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How did WWII spread in Europe?. February 26, 2014. Europe 1939. In 1939, German forces invade Poland , located to the east of Germany. At the start of the war, Germany was allied only with Russia .

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europe 1939
Europe 1939
  • In 1939, German forces invade Poland, located to the east of Germany.
  • At the start of the war, Germany was allied only with Russia.
    • Hitler and Joseph Stalin signed the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, which stated that Hitler could invade Poland without fear of Soviet forces interfering
  • After the invasion of Poland, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.
  • German forces used a tactic known as blitzkrieg to invade Poland.

Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union

Adolf Hitler of Germany

europe 1939 continued
Europe 1939 continued…
  • Blitzkrieg means “lightning war”.
    • The goal of this tactic is to overwhelm another country’s army
    • Germany sent in thousands of troops and many tanks forcing the other side to surrender
    • It works so well because it uses overwhelming force to achieve victory
  • After Germany took over Poland, the Soviet Union took over Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and eventually Finland.
the western front
The Western Front
  • On the Eastern front, Germany was taking over Europe quickly.
  • The Soviet Union was claiming its land in Europe as well.
  • On the Western front, British and French forces were settling in at the Maginot Line
    • This was a line of steel and concrete bunkers stretching from Belgium to Switzerland on the German border.
  • British and French forces hoped to hold back the German invasion of western Europe with the Maginot Line.
spring 1940
Spring 1940
  • But the Maginot Line did not work!
  • In the Spring of 1940, Hitler attacked Belgium and the Netherlands.
    • Belgium and the Netherlands asked Britain and France for help but the German offensive was too powerful to hold back.
  • Once Belgium fell to Germany, British and French forces retreated to the port of Dunkirk.
  • Thousands of ships came across the water to help soldiers retreat as German forces marched into France.
  • After Dunkirk, Italy joined the war and allied with Germany
summer 1940
Summer 1940
  • After breaking through the Maginot Line, German forces marched into France
  • In June 1940, German forces marched into Paris and claimed France for Germany
  • The only thing that was standing in Hitler’s way of domination in Europe was Great Britain
the battle of britain august 1940
The Battle of Britain – August 1940
  • The German air force began bombing Britain everyday.
  • Thousands of civilians were killed and cities were destroyed.
  • Hitler hoped to break British morale (spirit) by constantly bombing Britain until they surrender
  • Hitler did not win the Battle of Britain
  • Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill kept British citizens motivated by giving many speeches

One of Churchill’s most famous speeches was as follows:

“We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”

summer 1941
Summer 1941
  • After failing at taking over Great Britain Hitler makes a daring move:
  • Even though Hitler and Stalin signed the Non-Aggression Pact, Hitler invades the Soviet Union in 1941
  • Hitler has always dreamed of destroyed the Soviet Union but only allied with them to take control of parts of Eastern Europe.
  • Why would invading the Soviet Union be a mistake for Hitler?? **Look at map