On the hour 4:40 in the morning, without formal declaration of war, bombs dropped from the German aircraft fell on the sleeping civilian population of the Polish town of Wieluń. Town, lacking any military or industrial significance and completely undefended suffered over 2000 casualties and was destroyed in 75%. Five minutes later, on 4:45 German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire at the Polish military outpost in Westerplatte, Free City of Gdańsk, followed by land assault by German military units secretly transferred into the city (which was then a protectorate of the League of Nations). Immediately afterwards, massive formations of Wehrmacht invaded Poland along it's northern, western and southwestern borders.
Just two decades after the end of the Great War - "the war to end all wars", the World was again engulfed by the flames of global conflict.
New war, started by the nazism - another incarnation of the eternal German imperialism - together with Japanese militarism, Italian fascism and Soviet bolshevik totalitarianism - was even more deadly and barbarous than the previous one. It caused the deaths of 70-85 million people, some 50-55 million of which were civilians. It saw attempts to eradicate whole nations in an industrial manner and put anothers in permament slavery and it saw desctruction never seen before.
Losses suffered by Poland, my Motherland, were of the most enormous in their extent, as well as highest in proportion to population of all countries participating in the conflict. Poland lost between 5 and 6 milion of it's citizens (about half of them ethnic Poles and other half Jewish, for whom Poland was home for centuries, after they fled the opression elsewhere in Europe), which is around 1/7th - 1/6th of total pre-war population, including 57% of lawyers, 45% of doctors, 40% of university professors, 30% of technicians etc. 590 thousand were permamently handicapped, 2,5 milion were sent to forced labour in Germany and another 2,5 milion forcibly relocated. 38% of national wealth was lost, 43% of cultural heritage treasures (66% of library content), 55% of health service substance, over 60% of industry, 50% of transport infrastructure, extensive losses to natural resources. Warsaw was destroyed in 85%, many other cities in excess of 90% while some villages were literally razed to the ground. Just the material
losses are estimated to be equivalent of 700 billion US dollars in 2004 terms, including losses of Warsaw alone being eqivalent of 45 billion USD - damages that were never repaid by the perpetrators.