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3 Sep 1939
  • HMS Cumberland on passage in Atlantic to join South American Division of 8th Cruiser Squadron. ww2dbase [Cumberland | DS]
Atlantic Ocean Austria
  • Otto Skorzeny was sent home from Trost Barracks, Vienna, Austria despite the outbreak of war due to the lack of instructors to train new recruits. ww2dbase [Otto Skorzeny | Vienna | CPC]
  • The government of Belgium announced their neutral stance in the European War. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • At 0900 hours, British Ambassador in Germany Nevile Henderson delivered the British declaration of war to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, effective at 1100 hours; British Commonwealth nations of New Zealand and Australia followed suit. France would also declare war later on this day, effective at 1700 hours. In the afternoon, Adolf Hitler issued an order to his generals, again stressing that German troops must not attack British and French positions. Finally, Hitler also sent a message to the Soviet Union, asking the Soviets to jointly invade Poland. ww2dbase [Invasion of Poland | Berlin | TH]
  • German government issued orders that executions by members of the SS were to be carried out in concentration camps, effective 20 Sep 1939. ww2dbase [Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust | CPC]
  • The first RAF operation flight over Germany was a reconnaissance mission, but later in the night RAF bombers would conduct a leaflet raid. ww2dbase [TH]
  • Adolf Hitler departed Berlin, Germany for the Eastern Front. ww2dbase [Adolf Hitler | Berlin | CPC]
  • 55 Polish peasants at Truskolasy, Poland were executed. ww2dbase [Truskolasy | TH]
United Kingdom
  • The National Service (Armed Forces) Act, which had passed the British Parliament the day before, was officially enacted upon the British declaration of war on German. The Act contained a proviso that if a man required to register under the Act objected to being placed on the Military Service Register and thus be eligible for call-up, he should apply for his name to be placed on the Register of Conscientious Objectors instead. He would then be called before a local tribunal to explain why he should be exempt from a service his fellow men were compelled to undertake. ww2dbase [AC]
  • British General Edmund Ironside became the Chief of the Imperial Staff. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • British Member of Parliament Winston Churchill became the First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he had held during the Great War. ww2dbase [Winston Churchill | London, England | AC]
  • The British government announced the immediate closure of all theatres, cinemas, music halls and other places of public entertainment. Football matches and other events likely to be attended by large crowds were banned, as was the blowing of whistles or sounding of horns. ww2dbase [AC]
  • At 1115 hours, British Prime Minsiter Neville Chamberlain announced over radio that because Germany had failed to withdraw troops from Poland by 1100 hours, a state of war now existed between the United Kingdom and Germany. ww2dbase [Invasion of Poland | Neville Chamberlain | London, England | CPC]
Photo(s) dated 3 Sep 1939
Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies announcing the start of the European War, Sep 1939German Panzer I, Panzer II, and SdKfz. 251 vehicles in Poland, circa 3 Sep 1939; the officer in the SdKfz. 251 halftrack vehicle might be Heinz GuderianCivilians celebrating the British declaration of war on Germany, Warsaw, Poland, 3 Sep 1939; translation of the banner King George VI of the United Kingdom delivering his radio address announcing Britain’s entry into the war with Germany, Buckingham Palace, London, England, UK, Sept 3, 1939 [staged press photo].
See all photos dated 3 Sep 1939

3 Sep 1939 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937

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