World War Two: British Declare War on Sept. 3, 1939

03 Sep

On Sept. 3, 1939, Great Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand all declared war on Nazi Germany.  Germany began its invasion of Poland two days earlier, on September 1. Also on September 3, only hours after the British declaration of war on Germany, a German U-boat (submarine) torpedoed and sank the British ocean liner SS Athenia approximately 250 miles off the Irish coast, killing more than 100 people, including 28 Americans, out of the 1,400 or so on board. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to the American people in a radio address and cautioned that the U.S. was going to make a proclamation declaring neutrality in this latest European war.  Many Americans did not want a repeat of America’s involvement in the First World War, and were content to let the Europeans kill each other without American interference.


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