Very few people actually know the details of how WWII started. Most generally know that Germany walked soldiers into Poland on September 1st 1939 and the rest of the world reacted by waging war. This is partly true, but it leaves out an incredibly interesting story that I only found by visiting the site itself.
Silesia (now owned by Poland) was an area to the east in Germany that bordered Poland. On the 31st August 1939, a day before the war is known to have started, 4 German soldiers dressed as Polish civilians making sure only to speak in Polish. Under the orders of the Nazi government, they raided the German owned radio tower in Gleiwitz with the intention of publishing a message about how the Polish were attacking Germany. A completely false act that was to be used as propaganda to the rest of the world and justification for attacking – or rather, fighting back.
A poorly coordinated attack meant they went to the wrong building where they couldn’t broadcast. Finally they found the right place and tried to get their message out, but the staff managed to cut the feed so only a few words were heard by the very small local community. A massive failure that the team were unaware of until they got back to their safehouse.
Just a few hours later, pre-prepared, a news bulletin went out in Berlin that the Poles had attacked. Germany wasn’t standing down on this act of war and the following day Germany marched soldiers into Poland.
The rest of the story we know, but this anecdote is rarely told.