Military & Wars
Created by ihistory on Jan 10, 2009
Last updated: 02/21/09 at 02:56 PM
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The Nuremberg Trials were a series of trials most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany after its defeat in World War II. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1946, at the Palace of Justice. The first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 21 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany. It was held from 20 November 1945, to 1 October 1946.
August 9 by the detonation of the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki. The bomb killed as many as 80,000 people in Nagasaki by the end of 1945. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. In both cities, the overwhelming majority of the dead were civilians. Six days after the detonation over Nagasaki, on August 15, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Powers, signing the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, officially ending the Pacific War and therefore World War II. After the Hiroshima bombing, President Truman announced, "If they do not accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth." On August 8, 1945, leaflets were dropped and warnings were given to Japan by Radio Saipan. The area of Nagasaki did not receive warning leaflets until August 10, though the leaflet campaign covering the whole country was over a month into its operations, probably to avoid "broadcasting" the site of the next bomb. At 11:01, a last minute break in the clouds over Nagasaki allowed Bockscar's bombardier, Captain Kermit Beahan, to visually sight the target as ordered. The "Fat Man" weapon, containing a core of 14.1 lbs. of plutonium-239, was dropped over the city's industrial valley. Forty-three seconds later it exploded 469 meters (1,540 ft) above the ground exactly halfway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works (Torpedo Works) in the north. This was nearly 2 miles northwest of the planned hypocenter; the blast was confined to the Urakami Valley and a major portion of the city was protected by the intervening hills.
After six months of intense fire-bombing of 67 other Japanese cities, the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945. The bomb killed as many as 140,000 people in Hiroshima. Since then, thousands more have died from injuries or illness attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs. The Hiroshima bomb, a gun-type bomb called "Little Boy", was made with uranium-235, a rare isotope of uranium. The atomic bomb was first tested at Trinity Site, on July 16, 1945, near Alamogordo, New Mexico. About an hour before the bombing, Japanese early warning radar detected the approach of some American aircraft headed for the southern part of Japan. An alert was given and radio broadcasting stopped in many cities, among them Hiroshima. At nearly 08:00, the radar operator in Hiroshima determined that the number of planes coming in was very small—probably not more than three—and the air raid alert was lifted. To conserve fuel and aircraft, the Japanese had decided not to intercept small formations. The normal radio broadcast warning was given to the people that it might be advisable to go to air-raid shelters if B-29s were actually sighted, but no raid was expected beyond some sort of reconnaissance.
The Battle in Berlin lasted from late April 20, 1945 until the morning of May 2, 1945 and was one of the bloodiest battles in history. In January the Red Army breached through the German front as a result of the Vistula–Oder Offensive and rapidly advanced westward as fast as 20 miles a day, through East Prussia, Lower Silesia, East Pomerania, and Upper Silesia, temporarily halting on a line 36 miles east of Berlin along the Oder River. During the offensive, two Soviet fronts (army groups) attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. According to archival data, Soviet forces sustained 81,116 dead for the entire operation, which included the Battles of Seelow Heights and the Halbe; some earlier Western estimates are much higher. Another 280,251 were reported wounded or sick during the operational period. Included in that total are Polish forces, which lost 2,825 killed or missing and 6,067 wounded in the operation. Initial Soviet estimates based on kill claims placed German losses at 458,080 killed and 479,298 captured. The number of civilian casualties is unknown.
On May 1, SS General Karl Wolff and the Commander-in-Chief of the Army Group C, General Heinrich von Vietinghoff, after prolonged unauthorised secret negotiations with the Western Allies named Operation Sunrise, which were viewed as trying to reach a separate peace by the Soviet Union, ordered all German armed forces in Italy to cease hostilities and signed a surrender document which stipulated that all German forces in Italy were to surrender unconditionally to the Allies on May 2.
The generally accepted cause of the death of Adolf Hitler on Monday, 30 April 1945 is suicide by gunshot and cyanide poisoning. The dual method and other circumstances surrounding the event encouraged rumours that Hitler may have survived the end of World War II along with speculation about what happened to his remains. The 1993 opening of records kept by the Soviet KGB and Russian FSB confirmed the widely accepted version of Hitler's death as described by Hugh Trevor-Roper in his book The Last Days of Hitler published in 1947. However, the Russian archives did show what happened to the cadaver. Hitler had what some historians later described as a nervous breakdown during one of his military situation conferences, admitting defeat was imminent and Germany would lose the war. He expressed his intent to kill himself and later asked physician Werner Haase to recommend a reliable method of suicide. Haase suggested combining a dose of cyanide with a gunshot to the head. Hitler had a supply of cyanide capsules which he had obtained through the SS. Meanwhile, on 28 April Hitler learned of Heinrich Himmler's attempt to independently negotiate a peace treaty. Hitler considered this treason and began to show signs of paranoia, expressing worries the cyanide capsules he had received through Himmler's SS were fake. He also learned of the execution of his ally Mussolini and vowed not to share a similar fate. To verify the capsules' potency he ordered Dr. Haase to try them on his dog Blondi and the animal died as a result. After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in a map room within the bunker complex. Antony Beevor states that after hosting a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife Hitler took secretary Traudl Junge to another room and dictated his last will and testament. He signed these documents at 4:00 and then retired to bed (some sources say Hitler dictated the last will and testament immediately before the wedding, but all sources agree on the timing of the signing).
U.S. soldiers allegedly gave a number of handguns to the now-liberated inmates. It has been claimed by eyewitnesses that the freed inmates tortured and killed a number of captured German soldiers, both SS guards and regular troops. The same witnesses claim that many of the German soldiers killed by the inmates were beaten to death with shovels and other tools. A number of Kapo prisoner-guards were also killed, torn apart by the inmates.
Mussolini was among the founders of Italian fascism, which included elements of nationalism, corporatism, national syndicalism, expansionism, social progress and anti-communism in combination with censorship of subversives and state propaganda. In the years following his creation of the fascist ideology, Mussolini influenced, or achieved admiration from, a wide variety of political figures. Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were stopped by communist partisans Valerio and Bellini and identified by the Political Commissar of the partisans' 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, Urbano Lazzaro, on April 27, 1945, near the village of Dongo (Lake Como), as they headed for Switzerland to board a plane to escape to Spain. Mussolini had been traveling with retreating German forces and was apprehended while attempting to escape recognition by wearing a German military uniform. After several unsuccessful attempts to take them to Como they were brought to Mezzegra. They spent their last night in the house of the De Maria family. The next day, Mussolini and his mistress were both summarily executed, along with most of the members of their 15-man train, primarily ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra. According to the official version of events, the shootings were conducted by "Colonel Valerio" (Colonnello Valerio). Valerio's real name was Walter Audisio. Audisio was the communist partisan commander who was reportedly given the order to kill Mussolini by the National Liberation Committee. When Audisio entered the room where Mussolini and the other fascists were being held, he reportedly announced: "I have come to rescue you!... Do you have any weapons?" He then had them loaded into transports and driven a short distance. Audisio ordered "get down"; Petacci hugged Mussolini and refused to move away from him when they were taken to an empty space. Shots were fired and Petacci fell down. Just then Mussolini opened his jacket and screamed "Shoot me in the chest!". Audisio shot him in the chest. Mussolini fell down but he didn't die; he was breathing heavily. Audisio went near and he shot one more bullet in his chest. Mussolini's face looked as if he had significant pain. Audisio said to his driver "Look at his face, the emotions on his face don't suit him". The other members were also lined up before a firing squad later the same night.
The Battle in Berlin lasted from late April 20, 1945 until the morning of May 2, 1945 and was one of the bloodiest battles in history. In January 1945, the Red Army breached through the German front as a result of the Vistula–Oder Offensive and rapidly advanced westward as fast as 30–40 kilometres a day, through East Prussia, Lower Silesia, East Pomerania, and Upper Silesia, temporarily halting on a line 36 miles east of Berlin along the Oder River. During the offensive, two Soviet fronts (army groups) attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. According declassified archival data, Soviet forces sustained 81,116 dead for the entire operation, which included the Battles of Seelow Heights and the Halbe; some earlier Western estimates are much higher. Another 280,251 were reported wounded or sick during the operational period. Included in that total are Polish forces, which lost 2,825 killed or missing and 6,067 wounded in the operation. nitial Soviet estimates based on kill claims placed German losses at 458,080 killed and 479,298 captured. The number of civilian casualties is unknown.
