Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres, with about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular destination in the world. Germanys capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while its largest conurbation is the Ruhr, other major cities include Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Leipzig. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity, a region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward, beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation, in 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire.
After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic, the establishment of the national socialist dictatorship in 1933 led to World War II and the Holocaust. After a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, in 1990, the country was reunified. In the 21st century, Germany is a power and has the worlds fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP. As a global leader in industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled. It upholds a social security and universal health system, environmental protection. Germany was a member of the European Economic Community in 1957. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999, Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD.
The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world, the English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz popular, derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- people, the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a mine in Schöningen where three 380, 000-year-old wooden javelins were unearthed
2nd Army (Wehrmacht)
The 2nd Army was a World War II field army. The 2nd Army was activated on 20 October 1939, with General Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs in command, first seeing service in France, the army was involved in the invasion of the Balkans, before offensive operations in Ukraine as part of Operation Barbarossa. Armee covered the northern wing of opération Fall Blau operating in the surroundings of Voronezh, in 1945 the army was redisgnated AOK Ostpreußen and was pivotal in the defence of East and West Prussia before finally surrendering on 9 May 1945
Kurt Student was a German paratroop general in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He lost the first major operation of the war, the Battle for The Hague in May 1940. The highest-ranking member of Germanys parachute infantry, Student commanded the Fallschirmjäger throughout World War II, in 1947, Student was tried and convicted of war crimes committed while in command on Crete. Student entered the Prussian Army as a Fähnrich in 1910 and was commissioned a lieutenant in March 1911 and he qualified as a pilot in 1913 and served during World War I. In July 1916, he became a member of the Fokker Scourge. He served in units of the Third Army on the Western Front, including Jagdstaffel 9, which he commanded from 5 October 1916 –2 May 1917. He scored six victories over French aircraft between 1916 –1917, with two coming after his wound. He left Jasta 9 on 14 March 1918, in the immediate post-war years, Student was assigned to military research and development. He became involved in military gliders, since gliding was not forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles and he attended the Red Army Air Forces maneuvres, where he first came in contact with the idea of airborne operations.
After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, the Luftwaffe was secretly reestablished, Student transferred from the Army to the air force and was appointed by Hermann Göring to be the head of its training schools. In July 1938, he was named commander of airborne and air-landing troops, the division played no part in the invasion of Poland. In their first action, his troops failed to even the least of their objectives in the Battle for The Hague on 10 May 1940. Student was almost taken prisoner there, and was shot in the head - it was determined to be a stray German round - in Rotterdam following the Battle of Rotterdam. His capture was halted only when Rotterdam was bombed on 14 May and he was decorated with the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross for his leadership and bravery in the operation to capture the Belgian fortress of Eben-Emael. In January 1941, Student was named commanding general of the XI, the newly formed command for the expanding German airborne forces. In this capacity, Student directed Operation Mercury, the invasion of the island of Crete in May 1941.
Crete was taken, but the casualties caused Hitler to forbid future airborne operations. In 1943, Student ordered Major Harald Mors to plan Operation Oak and they landed with gliders and STOL aircraft on a hilltop
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. Field Marshal Montgomerys strategic goal was to encircle the heart of German industry, the northern end of the pincer would circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line giving easier access into Germany. The aim of Operation Market Garden was to establish the end of a pincer ready to project deeper into Germany. Allied forces would project north from Belgium,60 miles through the Netherlands, across the Rhine, the operation made massed use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow a rapid advance by armored ground units to consolidate north of Arnhem. The operation required the seizure of the bridges across the Maas, several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured at the beginning of the operation. Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks XXX Corps ground force advance was delayed by the failure of the airborne units to secure bridges at Son.
