In the year 1939, a world which had been uneasily side-stepping and watching out of the corner of its eye, suddenly burst into flame. Germany's Hitler, after a series of ground-gaining bluffs, suddenly unleashed his armies in a drive into almost defenseless Poland, an armored and airborne drive that left Poland bleeding and burning in a few short weeks and brought before the world a new type of warfare, "Blitzkrieg!" France and England, allies of the Poles, immediately declared war on Germany. Thus had begun World War 11.
With the smashing and overrunning of Poland completed, there began a period of quiet, a period when people laughed and spoke of the `phoney' war, for it had begun to appear as if the entry of the two great powers into the war had chilled the flame of Hitler's desire for conquest. Actually it was a period of preparation for the German legions, and when they had completed those preparations, they began the attack anew, in a fashion that left the world gasping for breath. Denmark fell, Norway fell. The German armies swarmed over the low countries, made a mockery of the famed French Maginot Line, and drove into the heart of France. French and British forces were completely routed, and the world learned the theory of air power, of the new mobile warfare
The lessons learned in the early phases of the war were learned the hard way. The United States, watching the turn of events with interest, realized as well as any nation the necessity for immediate preparation. This was no war of trenches and stable lines. This was a war of machines and highly trained men, not of green soldiers and old rifles. Preparation became the keynote of the day, and an entire nation went to work at it. The United States Army was, at the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, unbelievably small. The Selective Service Act was an immediate answer to that. In Washington, a series of numbers were drawn from a large glass bowl, and soon from the cities, the villages, from every corner and hamlet, the new selectees poured into the hastily erected army camps. Training Centers filled up. Class after class of recruits finished basic training and moved on with their caps cocked jauntily on the side of their heads.
From the regular army units came cadres to make up and train new com panies, regiments, divisions, and from these new divisions came more new cadres and more new divisions in a never ending circle. The army had begun to grow.