This is Britain’s final ultimatum letter to Germany, delivered at 9 am on 3 September 1939.
Written by the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, it states that unless Hitler’s troops withdraw from Poland, Britain will ‘fulfil its obligations to Poland’. The demands were quickly rejected and war began.
Six years later, after millions had been slaughtered and daily life in Europe had been shattered, the Allies crushed the Nazi regime and saved the Western world from Fascism.
This letter came to the British Library in the papers of Oliver Harvey, Principal Private Secretary to Lord Halifax. His diaries, also in the British Library, contain strong criticism of Neville Chamberlain’s early attempts to reach an agreement with Hitler.