German forces demolished the bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Son before being secured by the 101st Airborne Division, the 82nd Airborne Divisions failure to capture the main road bridge over the river Waal at Nijmegen before 20 September delayed the advance of XXX Corps. At the furthest point of the operation at Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered initial strong resistance. The delays in capturing the bridges at Son and Nijmegen gave time for German forces, including the 9th and 10th SS panzer divisions who were present at time, to organize. In the ensuing battle, only a small force managed to capture the end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them. The remainder of the 1st Airborne Division were trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, the Allies had failed to cross the Rhine and the river remained a barrier to their advance into Germany until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden to form a foothold over the Rhine ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.
After major defeats in Normandy in the summer of 1944, remnants of German forces withdrew across the Low Countries and eastern France towards the German border by the end of August. To the south, the U. S. 12th Army Group under Lieutenant General Omar Bradley was nearing the German border and had ordered to orient on the Aachen gap with Lieutenant General Courtney Hodges U. S. First Army, in support of Montgomerys advance on the Ruhr, Third Army, under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, moved eastward towards the Saar. At the same time, the U. S. 6th Army Group under General Jacob L. Devers was advancing towards Germany after their landings in southern France. The Overlord plan had foreseen this, calling for the exploitation of ports in Brittany to move the supply points forward as the armies moved, Eisenhower persisted with his plans to capture these ports, but some argued that the capture of Le Havre and Antwerp made this unnecessary. Although over-the-beach supply operations outperformed expectations, September saw deteriorating weather and rising seas, deep-water ports were therefore required, Cherbourg was useful, but far from the front
Battle of France
The Battle of France, known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries in 1940 during the Second World War. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and attempted an invasion of France, the German plan for the invasion of France consisted of two main operations. After the withdrawal of the BEF, the German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June, the sixty remaining French divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility. German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, German forces occupied Paris unopposed on 14 June after a chaotic period of flight of the French government that led to a collapse of the French army. German commanders met with French officials on 18 June with the goal of forcing the new French government to accept an armistice that amounted to surrender and this led to the end of the French Third Republic. France was not liberated until the summer of 1944, in 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the likely case of a German invasion.
In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to immediately withdraw their forces from Poland was met without reply. Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, on 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions, the French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions, following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland, on 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new Führer-Directive Number 6, the plan was based on the seemingly more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years.
For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germanys ability to survive a long war in the west. Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and it would provide the basis for a long-term air and sea campaign against Britain. On 10 October 1939, Britain refused Hitlers offer of peace and on 12 October, colonel-General Franz Halder, presented the first plan for Fall Gelb on 19 October. This was the codename of plans for a campaign in the Low Countries. Halders plan has been compared to the Schlieffen Plan, the given to the German strategy of 1914 in the First World War. It was similar in both plans entailed an advance through the middle of Belgium
Eastern Front (World War II)
The battles on the Eastern Front constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, and immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres. The Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches, ghettos, of the estimated 70 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, many of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome of the European portion of World War II and it resulted in the destruction of the Third Reich, the partition of Germany for nearly half a century and the rise of the Soviet Union as a military and industrial superpower. The two principal belligerent powers were Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in action in the Eastern Front, the United Kingdom. The joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front, in addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front.
Despite their ideological antipathy, both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union shared a dislike for the outcome of World War I. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was an agreement between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union, Estonia and Lithuania would return to Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. I need the Ukraine so that they cant starve us out, the two powers invaded and partitioned Poland in 1939. The annexations were never recognized by most Western states, the annexed Romanian territory was divided between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum, acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, Wehrmacht officers told their troops to target people who were described as Jewish Bolshevik subhumans, the Mongol hordes, the Asiatic flood and the red beast.
