You don’t have to be a History biff to know that September 1,1939 was the date when the Germans invaded their neighbours, Poland.
What often is forgotten is that it wasn’t only the Germans who invaded Poland on that day. The Germans got a helping hand from the newly formed republic of Slovakia.
And it was quite a substantial helping hand, approximately 50,000 Slovak soldiers took part in the invasion of Poland.
No one had envisaged the attack from the independent Slovak state. Reason being there had not been a Slovak republic prior to 1939. The First Slovak Republic was only established on March 14th 1939, after Germany’s occupation of Bohemia and Moravia.
Adolf Hitler decided to create a puppet Slovak state, headed by Jozef Tiso, a Roman Catholic priest and leader of the Slovak People’s Party, the SPL.
During secret discussions with the Germans on July 20–21, 1939, the Slovak government agreed to partake in Germany’s planned attack and invasion of Poland. They also agreed to let Germany use Slovak’s territory as the staging area for its troops. On August 26, the Slovak Republic mobilized its army and created a new field army, named “Bernolák”, which comprised of 51,306 soldiers.
The attack started on September 1, 1939, at 5:00 a.m.
At the start, Poland had a problem with the idea of treating Slovaks as their enemies, they even dropped leaflets requesting them to halt the invasion.
Even though the fighting between the Slovaks and the Poles was not really all that fierce and there were no real major battles, there were still casualties.
During the whole campaign in September, the losses of the Slovaks amounted to 18 killed, 46 wounded and 11 missing. Approximately 1,350 Polish soldiers were taken prisoner. In January 1940, about 1,200 of them were transferred to the Germans and the Ref Army, the rest were imprisoned in the camp in Lešť.
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