The Gleiwitz Incident

Look at any history book written for Polish schools. Usually, we can read that World War 2 is considered to have begun at the dawn of September 1, 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. But what about the Gleiwitz Incident, recognized by some sources as the actual beginning of the bloodiest conflict in the history of mankind?

The so-called “Gleiwitz Incident” was a German false flag subversive operation. It took place at a German radio station in Gleiwitz - today's Gliwice, on Thursday, 31 August 1939, around 8 pm. It must be stressed that the radio station is the tallest existing wooden structure in Europe and the tallest broadcasting tower in the whole world. Heinrich Müller, the direct contractor of the operation, ordered 13 selected prisoners to be given lethal injections. Afterward, their bodies were shot to fake gunshot wounds. Dead prisoners were dressed in Polish uniforms and photographed. The pictures were shown to journalists, informing them about bold attacks on German territory. SD and SS soldiers who fired into the air during the attack on the radio tower and/or poisoned prisoners were murdered later.

German propaganda used the incident as "evidence of Polish provocations". Clearly, the whole idea of the action came from no one else but Reinhard Heydrich. Moreover, the Berlin radio informed about a series of other attacks of alleged insurgents. Already in Germany, they were to be supported by regular units of the Polish Army equipped with heavy weapons. Hence, the Nazi propaganda blamed Poland for starting the war and presented the Third Reich as a victim of Polish aggression already on August 31 at 22:30. Hitler used the border incidents as an alibi (responding with fire from 4:45), while for France they could act as an excuse not to provide Poland with military assistance.

Where did the prisoners come from? Who were they exactly? Some sources state they were prisoners of concentration camps from the Third Reich. And did they really wear Polish uniforms? The answers remain a mystery…