The vast majority of German soldiers viewed the war in Nazi terms, Hitler referred to the war in unique terms, calling it a war of annihilation which was both an ideological and racial war. In addition, the Nazis sought to wipe out the large Jewish population of Central, after Germanys initial success at the Battle of Kiev in 1941, Hitler saw the Soviet Union as militarily weak and ripe for immediate conquest. On 3 October 1941, he announced, We have only to kick in the door, Germany expected another short Blitzkrieg and made no serious preparations for prolonged warfare. Throughout the 1930s the Soviet Union underwent massive industrialization and economic growth under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, Stalins central tenet, Socialism in one country, manifested itself as a series of nationwide centralized Five-Year Plans from 1929 onwards. It served as a testing ground for both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army to experiment with equipment and tactics that they would employ on a wider scale in the Second World War
Erwin Rommel, popularly known as the Desert Fox, was a field marshal in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany during World War II. Rommel was a decorated officer in World War I and was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his actions on the Italian Front. In World War II, he distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France and he commanded the German forces opposing the Allied cross-channel invasion of Normandy in June 1944. Rommel supported the Nazi seizure of power and Adolf Hitler, although his attitude towards Nazi ideology, in 1944, Rommel was implicated in the 20 July plot to assassinate Hitler. Due to Rommels status as a hero, Hitler desired to eliminate him quietly. Rommel was given a funeral, and it was announced that he had succumbed to his injuries from the strafing of his staff car in Normandy. Rommel was born on 15 November 1891 in Southern Germany at Heidenheim,45 kilometres from Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg, part of the German Empire.
He was the third of five children of Erwin Rommel Senior, a teacher and school administrator, as a young man Rommels father had been a lieutenant in the artillery. At age 18 Rommel joined the local 124th Württemberg Infantry Regiment as a Fähnrich, in 1910 and he graduated in November 1911 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in January 1912 and was assigned to the 124th Infantry in Weingarten. He was posted to Ulm in March 1914 to the 46th Field Artillery Regiment, XIII Corps and he returned to the 124th when war was declared. While at Cadet School, Rommel met his wife, 17-year-old Lucia Maria Mollin. They married in November 1916 in Danzig, during World War I, Rommel fought in France as well as in the Romanian and Italian Campaigns. The armies continued to skirmish in open engagements throughout September, as the trench warfare typical of the First World War was still in the future. For his actions in September 1914 and January 1915, Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, Rommel was promoted to Oberleutnant and transferred to the newly created Royal Wurttemberg Mountain Battalion of the Alpenkorps in September 1915, as a company commander.
The Mountain Battalion was next assigned to the Isonzo front, in an area in Italy. The offensive, known as the Battle of Caporetto, began on 24 October 1917, Rommels battalion, consisting of three rifle companies and a machine gun unit, was part of an attempt to take enemy positions on three mountains, Kolovrat and Stol. In two and a days, from 25 to 27 October and his 150 men captured 81 guns and 9,000 men. In one instance, the Italian forces, taken by surprise, acting as advance guard in the capture of Longarone on 9 November, Rommel again decided to attack with a much smaller force
World War II
World War II, known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the worlds countries—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the bombing of industrial and population centres. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history, from late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States and European colonies in the Pacific Ocean, and quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific.
The Axis advance halted in 1942 when Japan lost the critical Battle of Midway, near Hawaii, in 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy, thus ended the war in Asia, cementing the total victory of the Allies. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world, the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The victorious great powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers waned, while the decolonisation of Asia, most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery.
Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities, the start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939, the exact date of the wars end is not universally agreed upon.
It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945, rather than the formal surrender of Japan
4th Army (Wehrmacht)
The 4th Army was a field army of the Wehrmacht during World War II. The 4th Army was activated on 1 August 1939 with General Günther von Kluge in command and it took part in the Invasion of Poland of September 1939 as part of Army Group North, which was under Field Marshal Feodor von Bock. The 4th Army contained the II Corps and III Corps, each with two divisions, the XIX Corps with two motorized and one panzer divisions, and three other divisions, including two in reserve. Its objective was to capture the Polish Corridor, thus linking mainland Germany with East Prussia, during the attack on the Low Countries and France, the 4th Army, as part of Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedts Army Group A, invaded Belgium from the Rhineland. Along with other German armies, the 4th Army penetrated the Dyle Line, the Major-General Erwin Rommel, who was under Kluge, contributed immensely to his victories. Kluge, who had been General of the Artillery, was promoted to Field Marshal along with others on 19 July 1940.
