In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
More than six million of Poland's citizens died in the war.
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While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was very limited.
The Soviet Red Army's invasion of Eastern Poland on 17 September, in accordance with a secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, rendered the Polish plan of defence obsolete.
This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest (about 1 million km²) and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe with a uniquely liberal political system which declared Europe's first constitution.
Following the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles.