To understand how the war in 1939 between Poland and Germany, it is not sufficient to look at the widely-held view that peace-loving and weak little Poland was attacked by an ever-marauding Nazi Germany.
Rather, one must look much deeper into history. This conflict which cost many millions of lives did not originate with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, as is still claimed today by over-simplifying historians. It is not just a black-and-white story, but a complex one. It was also not caused by the Polish mobilization of her army two days previous, on August 30, 1939, although the mobilization of a country’s army, according to international standards, is equal to a declaration of war on the neighboring country.
German-Polish relations are even today poisoned by centuries-old, deep-seated hatred on the Polish side. For centuries the Poles have been taught from early childhood on that Germans were evil and ought to be fought whenever there was a promise of success. Hate on such a scale, as it was and still is promoted in Poland today against her westerly neighbor, eventually leads to a chauvinism that knows few constraints. In Poland, as in all countries, the respective elites use the means accessible to them to shape public sentiment. Traditionally these elites have been the Polish Catholic Church, writers, intellectuals, politicians and the press. For a balanced understanding of the forces which moved Poland inexorably ever closer to the war against Germany, it is essential to investigate the role these components of the Polish society have played in the past. And it is fairly easy to find abundant evidence for the above claim and to trace it from the present time back into the distant past.