The 4th Army took part in Operation Barbarossa in 1941 as part of Bocks Army Group Center and took part in the Battle of Minsk, on 19 December 1941, Kluge resigned along Bock and Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch. Kluge was replaced by General Ludwig Kübler, after the launching of Operation Blue, the 4th Army and the entire Army Group Center did not see much action, as troops were concentrated to the south. However, from 1943 on, as Army Group Center was in full retreat, the Red Armys campaign of autumn 1943, Operation Suvorov, saw the 4th Army pushed back towards Orsha. Between October and the first week of December, West Front had tried four times to take Orsha and had beaten off in furious battles by Fourth Army. In 1944 the 4th Army was holding defensive positions east of Orsha and Mogilev in the Belorussian SSR, occupying a bulging, the Soviet summer offensive of that year, Operation Bagration, commencing on 22 June, proved disastrous for the Wehrmacht, including the 4th Army. It was encircled east of Minsk and lost 130,000 men in 12 days since the start of Bagration, few units were able to escape westwards, after the battles in the rest of the summer, the army required complete rebuilding.
During late 1944–45 the 4th Army, now under the command of Friedrich Hoßbach, was tasked with holding the borders of East Prussia. On the first week in November in Gumbinnen Operation, the 4th Army pushed back the Soviet forces in the Gumbinnen sector off all but a fifteen-mile by fifty-mile strip of East Prussian territory. The Soviet East Prussian Offensive, commencing on 13 January, saw the 2nd Army driven steadily backwards towards the Baltic coast over a period of two weeks and 4th Army threatened with encirclement, for defying their orders, both Hoßbach and Reinhardt are relieved of command. By 13 February, 3rd Belorussian Front had pushed 4th Army out of the Heilsberg triangle, the Headquarters, 4th Army became Headquarters, 21st Army
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 Ruhr Pocket was a battle of encirclement that took place in late March and early April 1945, near the end of World War II, in the Ruhr Area of Germany. It marked the end of organized resistance on Nazi Germanys Western Front. In March 1945, the Allies crossed the River Rhine and his subordinates quickly exploited the crossing made on March 7,1945, and expanded the bridgehead until the bridge collapsed 10 days later. Having crossed the Rhine, both Army groups fanned out into the German hinterland, in the south, while the Third Army headed east, the First Army headed northeast and formed the southern pincer of the Ruhr envelopment. Facing the Allied armies were the remnants of a shattered Wehrmacht, a few SS training units, lead elements of the two Allied pincers met on April 1,1945, near Lippstadt. By April 4, the encirclement was completed and the Ninth Army reverted to the command of General Bradleys 12th Army Group, while the main operations headed further toward central and northern Germany, American forces concentrated on the pocket, taking it section by section.
On April 12,1945, the U. S, First and Ninth Armies divided the area coming from the south, the smaller, eastern part surrendered the next day. The western part continued a weak resistance until April 18 and April 21,1945, rather than surrender and face trial for war crimes, the commander, Field Marshal Walter Model, committed suicide in a forest south of the city of Duisburg, in Ratingen. German anti-Nazi resistance groups in Düsseldorf attempted to surrender the city to the Allied armies in the so-called Aktion Rheinland in order to spare Düsseldorf from further destruction, however, SS units were able to crush the resistance, and executed a number of those involved. Executions of foreign labourers and political prisoners by the Gestapo had already been occurring since February, the act of resistance did accomplish a cancellation of further bombings on the city by another 800 bombers, through contact with the Americans. Düsseldorf was captured by Americans on 17 April without any notable fighting, the surviving 325,000 German soldiers from the Ruhr Pocket, and some civilians, were imprisoned in the Rheinwiesenlager near Remagen, a temporary prison enclosure