Thursday, September 3, 2009

The King Declares War

. Thursday, September 3, 2009

It is notified that a State of War exists between His Majesty and Germany as from 11 o’clock A.M. to-day the 3rd September, 1939. — King George VI

A solemn King George VI addresses the British Empire over radio on 4 September 1939, one day after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. He asks the British people to "stand calm, firm, and united" against what was to come. Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

War! 3rd September 2009 sees the 70th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the conflict that was to become known as the Second World War. King George VI declared war against Germany at 11am on that day because of the refusal by Hitler's Government to give assurances that it would withdraw from Poland. The war was to last six long, hard and world-changing years.

Speaking to the Nation from 10 Downing Street at 11.15 am, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain explained how Britain had requested an undertaking from the German Government that it would immediately prepare to withdraw from Poland and if there was no word by 11am, Britain would be at war. He went on to say, “I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany”.

The King confirmed the Nation’s slide into a state of conflict through an announcement in a supplement to the London Gazette newspaper, distributed on that evening, which said "It is notified that a State of War exists between His Majesty and Germany as from 11 o’clock A.M. to-day the 3rd September, 1939".

France also joined Great Britain by sending a message to Berlin at 12.30pm asking for assurances that Germany would immediately start plans to withdraw from Poland with a deadline of 5pm. No assurances were received, as with Britain’s ultimatum, so from that deadline on the same day, 1939, France too was at war.

Also declaring war against Germany on the 3rd was Australia’s Prime Minister, Mr Menzies, on behalf of his country. Hot on the heels of the Australian announcement came one from New Zealand. India showed its support and also declared war. South Africa’s declaration of war came on September 5th.

Canada offered support initially giving the rationale – "when Britain is at war, Canada is at war", then made its official declaration on September 10th following Parliament's formal approval. It is the first time that Canadians make their own declaration of war as a sovereign nation. The previous week, a solemn King took to the airwaves with an address called "Canada at the side of Britain.", even though Canada remained neutral until Sept. 10. King George VI declared war on Germany in the name of Canada the same day.

The day after Parliament's decision, the Globe and Mail described Canada's entry into the war as follows: "This peaceful country, 3,000 miles distant from the scene of the conflict, which desires to live on terms of amity with the whole world, has spoken in it own right for human justice and equity, prepared to defend with life and its full treasure principles more sacred than life or material welfare."

"The solemn decision reached was the echo of a nation's soul," the Globe and Mail continued, "torn by wholesale murder and brigandage on land and sea and tyranny which it could not in silence see imposed on others wishing to live undisturbed like itself." While keeping up a front of patriotic fervour, the Globe did take a swipe at Prime Minister MacKenzie King and Parliament for not immediately committing to the war effort.

Over the next six years, King George VI, following in his father's footsteps, visited troops, munitions factories, supply docks and bomb-damaged areas to support the war effort. As the Nazi's bombed London, the royal family remained at Buckingham Palace; George went so far as to practice firing his revolver, vowing that he would defend Buckingham to the death. Fortunately, such defense was never necessary. The actions of the King and Queen during the war years greatly added to the prestige of the monarchy.


Anonymous said...

"It is with gratitude in the past, and with confidence in the future, that we range ourselves without fear beside Britain, where she goes, we go! Where she stands, we stand!" - Rt Hon Micheal Joesph Savage declaring New Zealand to be at war with Germany from 09:30PM om 03 September 1939.

Neil Welton said...

My grandfather would say it is time to move on.

For as you point out - this is 2009, not 1939.

Trouble with monarchists and, to a point The Royal Family, is this permanent "ration books mentality". We appear increasingly retarded as every year goes by. No wonder republicanism is getting popular - we have yet to get past 1955.

The Monarchist said...

Yes, Remembrance should be about Forgetting.

Seventy years ago, 70 million people (or some other obscene number) lost their lives (or were soon to lose it) in the ugliest episode to ravage the four corners of the planet.

Nothing to see here, nothing to remember. Time to move on...

Lord Best said...

Technically it was not the worst war in human history. For pure numbers, yes, but the Mongol invasions in the thirteenth century killed over twenty million people at a time when the population was many smaller than during the Second World War. There was also a a rebellion in China in the sixth century or therabouts in which tens of millions lost their lives.
Not that I'm downplaying the horror of it, mind you. There are many important lessons to be learnt from the Second World War (don't trust left wing ideologies, don't demonise and scapegoat ethnic minorities, don't deliberately humiliate and debase a nation etc.

Neil Welton said...

The Monarchist - I never said we should "forget" the past. I suggested we should not keep living in it. I be experiencing "remembrance fatigue".

Only a month ago we remembered the end of the Second World War. A while ago we remembered the end of World War One. Then we had Armed Forces Day. I sense it is starting to get a little bit ridiculous. Living in New Labour Britain is a bit like living in Communist China or Russia. The "leaders" on display every five minutes for dubious military reasons. Next we'll be having a service to honour the date Winston Churchill's bed was made. All Hail the Bed! Hmmm. I think I shall stay in mine - before I die of boredom.

Get over it. Give it rest. It's wearing thin. If you want to remember something, do it in secret. Just stop expecting State and public endorsement.

For remembrance is more powerful and poignant, when it is done naturally and much less often. It must come from the heart. Not a tabloid rag.

Ban Remembrance Days (not the November 11th). Sack the out-of-touch and backward Government and Royal advisors. Give us a breath of fresh air. It's time to move Britain on - it's time to make new history. Sweetie rationing is over folks. So is the power of media. For our time is coming. The Counter Revolution will begin soon. Stay tuned to this Channel. The revolution is going to be transmitted live and uninterrupted - with full results and monarchical analysis. :-)

Anonymous said...

For those who think that Remebrance Days should be banned, i suggest you have a good long hard look at yourself and wake up. We are who we are and we honour those who sacrificed themselves for us and our way of life.

Your Counter Revolution as you put it will never be successful for those who are loyal to the Crown will defend and will succeed and if this is not to your taste then i suggets you move to Cuba or North Korea to enjoy.

Whether you agree or disagree the fact remains all those who died for this Country should be Remembered with Honour Past,Present and Future

ATS Women said...

"The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave."
HM Queen Elizabeth, Queen Consort, during the evacuation of children at the time of the Blitz.

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