New documents reveal WWII may have started in Silesia and NOT Westerplatte or Wieluń
Never before seen documents have raised questions about where and when WWII really started by suggesting that Hitler’s first attack may have been in Silesia rather than Westerplatte or Wieluń.
Discovered by history researcher Tomasz Muskus in the archives of the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London, the two deciphered telegrams show reports by Polish army units that the German army had crossed the Polish border on the outskirts of Rybnik alongside a large group of German tanks.
Traditionally, the starting point of WWII is considered to be when the German Schleswig-Holstein battleship opened fire on a Polish base at Westerplatte in Gdansk at 4.45am on the 1st of September 1939.
A second key moment is often seen as the earlier bombardment of Wieluń, estimated to have taken place at 4.40am.
But the newly discovered telegrams reveal that the German army was already present on the outskirts of Rybnik in Silesia just after 3am.
In the first telegram sent at 7.32 am, bearing the signature A II 9/21, Lieutenant Colonel Zdon from the II division of the Kraków Army wrote: "On the direct outskirts of Rybnik, the contact of our units with the enemy was detected around 3.14am, 30 tanks."
In the second telegram, this time from Kraków to the headquarters of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces in Warsaw at 1.15am on the 2nd of September, a summary of current war operations stated: "On the 1st...at dawn in the hours between 3.30-5.00 the enemy crossed the borders of Poland."
Muskus, who shared the news of his discovery on social media, alongside photos of the documents, wrote: "Ladies and Gentlemen, during my last visit at the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London, I made an incredible discovery, which definitely and without a doubt is evidence for the fact that the Second World War did not begin in Wieluń or Westerplatte (as has previously been said and taught) but in an altogether different part of Poland. Specifically the Western Borderlands, and even more precisely, Rybnik."
Speaking to TFN, Muskus said that the German attack near Rybnik was resisted by the "Rybnik" and "Wodzislaw" army units, but that the main aim of the Germans was a confrontation with the "Kraków" army.
There is already documentary evidence of German provocations on the night between the 31st August and the 1st of September near Rybnik, when dressed in Polish military uniform, members of the SS carried out an attack on a customs office in the village of Stodoły.
It is not the first time the start and location of WWII has been disputed and historians are in no doubt that battles between the German and Polish army began in many Polish border towns already around 04.00, however the discovered telegrams suggest an even earlier starting time at just after 3am.
Historian Dawid Włodkowski who previously questioned the start of WWII has also suggested Rybnik as a key point of the first battles, placing the German army there even earlier.
In an article published in the weekly magazine Przegląd, he said that at 1.55am Commander Bacz of the Silesian Division of the Border Force sent a telephonogram to the commander of the 23rd infantry division, informing them that large German forces had crossed the border of Poland near Rybnik.
He added that five minutes later a Polish border outpost in nearby Sumin was attacked by German machine gun fire.
Włodkowski has also previously recalled the memories of former Polish prime Minister Felicjan Sławoja-Składkowski who reportedly said that on the 1st of September at 4.30am, 10 minutes before the bombardment of Wieluń, he received information from the mayor of Poznań about an air attack on Ostrów Wielkopolski and Poznań.
At the same time, the mayor of Kraków, Józef Tymiński informed him that he had seen German bombers above Kraków.