This month in history …
September 1, 1939 – Nazi Germany invades Poland, triggering the outbreak of World War II, as France and Great Britain uphold their guarantees of Polish independence on September 3 by declaring war on Nazi Germany.
Invasion of Poland
German troops dismantling a border crossing with Poland.
September 9, 1976 – Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese Communist Party, dies at the age of 82. He had been the paramount leader of China since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and was responsible for the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.
Representatives of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) lining up to pay their last respects to Mao Zedong.
September 11, 2001 – The worst terror attack in U.S. history occurs as four large passenger planes were hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists, with two planes bringing down the Twin Towers in New York City, one plane striking the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and the last plane crashing into a field in Pennsylvania after an attempt by passengers to retake control of the plane. This terror attack would precipitate the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S.
The south tower of the World Trade Center begins to crumble after being struck by US Airways Flight 175.
September 14, 1812 – Napoleon and his troops entered Moscow as the retreating Russians burned the city. Napoleon found it impossible to stay through the winter in the devastated city. He then began a retreat from Moscow and Russia which became one of the greatest disasters of military history. Fewer than 20,000 of the initial 500,000 men who came with him lived through the Russian campaign.
Napoleon entering the ruins of Moscow.
September 22, 1980 – War breaks out between Iran and Iraq, in an attempt by the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, to capitalize on the weakness of the new Iranian regime that had emerged after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The war would sow the seeds of much of the current instability in the Middle East today, by creating a deep sense of insecurity in the Iranian regime.
Iraqi T-62 tanks crossing the Iraq-Iran border.
September 28, 1066 – The Norman conquest of England begins as Duke William of Normandy landed at Pevensey, Sussex. The conquest would have wide-ranging implications for the future of England and the English language.
A scene from the Bayeux Tapestry portraying the Norman invasion of England.