The Siege of Danzig (19 March - 24 May 1807) was the French encirclement and capture of Danzig in the War of the Fourth Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars. On the 19th of March 1807, around 27,000 French under Marshall Lefebvre laid siege to around 11,000 Prussian and Russian troops under Marshall Kalckreuth garrisoning the City of Danzig in modern-day Poland. On September 9, 1807, Napoleon established the Free City of Danzig, as a semi-independent state. This territory was carved out from lands that made up part of the Kingdom of Prussia, consisting of the city of Danzig (now known as Gdańsk) along with its rural possessions on the mouth of Vistula, together with the Hel Peninsula and the southern half of the Vistula Spit. From late January to 29 November 1813, Russian forces laid siege to the city and the French occupying forces withdrew on 2 January 1814.
The Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive launched towards the end of World War II through the forested Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium (and more specifically of Wallonia : hence its French name, Bataille des Ardennes) , France and Luxembourg on the Western Front. The offensive was called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (Translated as Operation The Guard on the Rhine or Operation "Watch on the Rhine.") by the German armed forces (Wehrmacht). This German offensive was officially named the Battle of the Ardennes or the Ardennes-Alsace campaign by the U.S. Army, but it is known to the general public simply as the Battle of the Bulge a description promoted by Winston Churchill to deliberately belittle in the public's mind at the time the serious nature of the struggle. The “bulge” was the initial incursion the Germans put into the Allies’ line of advance, as seen in maps presented in contemporary newspapers. Casualty estimates from the battle vary widely. The official U.S. account lists 80,987 American casualties, while other estimates range from 70,000 to 104,000. Most of the American casualties occurred within the first three days of battle, when two of the U.S. 106th Infantry Division’s three regiments were forced to surrender. The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest of the battles that U.S. forces experienced in World War II; the 19,000 American dead were unsurpassed by those of any other engagement. British losses totaled 1,400. The German High Command’s official figure for the campaign was 84,834 casualties, and other estimates range between 60,000 and 100,000.
The Liberation of Paris (also known as Battle for Paris) took place during World War II from 19 August 1944 until the surrender of the occupying German garrison on the 25th and is accounted as the last battle in the Campaign for Normandy and the transitional conclusion of the Allied invasion breakout in Operation Overlord into a broad-fronted general offensive. The capital region of France had been administered by Nazi Germany since the Second Compiègne armistice in June 1940 when Germany occupied the North and West of France and when the Vichy puppet regime was established with its capital in the central city of Vichy.
The 20 July plot of 1944 was a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, inside the Wolfsschanze near Rastenburg, East Prussia. This was made to take power by means of an emergency plan called Operation Valkyrie (Unternehmen Walküre). Operation Valkyrie was approved by Hitler himself and, at face value, it was intended to be used in the event that disruption caused by the Allied bombing of German cities resulted in a breakdown in law. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg played the key role in the plot and was in charge of Operation Valkyrie. Because of his position, von Stauffenberg was allowed access to Hitler to make reports and for carrying out the other intended use of Operation Valkyrie. The 20 July plot was the culmination of the efforts of the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi regime. Its failure, both in Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" (Wolfsschanze) Headquarters and then in Berlin's Bendlerblock, led to the arrest of at least 7,000 people by the Gestapo. According to records of the Führer Conferences on Naval Affairs, 4,980 people were executed which ultimately led to the destruction of the resistance movement.
Annelies Marie was a Jewish girl born in the city of Frankfurt am Main in Weimar Germany. She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary which documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Anne and her family moved to Amsterdam in 1933 after the Nazis gained power in Germany, and were trapped by the occupation of the Netherlands, which began in 1940. As persecutions against the Jewish population increased, the family went into hiding in July 1942 in hidden rooms in her father Otto Frank's office building. After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Seven months after her arrest, Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, within days of the death of her sister, Margot Frank. Her father Otto, the only survivor of the group, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944. It has been translated into many languages, has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films. Anne Frank has been acknowledged for the quality of her writing, and has become one of the most renowned and most discussed victims of the Holocaust.
