WW II 1939-1945 The War in Europe. THE WAR IN EUROPE: SEPT 1939-May 1940. A. Invasion of Poland: Sept 1 – Sept 29, 1939 -Hitler unleashes Blitzkrieg or “Lightening War” (Sept. 1 '39) > Blitzkrieg: Strategy based on new offensive technologies: planes , tanks
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THE WAR IN EUROPE: SEPT 1939-May 1940 A. Invasion of Poland:Sept 1 – Sept 29, 1939 -Hitler unleashes Blitzkrieg or “Lightening War” (Sept. 1 '39) > Blitzkrieg: Strategy based on new offensive technologies: planes, tanks > Planes attacked first causing havoc, tanks/motorized infantry would follow and outflank the enemy, trapping them in a “pincer” action.
German attack on Poland: • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfpg9unh_Fs (from beginning to 4:00 min.) 2nd video is better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnS39cJIbDY (beginning to 5:20)
A. Invasion of Poland:cont. - No more Poland (by Sept. 29 1939) > Why was Poland defeated so quickly? * Large army (over 1 million), but very few motorized divisions, small air force * Soviet army joined the attack on Poland Sept. 17. (remember Nazi-Soviet Agreement).
B. PhoneyWar:Sept 30, 1939 – April 1940 • No fighting on Western front. British/French troops wait for Hitler’s attack • Sporadic aerial patrols & attacks on German ships > dangerous • Leaflet “bombing” over German cities
C. Invasion of Western Europe:1940 - Hitler invades: a) Norway – April 8 b) Denmark- April 9 c) Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France- - May 10 Vidkun Quisling
C. Invasion of Western Europe: cont. d) Belgium: fortified with over 200 000 British troops – falls in 18 days • Result: British troops trapped – look to escape back to England. Flee to beaches of Dunkirk. • Sitting ducks for Germans, but Hitler does not capitalize. Why? • Miracle: May 27-June 4: 340 000 troops evacuated by British navy/small craft owners. Called Operation “Dynamo” • “Miracle of Dunkirk”
Dunkirk (BBC documentary) Deliverance • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep64ePzq9rc Start at beginning, Skip to 20:00 – 25:00 52:00 - end
Miracle of Dunkirk – Operation Dynamo Significance: • Military defeat for Britain, but moral victory ii) Best of British troops live to fight another day
e) France: Blitzkrieg so effective that French forces are virtually useless. • June 14th: Germans enter Paris • June 22nd: France surrenders https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JRhk9xFvYQ Start at 47:00 – 51:00 (end)
How/Why did France fall so quickly? - Maginot Line (remember?) useless – Germans bypass it through Bel/Lux. - French use of tanks – mixed with infantry = slow. Internal divisions: Extreme right (Fascists) and extreme left (Communists) opposed the war.
French Terms of Surrender: 1. Northern France occupied by German troops 2. French army demobilized 3. Southern France – becomes Vichy France: -> Semi-independent government with no real independence -> Run by Marshall Petain ->Collaborated with Nazis * Side note: British sink French fleet so Germans can’t have it.
Battle of Britain • July to Sept, 1940 • “Operation Sealion” was plan to invade Britain But first: • Destroy Royal Navy, Royal Air force • Destroy the morale of the British people
RAF log book – video – attack on Britain • http://www.rafbombercommand.com/timeline/logbook2_v2.html
5 Stages of Battle of Britain: 1. Goering, commander of Luftwaffe, concentrated attacks on Channel shipping and ports (July-Aug. 1940) 2. concentrate on bombing radar stations and forward fighter bases – meant fighters were often unable to use their damaged bases; radar masts difficult to destroy - gave up trying to take them out 3. Hit inland fighter bases and aircraft factories (significant)
4. Attempt to bomb London to submission > “The Blitz” - gave RAF time to repair bases & get fighter numbers up - launch final major air assault - 60 German planes shot down - then, 57 consecutive nights of bombing on London
The Blitz • The Royal Air Force defeats the Luftwaffe • Hitler has to abandon plans to invade England 5. 'Operation Sealion' postponed indefinitely - Sept. 17, 1940
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6lUCVUx-CA • Start – 20min
The War Spreads: North Africa Why did war spread to North Africa in 1940? Two major reasons: 1) The Suez Canal: Control of North Africa = control of the Suez Canal, the vital British shipping connection to the Middle East, India, and Asia. 2) Oil: Control of North Africa could lead to control of Middle East oil resources.
September 1940: Mussolini’s forces attacked Egypt, which was a British colony. • Despite a sizeable advantage in numbers, Italian forces and the Italian navy suffered humiliating defeats to the British in North Africa. • Hitler: had to bail Mussolini’s forces out. Sent one of, if not his best Field General, and four divisions in early 1942:
February 1942: General Erwin Rommel (the Desert Fox) assumed command of the German AfrikaKorps.
VS. General Bernard Montgomery (Monty) lead his British “Desert Rats”
*Showdown:El Alamein– October, 1942 • About 60 miles from the Suez Canal • Whoever won would control the Suez Canal • Montgomery’s Desert Rats victorious (but had the numerical advantage – 2x as many troops and tanks).
Significance of El Alamein: -British maintain control of the Suez Canal -Hitler denied access to oil in the Middle East -Proved to the allies that Hitler’s best troops could be beaten
After El Alamein: • Rommel is forced to begin a retreat across Northern Africa • Nov 8, 1942, Americans land in Morocco led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike). Americans would advance from the west (Operation Torch) • Germans trapped. Rommel and approx 1000 men make it back to Europe.