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In 1938 Adolf Hitler annexes his native Austria and Sudetenland, and the following year he invades the Czech part of Czechoslovakia.

The invasion of Poland in September 1939 forces Britain and France, who had promised to protect it, to declare war on Germany. World War II begins.

Later that month the Soviet Union invades Poland from the east, and Poland is partitioned between Germany and the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union attacks Finland in the winter of 1939/40 and annexes the Baltic States and northern Romania.

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