The Normandy Landings were the first operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, also known as Operation Neptune and Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings commenced on 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 British Double Summer Time (H-Hour). In planning, D-Day was in reference to the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval. The assault was conducted in two phases: an air assault landing of American, British and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armored divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6:30. The invasion required the transport of soldiers and materiel from the United Kingdom by troop carrying aircraft and ships, the assault landings, air support, naval interdiction of the English Channel and naval fire-support. There were also subsidiary 'attacks' mounted under the code names Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract the Kriegsmarine and the German army from the real landing areas. The operation was the largest single-day amphibious invasion of all time, with over 130,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944. 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel were involved. The landings took place along a stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
The Tehran Conference (codenamed EUREKA) was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943 in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference among the Big Three (the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom) in which Stalin was present. It succeeded the Cairo Conference and was followed by the Yalta Conference and Potsdam Conference. The chief discussion was centered on the opening of a second front in Western Europe. At the same time a separate protocol pledged the three countries to recognize Iran's independence. Most importantly the conference was organized to plan the final strategy for the war against Nazi Germany and its allies.
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini, GCB KSMOM GCTE was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism. He became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922 and began using the title Il Duce by 1925. After 1936, his official title was "His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire". Mussolini also created and held the supreme military rank of First Marshal of the Empire along with King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, which gave him and the King joint supreme control over the military of Italy. Mussolini remained in power until he was replaced in 1943; for a short period after this until his death he was the leader of the Italian Social Republic.
Construction on Auschwitz II (Birkenau) began in October 1941 to ease congestion at the main camp. It was designed to hold several categories of prisoners, and to function as an extermination camp in the context of Himmler's preparations for the Final Solution of the Jewish Question, the extermination of the Jews. The first gas chamber at Birkenau was "The Little Red House", a brick cottage that was converted into a gassing facility by tearing out the inside and bricking up the walls. It was operational by March 1942. A second brick cottage, "The Little White House", was similarly converted some weeks later. By July 1942, the SS were conducting the infamous "selections", in which incoming Jews were divided into those deemed able to work, who were then admitted to the camp, and those who weren't, who were immediately gassed.
President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate "military areas" as "exclusion zones", from which "any or all persons may be excluded." This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in internment camps. Japanese American internment refers to the forcible relocation and internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans to housing facilities called "War Relocation Camps", in the wake of Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The internment of Japanese Americans was applied unequally throughout the United States. Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast of the United States were all interned, whereas in Hawaii, where over 150,000 Japanese Americans composed nearly a third of that territory's population, an additional 1,200 to 1,800 Japanese Americans were interned. Of those interned, 62 percent were United States citizens. A Japanese American unfurled this banner the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. This Dorothea Lange photograph was taken in March 1942, just prior to the man's internment.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Japanese navy against the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, later resulting in the United States becoming militarily involved in World War II. It was intended as a preventive action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from influencing the war Japan was planning to wage in Southeast Asia against Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States. The attack consisted of two aerial attack waves totaling 353 aircraft, launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships (two of which were raised and returned to service late in the war) and damaged four more. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, destroyed 188 aircraft, and caused personnel losses of 2,402 killed and 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal, at 29 aircraft and four midget submarines, with 65 servicemen killed or wounded. The attack was a major engagement of World War II. It occurred before a formal declaration of war and before the last part of the infamous 14-part message was delivered to the State Department in Washington, D.C. The Japanese Embassy in Washington had been instructed to deliver it immediately prior to the scheduled time of the attack in Hawaii.
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that commenced on June 22, 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along an 1,800 mile front. The operation was named after the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire, a leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century. The planning for Operation Barbarossa started on December 18, 1940; the clandestine preparations and the military operation itself lasted almost a year, from the spring of 1941 through the winter of 1941. Operation Barbarossa remains the largest military operation, in terms of manpower, area traversed, and casualties, in human history. The failure of Operation Barbarossa resulted in the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany and is considered a turning point for the Third Reich. Most importantly, Operation Barbarossa opened up the Eastern Front, which ultimately became the biggest theater of war in world history. Operation Barbarossa and the areas which fell under it became the site of some of the largest battles, deadliest atrocities, terrible loss of life, and horrific conditions for Soviets and Germans alike - all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the 20th century history.
