Poland 1939 (Hardcover)

The Outbreak of World War II

By Roger Moorhouse

Basic Books, 9780465095384, 432pp.

Publication Date: May 5, 2020

List Price: 30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A gripping history of the September Campaign and the onset of World War II

For Americans, World War II began in December of 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor; but for Poland, the war began on September 1, 1939, when Hitler's soldiers invaded, followed later that month by Stalin's Red Army. The conflict that followed saw the debut of many of the features that would come to define the later war-blitzkrieg, the targeting of civilians, ethnic cleansing, and indiscriminate aerial bombing-yet it is routinely overlooked by historians.

In Poland 1939, Roger Moorhouse reexamines the least understood campaign of World War II, using original archival sources to provide a harrowing and very human account of the events that set the bloody tone for the conflict to come.

About the Author

Roger Moorhouse studied history at the University of London and is a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Warsaw. He is the author of several books on World War II history, including Berlin at War (shortlisted for the Hessell-Tiltman Prize) and The Devils' Alliance. He lives in the United Kingdom.

Praise For Poland 1939: The Outbreak of World War II

"Chilling... All Poles know that their September war - and of
course the many subsequent years of occupation, resistance and exile - was no
side-show. Now Moorhouse has expertly laid bare this simple truth: that when
two totalitarian regimes make common cause, everyone in their immediate
neighbourhood is likely to be trampled underfoot."—Times of London

"Moorhouse's book
remedies that gap [in the history of The Polish War], weaving together archival
material, first-hand accounts, perceptive analysis and heartbreaking
descriptions of Poland's betrayal, defeat and dismemberment."—Economist

"Excellent... a harrowing, but very needed, account of the first engagement of the Second World War."—Telegraph

"Fascinating... valuable... it gathers a mass of detail into a lucid narrative for general readers... Such a book cannot be cheerful reading; from the first page, of course, we all know how badly this campaign will end for Poland. Nevertheless, there are moments of heroism and defiance here that will put a catch in your throat, and a shiver down your spine."—Sunday Telegraph

"Timely and authoritative... [Moorhouse] has trawled through an impressive quantity of unpublished Polish and German sources, as well as a wealth of eyewitness testimonies from both sides, to produce a balanced account of this much neglected yet important episode of the second world war which is both harrowing and inspiring."—The Spectator