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September 4, 1939

(Sinking of the SS Athenia - just couldn't wait for the shooting to start) With Britain's declaration of war less than 24 hours old, Germany alread
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SS-Athenia-survivors_e2805.jpg

(Sinking of the SS Athenia - just couldn't wait for the shooting to start)

With Britain's declaration of war less than 24 hours old, Germany already set the stage for upcoming events with the sinking of a British passenger ship, the SS Athenia.

BBC Newsreader: “It is not yet known how many lives were lost when the British liner Athenia was torpedoed today without warning in the Atlantic. The Athenia was bound for Montreal from Glasgow with one thousand four hundred passengers. All, except those killed by the explosion, took to the boats and were picked up by various ships. Four hundred and thirty survivors are reported to be on their way to Galway in the Norwegian steamer Knute Nielsen. They are due to arrive tomorrow. It is officially stated in London that this attack, without warning, was in deliberate disregard of the declaration made voluntarily by Germany when she signed the London Navel Treaty in 1930. Germany then renounced, of her own free will, the right to make use of unrestricted submarine warfare in any future campaign. The rules which Germany then undertook to observe, were clearly laid down that no merchant ship may be sunk without warning, or until the safety of all passengers and crew have been assured. Ships boats are not to be considered in a place of safety, unless they are within half an hours rowing to land under favorable conditions. The Athenia was torpedoed two hundred miles from land.”

Things were abundantly clear this was not going to be a conventional war. Not by a long shot.

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