Fighting against the German tactic of "Blitzkrieg," or "lightning war" style surprise attacks on multiple fronts, the Allies quickly lost Poland in October of 1939, and more unexpectedly, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and Belgium, all during the first half of 1940.
In the early morning of 9 April 1940 – Wesertag ("Weser Day") – Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, ostensibly as a preventive manoeuvre against a planned, and openly discussed, Franco-British occupation of both these countries. After the invasions, envoys of the Germans informed the governments of Denmark and Norway that the Wehrmacht had come to protect the countries' neutrality against Franco-British aggression. Significant differences in geography, location and climate between the two countries made the actual military operations very dissimilar.
Roosevelt's third term was dominated by World War II, in Europe and in the Pacific. Roosevelt slowly began re-armament in 1938 since he was facing strong isolationist sentiment from leaders like Senators William Borah and Robert Taft who supported re-armament. By 1940, it was in high gear, with bipartisan support, partly to expand and re-equip the United States Army and Navy and partly to become the "Arsenal of Democracy" supporting the United Kingdom, French Third Republic, the Republic of China and (after June 1941), the Soviet Union. As Roosevelt took a firmer stance against the Axis Powers, American isolationists—including Charles Lindbergh and America First—attacked the President as an irresponsible warmonger. Unfazed by these criticisms and confident in the wisdom of his foreign policy initiatives, FDR continued his twin policies of preparedness and aid to the Allied coalition. On December 29, 1940, he delivered his Arsenal of Democracy fireside chat, in which he made the case for involvement directly to the American people, and a week later he delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech in January 1941, further laying out the case for an American defense of basic rights throughout the world.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the Netherlands declared itself neutral once again as it had done during World War I. Even so, on May 10, 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands. The main purpose of the German invasion of the Netherlands was to draw away attention from operations in the Ardennes and to lure British and French forces deeper into Belgium as well as to pre-empt a possible British invasion in North Holland. On May 14 the Germans - surprised by the Dutch resistance, as they had expected to capture the Netherlands in a day - demanded the surrender of the city of Rotterdam, threatening to bomb the city. Negotiations with the city's commander for surrender became stalled and were about to be resumed when German bombers, which had already been sent, failed to be called back for reasons unknown. This error resulted in the city being heavily bombed. The German forces faced little resistance at first, but their advance was eventually slowed by the Dutch army, which was mostly fighting with weaponry made before 1900. At the Afsluitdijk, the Grebbeberg and Dordrecht the Dutch army offered strong resistance. A German airborne landing at The Hague, intended to capture the Dutch royal family and the government, failed, and the paratroopers that had not been killed were captured and shipped to Britain.
The Pact of Steel, known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was an agreement between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany signed on May 22, 1939, by the foreign ministers of each country and witnessed by Count Galeazzo Ciano for Italy and Joachim von Ribbentrop for Germany.
The Spanish Civil War was a major conflict in Spain that started after an attempted coup d'état by a group of Spanish Army generals against the government of the Second Spanish Republic. The Civil War devastated Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939, ending with the victory of the rebel troops and the founding of a dictatorship led by the Fascist General Francisco Franco and the overthrow of the Republican government. Republicans (republicanos) gained the support of the Soviet Union and Mexico, while the followers of the rebellion, nacionales (Nationalists), received the support of Italy and Germany, as well as neighbouring Portugal. The war increased tensions in the lead-up to World War II and was largely seen as a possible war by proxy between the Communist Soviet Union and the Fascist Axis of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. In particular, tanks and bombing of cities from the air were features of the later war in Europe.
