Warsaw, Sept 1: The 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War was being observed across the world on Monday. German President Joachim Gauck was set to join his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski in the coastal city of Gdnask in Poland during the day to mark the beginning of the war that had lasted six years and claimed over 60 million lives or 2.5 per cent of the world population of that time.
The two leaders are set to pay tributes to soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict by placing candles on their graves. They would then lay a wreath at the memorial of the defenders of the Westerplatter coast of Poland. It was at Westerplatter where the Nazi armies had fired in the early hours of September 1, 1939, to launch the invasion of Poland and two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany leading to the outbreak of the Second Great War.
A contingent of less than 200 Polish soldiers had fought bravely against the invading Germans before surrendering. The Allied Powers, namely, the erstwhile Soviet Union, USA and Great Britain defeated the Axis Powers, namely, Germany, Italy and Japan in the war.
On Sunday, Catholic bishops from Poland and Germany assembled at Gliwice to mark the 75th anniversary of the Second World War.
The year 2014 also marks the centenary of the First World War.