European History 17th Century to Modern Day: WWII

1. Germany in command, 1939-1941 a.) Blitzkrieg through Poland. In Poland- Hitler uses full tactic of Blitz for the first time. It worked out exactly how they drew it on paper. It was used to avoid stalemate as in WWI- all about movement: strike fast and with full force. 1. Use of airpower (Luffwaffe). Establishing supremacy in the sky followed by heavy armor usually tanks.There is much, much more speed behind all of this. It is devastating to Poland; the country falls in weeks. As a result Britain and France declare war on Germany. Makes clear how far behind Britian and France are in being ready to fight. Winter 1939- Britain and France trying desperately to build, train men, sitzgreig, willl not be offensive.

The Fall of France (1940) French had been expecting this for a long time. German troops came into France (France always worrying about German aggression.) 1. The Marginot Line. Which is basically to build better trenches: They are preparing to fight WWI all over again. (What is defense fortification)

Ardennes Forest: very deeply forested, if they had to guess where the germans would have a hard time marching through, it would be here. Belguims did not build anything like Marginot Line. France asked them to, they said no. There were so many problems with this like. Like for instance, when the Germans came it, they basically just walked around it. France are taken surprise by Germans again. (This line is like a railroad connected underground. It was an immense undertaking, it was expensive, although it gives the French a sense of confidence that…they really shouldn’t have had. Utter disarming.)

2. Dunkirk: Retreated this far. 330,000 some-thousand British and French troops sitting and waiting on the beach for Germans to come. It was so easy, the Germans thought it was a trap. So they slowed & delayed for a few days to restore communication lines. (Snatch…victory out of the jaws of defeat-) British sends anything that can float across the English Channel. They pick up these men. They have their man power back, but they leave all equipment behind. Churchill manages to make this into a hopeful occasion. IT left France essentialy undefended: Dunkirk was a ray of hope but led quickly to the surrender of France.

3. Surrender: Unconditional Surrendar. Franceas a result, was divided up. Northern France was under the control of Germans. Satellite stage: hand picked government by Nazi-Southern France, Vichy France…France is no longer in war: it is left to Britain.  (Satellite stage? what is that all about) 

C. Battle of Britain (1940) The only power left battling Germany. Hitler thinks he is invincible at this point, because everything he draws up seems to be working beautifully, (but Britain is just so goddamn hard to invade, its happened twice in history?) ….How dow we get across the channel? Get to the skies 1st: Operation Sea Lion, then we’ll figure out step two when we get there. It is the Luffawffe vs. Royal Air Force: Series of air battles where the Luffwaffe trying to knock out the R.A.F. ability to defend the sky over Britain. Industrial and Military places were their targets: Air fields, factories where air product production took place: this is exceptionally effective. The advantage the Luffawe had was they are much larger and they can take losses. The British cannot. (takes time to train a pilot; that time British did not have.) Germany is very close to winning when Hitler decidesto change tactics- he takes the shift to civilian targets. Blitz. Just Blitz. Over London, Portsmith, South Hampton. ((something (a bombing over Berlin) pissed him off.)) Churchill: “We will never ever ever ever ever ever surrender.”

The Blitz over winter of 1940 was not succeeding in getting U.S. into the war. Churchill’s defiant leadership becomes the public’s retain. (Blitz:Bombing every night in London). People, instead of turning on each other, dug in. This brought people together in ways of never before. (Beginning of Relaxation of Class in London.) People of all statuses were living in tube stations at night. They sent many children away and they end up in Northern Scotland. People in Scotland see effects of Industrialization for the first time: the children are smaller than they should have been. How stubborn British people were: Every morning after the bombing they got up, put out the fires, and went to work. 

Bombing of city of Coventry: Not warned, public agreed with government. Battle of Britain: Bought time and showed Germans could be stood up to, though never fully resolved. Bombs on civilians continued throughout entire war. (Battle of city of Coventry?)

II. Turning Point: Changed Germany from the Offensive to Defensive. A. Invasion of Soviet Union June 1941: Operation Barbarossa- for the Soviets it was  still to early for them to fight Russia head on. They fall back, fall back, fall back. This tactic does not have the same potential to work as it did before because now there are people coming at them with planes and tanks…but it does (banking on the size of Russia.) The average temperature of -40 in winter stops men and tanks in their tracks. This takes away government advantage and the Soviets wait out the winter. Spring they launch offensive and this creates Intense fighting. Britain and U.S. look for a way to intervene but cannot find one. The Soviets are essentially left on their own. There is the Battle of Stalingrad: a massive street battle and win for soviets. Photo on 12-5-13 at 11.05 AM

Thats the Germans walking their way around the Marginot line and sifting right through that Ardennes forest.


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