Beneš, the leader of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile, together with František Moravec, head of Czechoslovak military intelligence, organized and coordinated a resistance network. Hácha, Prime Minister Eliáš, and the Czech resistance acknowledged Beneš's leadership. Active collaboration between London and the Czechoslovak home front was maintained throughout the war years. The most important event of the resistance was the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich (SS leader Heinrich Himmler's deputy and the protector of Bohemia and Moravia) during the Operation Anthropoid. Infuriated, the Hitler ordered the arrest and execution of 10,000 randomly selected Czechs, but, after consultations, he reduced his response. Over 10,000 were arrested and at least 1,300 executed. The assassination resulted in one of the most well-known reprisals of the war. The village of Lidice and Ležáky was completely destroyed by the Nazis; all men over 16 years of age from the village were murdered and the rest of the population was sent to Nazi concentration camps where many women and nearly all the children were killed.
Jan 30, 1939 photo credit: Holocaust History
Aug 12, 1938
Austria was merged into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938. There had been several years of pressure from Germany and there were many supporters within Austria for the "Heim ins Reich"-movement, both Nazis and non-Nazis. Earlier, Nazi Germany had provided support for the Austrian National Socialist Party (Austrian Nazi Party) in its bid to seize power from Austria's Austrofascist leadership. Fully devoted to remaining independent but amidst growing pressures, the Chancellor of Austria, Kurt Schuschnigg, tried to hold a referendum to ask the Austrian people whether they wished to remain independent or merge into Germany. On the morning of 12 March, the 8th Army of the German Wehrmacht crossed the German-Austrian border. They did not face resistance by the Austrian Army—on the contrary, the German troops were greeted by cheering Austrians with Hitler salutes, Nazi flags and flowers. Because of this the Nazi invasion is also called the Blumenkrieg (war of flowers). For the Wehrmacht this invasion was the first big test of its machinery. Although the invading forces were badly organized and coordination between the units was poor, it mattered little because no fighting took place. It did, however, serve as a warning to German commanders in future military operations, such as that against Czechoslovakia.
The Rhineland (Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany. After the collapse of the French Empire in the early 19th century, the German-speaking regions at the middle and lower course of the Rhine river were annexed to the kingdom of Prussia. The Prussian administration reorganised the territory as the Rhine Province (also known as Rhenish Prussia), a term continuing in the names of the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. Following the First World War of the early 20th century, the western part of Rhineland was occupied by Entente forces, then demilitarized under the Treaty of Versailles. German forces remilitarized the territory in 1936, as part of a diplomatic test of will, three years before the outbreak of the Second World War.
The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) of 1935 were laws passed in Nazi Germany. They used a pseudoscientific basis for racial discrimination against Jewish people. The laws people as German if all four of their grandparents were of "German blood" (white circles on the chart), while people were as Jews if they descended from three or four Jewish grandparents (black circles in top row right). A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of "mixed blood".
Hitler was Germany's last president until 1945, when Karl Dönitz was appointed president according to Hitler's last testament upon the dictator's suicide, as following Hindenburg's death, Hitler declared the office of President to be permanently vacant, effectively merging it with the office of Chancellor under the title of Leader and Chancellor (Führer und Reichskanzler), making himself Germany's Head of State and Head of government, thereby completing the progress of Gleichschaltung. Hitler had a plebiscite held on August 19, 1934, in which the German people were asked if they approved of Hitler merging the two offices. The Ja (Yes) vote amounted to 90% of the vote.
Hindenburg enjoyed a long if undistinguished career in the Prussian army, eventually retiring in 1911. He was recalled at the outbreak of the First World War, and first came to national attention, at the age of sixty-six, as the victor at Tannenberg in 1914. As Germany's Chief of the General Staff from 1916, he and his deputy, Erich Ludendorff, rose in the German public's esteem until Hindenburg came to eclipse the Kaiser himself. Hindenburg retired again in 1919, but returned to public life one more time in 1925 to be elected as the second President of Germany.
