Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a state so as to offer military capability required by the national defense policy. In some countries paramilitary forces are included in an armed forces. Armed forces that are not a part of military or paramilitary organizations, such as insurgent forces, often mimic military organizations, the use of formalized ranks in a hierarchical structure came into widespread use with the Roman Army. These in turn manage Armed Services that themselves command combat, combat support and combat support formations. Within each departmental agency will be found administrative branches responsible for further agency business specialization work, in most countries the armed forces are divided into three or four Armed services, army and air force. Many countries have a variation on the model of three or four basic Armed Services. Some nations organize their marines, special forces or strategic missile forces as independent armed services, a nations coast guard may be an independent military branch of its military, although in many nations the coast guard is a law enforcement or civil agency. A number of countries have no navy, for geographical reasons, most smaller countries have a single organization that encompasses all armed forces employed by the country in question.
Third-world armies tend to consist primarily of infantry, while first-world armies tend to have larger units manning expensive equipment and it is worthwhile to make mention of the term joint. In western militaries, a joint force is defined as a unit or formation comprising representation of power from two or more branches of the military. It is common, at least in the European and North American militaries, to refer to the blocks of a military as commands, formations. In a military context, a command is a collection of units and it is not uncommon for a nations services to each consist of their own command, but this does not preclude the existence of commands which are not service-based. A formation is defined by the US Department of Defense as two or more aircraft, ships, or units proceeding together under a commander. The formations only differ in their ability to achieve different scales of application of force to achieve different strategic and tactical goals and it is a composite military organization that includes a mixture of integrated and operationally attached sub-units, and is usually combat-capable.
Example of formations include, brigades, wings, formation may refer to tactical formation, the physical arrangement or disposition of troops and weapons. Examples of formation in such usage include, panzerkeil, testudo formation, any unit subordinate to another unit is considered its sub-unit or minor unit. It is not uncommon for unit and formation to be used synonymously in the United States, in Commonwealth practice, formation is not used for smaller organizations like battalions which are instead called units, and their constituent platoons or companies are referred to as sub-units. In the Commonwealth, formations are divisions, etc, different armed forces, and even different branches of service of the armed forces, may use the same name to denote different types of organizations
International Standard Book Number
The International Standard Book Number is a unique numeric commercial book identifier. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation of a book, for example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, the method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country. The initial ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering created in 1966, the 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO2108. Occasionally, a book may appear without a printed ISBN if it is printed privately or the author does not follow the usual ISBN procedure, this can be rectified later. Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number, identifies periodical publications such as magazines, the ISBN configuration of recognition was generated in 1967 in the United Kingdom by David Whitaker and in 1968 in the US by Emery Koltay.
The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO2108, the United Kingdom continued to use the 9-digit SBN code until 1974. The ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978, an SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prefixing the digit 0. For example, the edition of Mr. J. G. Reeder Returns, published by Hodder in 1965, has SBN340013818 -340 indicating the publisher,01381 their serial number. This can be converted to ISBN 0-340-01381-8, the check digit does not need to be re-calculated, since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format that is compatible with Bookland European Article Number EAN-13s. An ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation of a book, for example, an ebook, a paperback, and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, a 13-digit ISBN can be separated into its parts, and when this is done it is customary to separate the parts with hyphens or spaces.
Separating the parts of a 10-digit ISBN is done with either hyphens or spaces, figuring out how to correctly separate a given ISBN number is complicated, because most of the parts do not use a fixed number of digits. ISBN issuance is country-specific, in that ISBNs are issued by the ISBN registration agency that is responsible for country or territory regardless of the publication language. Some ISBN registration agencies are based in national libraries or within ministries of culture, in other cases, the ISBN registration service is provided by organisations such as bibliographic data providers that are not government funded. In Canada, ISBNs are issued at no cost with the purpose of encouraging Canadian culture. In the United Kingdom, United States, and some countries, where the service is provided by non-government-funded organisations. Australia, ISBNs are issued by the library services agency Thorpe-Bowker
The Axis powers, known as the Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis, were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allied Powers. The Axis agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity, the Axis grew out of the diplomatic efforts of Germany and Japan to secure their own specific expansionist interests in the mid-1930s. The first step was the treaty signed by Germany and Italy in October 1936, Mussolini declared on 1 November that all other European countries would from on rotate on the Rome–Berlin axis, thus creating the term Axis. The almost simultaneous second step was the signing in November 1936 of the Anti-Comintern Pact, Italy joined the Pact in 1937. At its zenith during World War II, the Axis presided over territories that occupied parts of Europe, North Africa. There were no three-way summit meetings and cooperation and coordination was minimal, the war ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers and the dissolution of their alliance. As in the case of the Allies, membership of the Axis was fluid, at the time he was seeking an alliance with the Weimar Republic against Yugoslavia and France in the dispute over the Free State of Fiume.
