Westerplatte – a place where World War II started

In Gdansk, Tourism
Westerplatte, Photo: Jakub Wozniak/Tricity NewsWesterplatte, Photo: Jakub Wozniak/Tricity News

September 1st is not only a moment when many kids are starting their school year. Historically it is one of the most significant days in world’s modern history. On this day, in 1939, a conflict began, which was the most widespread war, affecting millions of people worldwide. This conflict began in Gdansk.

The beginning of the nightmare

It was early morning, September 1st at 4:45, when German battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein fired first shots of World War II. When the ship attacked Westerplatte, around 200 polish soldiers and workers were present and they became the legendary first line of polish resistance.

20 to 1

It is worth mentioning, that the forces of Nazi Germany contained around 4000 soldiers. Forces were well equipped and prepared for further march trough Poland.

7 days of fighting

Even though polish forces were outnumbered by nazis and the attack was to last around 6 hours, defenders of Westerplatte fought for 7 days. During this battle, polish soldiers repulsed 13 attacks of German forces.

Outcome of the battle

After seven days of fights, defenders were defeated loosing 15 soldiers and having around 50 wounded. On the nazi side though there were 300-400 fatal and wounded soldiers, what was much more than predicted.

Annual memorial

Nowadays, year after year, each September 1st at 4:45, the highest officials of Poland gather together with military officials at Westerplatte to commemorate the events from year 1939.

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