Engelbert Dollfuss was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman, who was chancellor of Austria from 1932 and dictator of Austria from 1933 until his assassination by Nazi agents in 1934. Austria-Hungary's industry had been situated in the areas that were separated into Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia with the Treaty of Versailles, and thus this manufacturing power was lost to Austria after World War I. Dollfuss's majority in Parliament was marginal (he had only a one-vote majority) deflationary policies implemented by his chief economic advisor, the famous Ludwig von Mises, would prove unpopular among the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria. Dollfuss was assassinated in July 25, 1934 by eight Austrian Nazis (Paul Hudl, Franz Holzweber, Otto Planetta and others of [SS Regiment 89] who entered the Chancellery building and shot him in an attempted coup d'état, the July Putsch. Dollfuss was a very short man and his diminutive stature (155 cm = 5' 2") was the object of satire, among his nicknames were 'Millimetternich' (referring to the autocratic imperial chancellor of Austria from 1815 - 1848, Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich), and the 'Jockey'. The New York Times also reported a series of jokes, including how in the coffee houses of Vienna, one could order a 'Dollfuss' cup of coffee instead of a 'Short Black' cup of coffee (black being the color of the Christian Democratic political faction).
Dachau was a Nazi German concentration camp, and the first one opened in Germany, located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 miles) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria which is located in southern Germany.
On 14 July 1933 Germany was officially declared a one-party state. Symbols of the Weimar Republic, including the black-red-gold flag (now the present-day flag of Germany), were abolished by the new regime which adopted both new and old imperial and Aryan occult symbolism to represent the dual nature of the imperialist-Nazi regime of 1933. The old imperial black-white-red tricolour, almost completely abandoned during the Weimar Republic, was restored as one of Germany's two officially legal national flags. The other official national flag was the swastika flag of the Nazi party. It became the sole national flag in 1935, designed by Hitler in 1920, who wrote that he chose the swastika to symbolize "the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind and at the same time the triumph of the of creative work which is in itself and always will be anti-Semitic."
On 21 March, the new Reichstag was constituted with an opening ceremony held at Potsdam's garrison church. This "Day of Potsdam" was staged to demonstrate reconciliation and unity between the revolutionary Nazi movement and "Old Prussia" with its elites and virtues. Hitler appeared in a tail coat and humbly greeted the aged President Hindenburg.
Oranienburg became a showplace of terror during the Nazi era. One of the first Nazi concentration camps was built there in 1933; in 1935 another camp was established in the quarter of Sachsenhausen. While the first camp was dissolved as early as 1934, the Sachsenhausen camp continued to exist until the end of the Nazi regime; 100,000 people were killed in Sachsenhausen before the liberation of the camp by the Soviet Red Army in 1945.
The president reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler Chancellor of a coalition government formed by the NSDAP and DNVP. However, the Nazis were to be contained by a framework of conservative cabinet ministers, most notably by Papen as Vice-Chancellor and by Hugenberg as Minister of the Economy. The only other Nazi besides Hitler to get a portfolio was Wilhelm Frick, who was given the relatively powerless interior ministry (in Germany at the time, most powers wielded by the interior minister in other countries were held by the interior ministers of the states). On the morning of 30 January 1933, in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some observers later described as a brief and simple ceremony.
Nazism, officially called National Socialism (German: National sozialismus), refers primarily to the and practices of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party under Adolf Hitler; and the policies adopted by the government of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.
Three phrases—Black Thursday, Black Monday, and Black Tuesday—are used to describe this collapse of stock values. All three are appropriate, for the crash was not a one-day affair. The initial crash occurred on Black Thursday (October 24, 1929), but it was the catastrophic downturn of Black Monday and Tuesday (October 28 and 29, 1929) that precipitated widespread panic and the onset of unprecedented and long-lasting consequences for the United States. The collapse continued for a month.
Mein Kampf, in English My Struggle or My Battle, is a book dictated by Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's National Socialist political Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926. From the royalties, Hitler was able to afford a Mercedes while still being imprisoned. Moreover, he accumulated a tax debt of 405,500 Reichsmark (8 million USD today, or £4m UK Pounds Sterling) from the sale of about 240,000 copies by the time he became chancellor in 1933. Despite rumors to the contrary, new evidence suggests that it was actually in high demand in libraries (topping the lending lists) and often reviewed and quoted in other publications. By the end of the war, about 10 million copies of the book had been sold or distributed in Germany (every newly-wed couple, as well as every front soldier, received a free copy), and Hitler had made about 1.2 m Reichsmarks from the income of his book in 1933.
Jul 29, 1921