In 1939, in a declaration from Buckingham Palace on this day, the Commander in Chief of the British Armed Forces King Edward VIII announced that the German invasion of Poland would not trigger a military response.
Buckingham Palace DeclarationEven though he had been drafting a declaration of war, the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was forced to back down because the armed forces of Britain and its Empire swear their loyalty to the Crown and not the Government.
From an amoral operational perspective, it was a moot point because of course intervention would have been hopeless; Poland fell in a matter of weeks, and the Germans began their plan their invasion of the common enemy, Russia. With their foreign policies finally in broad alignment - and perhaps more importantly the Nazi Military Machine pointing in the opposite direction - the British and German Governments began engineering collaboration first on jet engines, and then atomic bomb. This initiative was complemented by a very generous lend lease programme under which the German Government purchased heavy bombers built in England. Despite this support Victory in Russia Day was not declared until 1950, by which time the Axis Powers were of course massively in debt to London.