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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 17:29 UK

Poland falls to Nazi and Soviet invasions

The invasion of Poland was the start of Hitler's military campaign in Europe that brought Britain into the war and saw Germany overwhelm its weaker neighbours in a succession of lightning strikes.

The slideshow below shows the progression of the German army as it moved into Poland. Soviet forces were to follow days later leading to the division of the country.

Within two years, Germany went on to attack the Soviet Union itself.

Graphic of invasion of Poland
1: 0440 German planes attack Wielun killing nearly 1,300 people and destroying some 75% of the town. 2: 0445 German battleship opens fire at point blank range on Polish military post at Westerplatte in the port of Danzig
Graphic of invasion of Poland
Within hours German troops cross Poland's western border and from East Prussia in the north. German aircraft bomb Polish cities and strategic targets. The Germans quickly overwhelm the Polish defenders on their way to Warsaw.
Graphic of invasion of Poland
1: Soviet troops invade from the east. 2: Soviet and German soldiers together. After Poland was overrun Germany and the Soviet Union divide the country between them.
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