August 31 - 1939 - Operation Himmler
Operation Himmler saw agents of Nazi Germany try a series of false flag operations in Poland one day before the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. The idea was to have a pretext for the invasion, which Adolf Hitler did not want to do in a way that would anger the British or French. Although named for the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, the Operation was planned by Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Reich Security Office. Heydrich would later plan out the worst abuses of the Holocaust, but in 1939 he was told he had to figure out these false flag operations. The idea was that a variety of targets in German areas of Poland would be hit by SS officers dressed as Polish Army soldiers. They would fire into the air and leave dead bodies, freshly procured from concentration camps. The most famous incident was at a radio tower in Gleiwitz (now Gliwice), which saw the men who attacked the station also issue a broadcast saying Polish troops were attacking Germans. This became key to the propaganda about the invasion the next day, including in Hitler's speech declaring war. Nonetheless, almost no one believed it really was the cause of the invasion, and World War II would begin instantly.