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World War II ultimatum letter

3 September 1939

World War II ultimatum letter

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  • Intro

    The First World War had only finished two decades earlier, but in 1939, Germany's Nazi military machine was clearly intent on empire-building again. After months of appeasement from the Allies, Hitler invaded Poland, and Britain was jolted into action.

     

    This letter is Britain's final ultimatum to the Germans, written by the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax and delivered to them at 9am on 3 September 1939. Unless forces withdraw, Britain promised to 'fulfil its obligations to Poland' along with the French. The demands were swiftly rejected and war began. Six years later, many millions had been slaughtered across the world, daily life in many countries had been shattered, and the European order practically started again from scratch. But, in the process, the Allies had crushed the Nazi regime and saved the Western world from Fascism.

     

    Shelfmark: Add. MS 56401, f.161.

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