The term was used by Hungarys prime minister Gyula Gömbös when advocating an alliance of Hungary with Germany, when Mussolini publicly announced the signing on 1 November, he proclaimed the creation of a Rome–Berlin axis. Italy under Duce Benito Mussolini had pursued an alliance of Italy with Germany against France since the early 1920s. He believed that Italy could expand its influence in Europe by allying with Germany against France, in early 1923, as a goodwill gesture to Germany, Italy secretly delivered weapons for the German Army, which had faced major disarmament under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. General Hans von Seeckt supported an alliance between Germany and the Soviet Union to invade and partition Poland between them and restore the German-Russian border of 1914. The discussions concluded that Germans still wanted a war of revenge against France but were short on weapons, however at this time Mussolini stressed one important condition that Italy must pursue in an alliance with Germany, that Italy must.
Tow them, not be towed by them, the French government warned Italy that it had to choose whether to be on the side of the pro-Versailles powers or that of the anti-Versailles revanchists. Grandi responded that Italy would be willing to offer France support against Germany if France gave Italy its mandate over Cameroon, France refused Italys proposed exchange for support, as it believed Italys demands were unacceptable and the threat from Germany was not yet immediate. In 1932, Gyula Gömbös and the Party of National Unity rose to power in Hungary, Gömbös sought to alter Hungarys post–Treaty of Trianon borders by forming an alliance with Austria and Italy, knowing that Hungary alone was not capable of challenging the Little Entente powers. At the meeting between Gömbös and Mussolini in Rome on 10 November 1932, the question came up of the sovereignty of Austria in relation to the rise to power in Germany of the Nazi Party. Mussolini was worried about Nazi ambitions towards Austria, and indicated that at least in the term he was committed to maintaining Austria as a sovereign state.
Italy had concerns over a Germany which included Austria laying land claims to German-populated territories of the South Tyrol within Italy, Mussolini said he hoped the Anschluss could be postponed as long as possible until the breakout of a European war that he estimated would begin in 1938
Battle of Stalingrad
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, attempts were made to supply the army by air.
Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city.
The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there
Front (military formation)
A front is a military formation in some countries. Originating in the Russian Empire, it has been used by the Polish Army, the Red Army and Soviet Army and it is roughly equivalent to an army group in the military of most other countries. It varies in size but in general contains three to five armies and it should not be confused with the more general usage of military front, describing a geographic area in wartime. In August 1915, Northwestern Front was split into Northern Front, at the end of 1916 Romanian Front was established, which included remnants of the Romanian army. In April 1917, Caucasus Front was established by the reorganization of the Caucasus Army, the Soviet fronts were first raised during the Russian Civil War. They were wartime only, in the peacetime the fronts were normally disbanded. Usually a single district formed a front at the start of the hostilities. Some military districts could not form a front, Fronts were formed during the Polish-Soviet War of 1920. An interesting and important distinction between groups and fronts is that a Soviet front typically had its own army-sized tactical fixed-wing air organization.
This air army was subordinated to the front commander. The entire front might report either to the Stavka or to a theatre of military operations, the degree of change in the structure and performance of individual fronts can only be understood when seen in the context of the strategic operations of the Red Army in World War II. Soviet fronts in the European Theatre during the Second World War from 1941 to 1945, Baltic Fronts 1st Baltic Front, 2nd Baltic Front, Formed from Bryansk Front on 10 October 1943. 3rd Baltic Front Bryansk Front - Created 18 December 1941, to take sector between the Western and Southwestern Fronts, reformed from Orel Front 28 March 1943. Renamed 1st Baltic Front Oct-Dec 1943, Karelian Front - formed from Northern Front, along with Leningrad Front, on 23 August 1941. Kursk Front Leningrad Front - formed from Northern Front, along with Karelian Front, composed of Western Fronts 61st Army, Central Fronts 3rd Army, and 15th Air Army. Redesignated Bryansk Front 28 March 1943, Army Group of Primorye Reserve Front - Front of Reserve Armies formed 14 July 1941 Southeastern Front - formed from armies on Stalingrad Fronts left wing,7 August 1942.
