This week marks the 80th anniversary of the 1939 German invasion of Poland, the event that marked the beginning of World War II. It’s an occasion that must remain strong in the world’s collective memory, even as we slowly lose the people who can speak of it from firsthand experience.
Within days of the Sept. 1 invasion, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. The coming years would see more nations invaded and more countries involved in an escalating global conflict. By the time the war ended about six years later, it had claimed the lives of about 80 million people.