WWII: Outbreak | Britain on the brink of World War II
CHANNEL | Regional Programme
FIRST BROADCAST | 31 August 1939
DURATION | 4 minutes 42 seconds
News has been received that Germany has proposed a settlement with Britain over Poland consisting of 16 points. Included are proposals for the city of Danzig (Gdansk) to be returned to the Reich and for a plebiscite on territorial issues to take place. Due to an apparent lack of response by Britain in the two days since these proposals were announced, the Fuhrer believes that they have been rejected. The bulletin is read by Alvar Lidell.
Danzig (Gdansk) had been a cause of dispute between Poland and Germany since the 12th century. Geographically part of Poland but with a population that was ethnically German, it was declared a Free City under the protection of the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. This was done to provide Poland with access to a neutral port and the Baltic Sea. However, its citizens elected a Nazi majority in the city government, allowing for the Reich to seize control more easily.
Chamberlain returns from a meeting with Hitler in Bad Godesberg.
The BBC announces Britain's home defence measures.
Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation after one of his last meetings with Hitler.
Richard Dimbleby is at the scene of Chamberlain's return from Munich.
News extract on one aspect of British home defence measures - gas masks.
An inside report from Czechoslovakia on the German occupation.
Germany proposes a settlement to the Polish problem.
Children from London depart for an unknown destination in the countryside.
'Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns.'
'This country is at war with Germany' announces the Prime Minister.
The King calls for courage and faith in the battle ahead.
The ultimatum to Germany is due to expire at 11.00am.
The Battle of the Atlantic begins as the first British ship is sunk by the Germans.
Teachers and a schoolgirl describe settling down in the country.
Evacuees from Manchester discuss their new lives.
The Foreign Secretary speaks after two months of war.
A message of hope and encouragement to the women of Europe.
How various hospitals in London prepared for war.
Personal memories of the outbreak of World War II.
A reporter remembers Poland in the summer of 1939.
What will the BBC's role be during war?
Precautions to protect staff from air raids.
Plans for variety programmes during wartime.
Defence: the Corporation's plans in the event of war.
Plans for the 'Radio Times' during wartime.
'This department will have to stand by in a period of comparative chaos.'
The front cover of the 'Radio Times' from the pre-war edition.
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's broadcast to the nation.
The front cover of the 'Radio Times' from the wartime revised edition.
Are the headquarters of the BBC in danger from an air attack?
Is there a need to camouflage the headquarters of the BBC?
Remember your gas mask.
A collection of photographs from the BBC archives on the outbreak of World War II.
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