Redesignated Stalingrad Front 28 September 1942, Southern Front - renamed 4th Ukrainian Front 20 October 1943. Southwestern Front - Formed initially on 22 June 1941, reestablished 22 October 1942 between Don and Voronezh Fronts
Second Army (Hungary)
The Hungarian Second Army was one of three field armies raised by the Kingdom of Hungary which saw action during World War II. All three armies were formed on March 1,1940, Hungarys head of state was Regent Admiral Miklós Horthy and the government was led by Prime Minister Pál Teleki. On April 3,1941, Teleki committed suicide when it became clear that Hungary was to part in the invasion of Yugoslavia. The comparatively small Hungarian Army had a strength of only 80,000 men. Militarily, the nation was divided into seven corps commands, each army corps consisted of three infantry divisions, each of which comprised three infantry regiments and an artillery regiment. Each corps included two brigades, two motorized infantry brigades, an anti-aircraft battery, a signals company, and a cavalry reconnaissance troop. On March 11,1940, the Hungarian Army was expanded to three armies, each with three corps. All three of these armies were to see action against the Red Army before the end of the war. Hungary did not immediately participate in Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, adolf Hitler did not directly ask for, nor necessarily want, Hungarian assistance at that time.
Most of the Hungarian forces, including the three armies, were initially relegated to duties within the reenlarged Hungarian state. Hungary regained substantial portions of its territories that had been ceded following the loss of World War I, at the end of June,1941, Germany summoned Hungary to join in the attack on the Soviet Union. Hungary continued to resist joining in the war, the matter was settled on June 26,1941, when the Soviet air force bombed Košice. The Kingdom of Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union the next day, at first, only Hungarys Karpat Group with its integral Rapid Corps was sent to the Eastern Front, in support of the German 17th Army. Towards the end of 1941, only the exhausted and battle weary Rapid Corps was left, before Horthy would gain Hitlers consent to withdraw the Rapid Corps, he had to agree to deploy an even larger Hungarian force. Of the 3 Hungarian field armies, high command decided to send the 2nd Army, however the Armed Forces in general were so poorly equipped that practically all modern equipment was provided to the 2nd Army.
Even after these measures the 2nd Army still lacked adequate motorized transport. Germany has promised to provide the equipment, but failed to deliver any meaningful quantities. Practically all the armoured units Hungary had were re-organized into the 1st Hungarian Armored Division, almost all combat-worthy aircraft and supporting units were organized into the 1st Flight Group, attached to the 2nd Army
Operation Koltso was the last part of the Battle of Stalingrad. It resulted in the capitulation of the remaining Axis forces encircled in the city, the operation was launched on 10 January 1943 with a mass artillery bombardment of the German positions outside the city by the seven encircling Soviet armies. In the first three days, the Soviets lost 26,000 men and over half their tanks, the western half of the Stalingrad pocket had been lost by 17 January. On the 10th, it clear the main goal was the Pitomnik airfield. The 44th, 76th and 28th Infantry Divisions were badly hit, the 3rd Infantry Division, deployed on the southwestern corner of the cauldron since the end of Nov.1942, was ordered to retreat to new defensive positions to avoid encirclement. The fighting paused for four days while the Soviet forces regrouped and redeployed for the phase of the operation. The second phase of the offensive began on 20 January with a Soviet push toward the airfield at Gumrak, two days later, the airfield was occupied by the Soviets.
Its capture meant an end to the evacuation of the German wounded, Paulus on 22 January sent a radio message to OKH, Russians in action in 6 km wide on both sides Voroponovo, some with flags unfurled to the east. Withdrawal to neighboring fronts who are without ammunition, supply with ammunition from other fronts no longer possible. More than 12,000 unprovided for wounded in the encirclement, what orders shall I give the troops who have no more ammunition and will be further attacked with heavy artillery and massed infantry. Fastest decision necessary because dissolution in some places already started, confidence in the leadership still exists. The Axis retreated back into the city itself, but resistance to the Soviet advance gradually diminished due to the exhaustion of all supplies on the Axis side. On 25 January, LI Corps commander Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach told his commanders to decide for themselves on the matter of surrender. He was immediately relieved of his command by Paulus, Seydlitz-Kurzbach fled the German lines under German fire and personally surrendered to the Soviets.
