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Local Editorials

From our archives: Nazis invade Poland; allies mobilize

What we thought: 75 years ago

Adolf Hitler
Nazi dictator Hitler sent his German troops into Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, an invasion that launched World War II.
Adolf Hitler 1889-1945 Nazi dictator Hitler sent his German troops into Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, an invasion that launched World War II.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Telegraph on Sept. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7, 1939.


Sept. 1, 1939

German bombs dropped in heart of Warsaw

Nazi troops advance in three lines

British set to fulfill obligations; Last warning is sent to Hitler to withdraw

France to send Hitler ultimatum

Hitler says he’ll fight to the end; Declares he’s now just a soldier in the German ranks

Berlin sends warning to U.S.

FDR thinks U.S. can stay out of war

Washington, Sept. 1 (AP) – President Roosevelt told reporters today he believed the United States could stay out of the European conflict, and the administration would make every effort to keep this country out.


Sept. 2, 1939

War delayed; Great Britain and France awaiting Hitler’s reply to “ultimatum”

Warsaw city bombed half dozen times

French cabinet to demand reply

Poles claim armed successes

Capture of Oderberg claimed

FDR on air to reassure neutrality; President will discuss America’s position in present crisis


Sept. 4, 1939

Three Oregon people among 1,347 aboard torpedoed liner: Nearly all are rescued; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Ratcliffe and daughter aboard

Germany denies torpedoing of Athenia last night off coast of Scotland; Britain says there were no mines in area where she sank

France opens attack; Sounds of firing heard at early hours in the morning

Poles celebrate as allies enter war in their cause

Little man,

what now?

Everyone must be impressed by the frequent predictions that unless der Germanic furore is halted instantly, he will step out and annex the whole world. One must admit that Herr Adolf has done a fair bit of gobbling to date, considering that until he barged into Poland, it had not been necessary for him to fire a shot. But the circumstances were unusual.

For our part, we have not the least fear that Adolf ever will be able to take over any considerable section of the civilized world. Indeed, it is not in the cards nor the stars either that he ever will be able to take over any considerable section of Europe and keep it.

It’s not hard to appraise Hitler, and by anybody’s appraisal he is neither a great statesman nor a great general. He is shrewd, but not wise. He is an opportunist, but not a constructive planner; and above all, he is not honest. He is not honest with other governments, nor with his own people nor with himself.

These are fatal weaknesses.

The greatest general of modern times was Napoleon Bonaparte. From the day when he first attracted the deepest respect of his enemies until that fatal day at Waterloo, Napoleon lasted just 15 years, and never during those 15 years could it be said that the Little Corporal had Europe entirely under his thumb. He was perpetually on the march. No sooner had he subjugated and “pacified” a specified area than it was necessary for him to proceed under full steam to put down an uprising in another.

While he was off marching and fighting, he accomplished remarkable feats of statesmanship for the benefit of the surviving French. He built roads, schools, lifted the country out of the slough of bankruptcy, wrote the Napoleonic code of laws which still is in use, stimulated literature and other arts, and introduced France’s present system of weights and measures. All this while he was winning battles by the pure superiority of his military tactics.

Now if even Napoleon, a great general and constructive statesman, couldn’t keep England, Russia, the Germans, Italy and Spain in check, how could Hitler do it? More to the point, how could he threaten the United States?

It is one thing for Britain to “take over” savage or semi-civilized areas and rule them according to the British fashion. It is entirely different for Hitler or Napoleon to conquer highly-developed peoples who don’t know the meaning of fear, and refuse to stay defeated.

Few nations ever have been defeated more thoroughly than Germany was after the World War. The Germans were prostrate. Their plenipotentiaries simply accepted whatever terms were offered. Germany was disarmed by land and sea; control of her rivers and finances was placed in the hands of the victorious allies. Much of her land was taken away, and all her colonies went to other powers.

Even suppose Germany could inflict such a defeat upon the allies in this new struggle, it is unreasonable to suppose the allies would remain subjugated any more than Germany did. Twenty-five years after the start of the First World War, and the Germans were prepared to resume the argument. – Sept. 5, 1939

Lincoln Memorial Bridge is opened

Dixon’s new Lincoln Memorial Bridge was thrown open to traffic this morning at 7:45, and hundreds of motorists and pedestrians took advantage of the opportunity to cross the new structure.

When Supervising Engineer Charles Richards removed the barricades, Mayor William Slothower, accompanied by Mrs. J.B. Emerson, led by Motorcycle Officer Frank Tyne, were the first to cross the bridge, after which the structure was thrown open to all traffic.

Mrs. Emerson, who is one of Dixon’s oldest residents, having attained the age of 83 years, has been greatly interested in the progress of the bridge construction. She has always maintained a strong interest in Dixon’s progress and hopes to be able to witness the dedication of the Loveland Memorial Community Building. – Sept. 7, 1939

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