poland, most of Europe is uneasy. Two Dutch soldiers are mobilized near Venlo prior to the German invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France (codename: Fall Gelb, "Case Yellow") on 10 May 1940. Venlo, Limburg, Netherlands. September 1939.