On 26 January, detachments of 21st Army met up with the 13th Guards Division to the north of the Mamaev Kurgan and many of his senior German commanders were in the smaller southern pocket based in the city center of Stalingrad. The northern pocket was led by XI Corps commander General Strecker, in bitter fighting, the Soviets gradually cleared the city center. By 31 January, German resistance in the pocket was confined to individual buildings. Soviet forces reached Pauluss headquarters in the Univermag Department Store and the remaining German soldiers ceased their resistance, Soviet Staff officers entered the building and negotiated terms with General Schmidt
Italian Army in Russia
The Italian Army in Russia was an army-sized unit of the Italian Royal Army which fought on the Eastern Front during World War II. The ARMIR was known as the 8th Italian Army and initially had 235,000 soldiers, in July 1942, the ARMIR was created when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini decided to scale up the Italian effort in the Soviet Union. The existing Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia was expanded to become the ARMIR, unlike the mobile CSIR which it replaced, the ARMIR was primarily an infantry army. A good portion of the ARMIR was made up of mountain troops, while in many ways the mountain troops added greatly to the capabilities of the ARMIR, in other ways these elite mountain fighters were ill-suited to the vast, flat expanses of southern Russia. Like the CSIR, the ARMIR included an Aviation Command with a number of fighters, bombers. This command was part of the Regia Aeronautica and was known as the Corpo Aereo Spedizione in Russia. The ARMIR was subordinated to German Army Group B commanded by General Maximilian von Weichs, Mussolini sent seven new divisions to Russia for a total of ten divisions.
Four new infantry divisions were sent, the 2 Infantry Division Sforzesca, the 3 Infantry Division Ravenna, the 5 Infantry Division Cosseria, and the 156 Infantry Division Vicenza. In addition to the divisions, three new mountain divisions made up of Alpini were sent, the 2 Alpine Division Tridentina, the 3 Alpine Division Julia. These new divisions were added to the 52 Motorised Division Torino,9 Motorised Division Pasubio and 3 Cavalry Division Amedeo Duca dAosta which were already in Russia as part of the CSIR. The 8th Italian Army was organized into three corps, The XXXV Army Corps, the II Army Corps, and the Mountain Corps, the XXXV Corps included the three divisions of the CSIR, Torino and Amedeo Duca dAosta. The II Corps included the new Sforzesca and Cosseria divisions, the Mountain Corps included the Tridentina, the Julia, and Cuneense divisions. The Vicenza Division was under command of the 8th Army and was primarily utilized behind the front on lines of communications duties and anti-partisan.
In addition to the ten divisions, the 8th Italian Army included the 298th and 62nd German divisions, a Croatian volunteer legion, by November 1942, the 8th Italian Army had a total of 235,000 men in twelve divisions and four legions. It was equipped with 988 guns,420 mortars,25,000 horses, while the Italians did receive 12 German Mk. IV tanks and had captured several Soviet tanks, there were very few modern tanks. The few tanks that were available still tended to be obsolete Italian models, both the L6/40 light tanks and the 47 mm anti-tank guns were out of date when Italy declared war on 10 June 1940. Compared to what the Soviets had available to them in late 1942 and early 1943, Italian tanks, moreover, as was the complaint of General Messe with the CSIR, the ARMIR was seriously short of adequate winter equipment
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a union of national republics, but its government. The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917 and this established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic and started the Russian Civil War between the revolutionary Reds and the counter-revolutionary Whites. In 1922, the communists were victorious, forming the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Ukrainian, following Lenins death in 1924, a collective leadership and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin suppressed all opposition to his rule, committed the state ideology to Marxism–Leninism. As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization which laid the foundation for its victory in World War II and postwar dominance of Eastern Europe. Shortly before World War II, Stalin signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, in June 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theater of war in history.
Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at battles such as Stalingrad. Soviet forces eventually captured Berlin in 1945, the territory overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. The Cold War emerged by 1947 as the Soviet bloc confronted the Western states that united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. Following Stalins death in 1953, a period of political and economic liberalization, known as de-Stalinization and Khrushchevs Thaw, the country developed rapidly, as millions of peasants were moved into industrialized cities. The USSR took a lead in the Space Race with Sputnik 1, the first ever satellite, and Vostok 1. In the 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, the war drained economic resources and was matched by an escalation of American military aid to Mujahideen fighters. In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost.
The goal was to preserve the Communist Party while reversing the economic stagnation, the Cold War ended during his tenure, and in 1989 Soviet satellite countries in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist regimes. This led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the USSR as well, in August 1991, a coup détat was attempted by Communist Party hardliners. It failed, with Russian President Boris Yeltsin playing a role in facing down the coup. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union as independent post-Soviet states
A field army is a military formation in many armed forces, composed of two or more corps and may be subordinate to an army group. Likewise, air armies are equivalent formation within some air forces, a field army is composed of 100,000 to 150,000 troops. Particular field armies are named or numbered to distinguish them from army in the sense of an entire national land military force. In English, the style for naming field armies is word numbers, such as First Army, whereas corps are usually distinguished by Roman numerals. A field army may be given a name in addition to or as an alternative to a numerical name, such as the British Army of the Rhine. The term is derived from the fact that they were commanded by Roman emperors, while the Roman comitatensis is sometimes translated as field army, it may be translated as the more generic field force or mobile force. In some armed forces, an army is or has been equivalent to a corps-level unit, prior to 1945, this was the case with a gun within the Imperial Japanese Army, for which the formation equivalent in size to a field army was an area army.
In the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet Air Forces, an army was subordinate in wartime to a front and it contained at least three to five divisions along with artillery, air defense and other supporting units. In peacetime, a Soviet army was subordinate to a military district. Modern field armies are large formations which vary significantly between armed forces in size and scope of responsibility. For instance, within NATO a field army is composed of a headquarters, a battle is influenced at the field army level by transferring divisions and reinforcements from one corps to another to increase the pressure on the enemy at a critical point. NATO armies are controlled by a general or lieutenant general, Military unit Military history List of numbered armies
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, or simply the Knights Cross, and its variants were the highest awards in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. Presentations were made to members of the three branches of the Wehrmacht, as well as the Waffen-SS, the Reichsarbeitsdienst and the Volkssturm. The award was instituted on 1 September 1939, at the onset of the German invasion of Poland, a higher grade, the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross, was instituted in 1940. In 1941, two grades of the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves were instituted, the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. At the end of 1944 the final grade, the Knights Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, over 7,000 awards were made since its first presentation on 30 September 1939. Analysis of the German Federal Archives revealed evidence for 7,161 officially bestowed recipients, the German Federal Archives substantiate 863 awards of the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross, along with the 147 Swords and 27 Diamonds awards.
The Golden Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross was verifiably awarded only once, the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III established the Iron Cross at the beginning of the German campaign as part of the Napoleonic Wars. The design was a silver-framed cast iron cross on 13 March 1813, Iron was a material which symbolised defiance and reflected the spirit of the age. The Prussian state had mounted a campaign steeped in patriotic rhetoric to rally their citizens to repulse the French occupation. To finance the army, the king implored wealthy Prussians to turn in their jewels in exchange for a mens cast-iron ring or a brooch, each bearing the legend Gold I gave for iron. With the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, a new grade of the Iron Cross series was introduced, the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, without distinction, was awarded to officers and soldiers alike, conforming with the National Socialist slogan, One people, one nation, the renewal for the first time had created an honorary sign of the entire German state.
The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross instituted on 1 September 1939 and its appearance was very similar to the Iron Cross. Its shape was that of a cross pattée, a cross that has arms which are narrow at the center and broader at the perimeter, the most common Knights Crosses were produced by the manufacturer Steinhauer & Lück in Lüdenscheid. The Steinhauer & Lück crosses are stamped with the digits 800, indicating 800 grade silver, the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was instituted on of 3 June 1940. Before the introduction of the Oak Leaves only 124 members of the Wehrmacht had received the Knights Cross, prior to Case Yellow, the attack on the Netherlands and France, just 52 Knights Crosses had been awarded. In May 1940 the number of presentations peaked, the timing for the introduction of the Oak Leaves is closely linked to Case Red, the second and decisive phase of the Battle of France. Like the Knights Cross to which it was added, the Oak Leaves clasp could be awarded for leadership, the Oak Leaves, just like the 1813 Iron Cross and Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, was not a National Socialist invention
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943