Invasion of Poland
The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German-Soviet Frontier Treaty. German forces invaded Poland from the north and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident, as the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established lines of defence to the east. After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, Polish forces withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom. While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was very limited. The Soviet Red Armys invasion of Eastern Poland on 17 September, in accordance with a protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible, on 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland.
The success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, the Soviet Union incorporated its newly acquired areas into its constituent Belarusian and Ukrainian republics, and immediately started a campaign of sovietization. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance formed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West. On 30 January 1933, the Nazi Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, as part of this long-term policy, Hitler at first pursued a policy of rapprochement with Poland, trying to improve opinion in Germany, culminating in the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934. Earlier, Hitlers foreign policy worked to weaken ties between Poland and France, and attempted to manoeuvre Poland into the Anti-Comintern Pact, forming a front against the Soviet Union. The Poles feared that their independence would eventually be threatened altogether, the so-called Polish Corridor constituted land long disputed by Poland and Germany, and inhabited by a Polish majority.
The Corridor had become a part of Poland after the Treaty of Versailles, many Germans wanted the city of Danzig and its environs to be reincorporated into Germany. Danzig was a city with a German majority. It had been separated from Germany after Versailles and made into the nominally independent Free City of Danzig, the series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier. Poland participated with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia that followed the Munich Agreement and it coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the region of Český Těšín by issuing an ultimatum to that effect on 30 September 1938, which was accepted by Czechoslovakia on 1 October. This region had a Polish majority and had been disputed between Czechoslovakia and Poland in the aftermath of World War I, the Polish annexation of Slovak territory served as the justification for the Slovak state to join the German invasion. Poland rejected this proposal, fearing that after accepting these demands, it would become subject to the will of Germany
The Hanseatic Cross was a decoration of the three Hanseatic city-states of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, who were members of the German Empire during World War I. Each republic established its own version of the cross, but the design, the Hanseatic Cross was jointly instituted by agreement of the senates of the three cities, with each senate ratifying the award on different days. The Lübeck version was established first, on August 21,1915, the Hamburg version followed on September 10 and the Bremen version on September 14. The cross was awarded for merit in war, and could be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, when awarded for bravery or combat merit, it was the three cities equivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross. The Hanseatic Cross came in one class, a cross worn from a ribbon on the left chest. The cross was a silver cross pattée which bore the arms of the relevant city-state on the center medallion. The reverse was identical for all three versions and the medallion bore the phrase Für Verdienst im Kriege and the date 1914.
There were approximately 50,000 awards of the Hanseatic Cross of Hamburg, the Bremen Hanseatic Cross was awarded approximately 20,000 times. Lübeck was the smallest of the Hanseatic cities, and its Hanseatic Cross was awarded approximately 8-10,000 times, the roll for the Lübeck Hanseatic Cross have been transcribed by an international team of phaleristic researchers from Germany and the Netherlands. The complete roll was expected to be available by fall 2008/spring 2009, dr. Kurt-Gerhard Klietmann, Pour le Mérite und Tapferkeitsmedaille
The Iron Cross was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and in the German Empire and Nazi Germany. It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars, Louise was the first person to receive this decoration. The recommissioned Iron Cross was awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, the Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. The design of the symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross pattée occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century, the black cross patty was used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to March/April 1918, when it was replaced by the Balkenkreuz. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the Black Cross is the emblem used by the Prussian Army, and by the army of Germany from 1871 to present.
It was designed on the occasion of the German Campaign of 1813, from this time, the Black Cross featured on the Prussian war flag alongside the Black Eagle. The design is due to neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, based on a sketch by Frederick William, the design is ultimately derivative of the black cross used by the Teutonic Order. This heraldic cross took various forms throughout the history, including a simple Latin cross. When the Quadriga of the Goddess of Peace was retrieved from Paris at Napoleons fall, an Iron Cross was inserted into her laurel wreath, making her into a Goddess of Victory. The Black Cross was used on the naval and war flags of the German Empire, the Black Cross was used as the symbol of the German Army until 1915, when it was replaced by a simpler Balkenkreuz. The Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic, the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, the traditional design in black is used on armored vehicles and aircraft, while after German reunification, a new design in blue and silver was introduced for use in other contexts.
The ribbon for the 1813,1870 and 1914 Iron Cross was black with two white bands, the colors of Prussia. The non-combatant version of this award had the same medal, but the black, the ribbon color for the 1939 EKII was black/white/red/white/black. Since the Iron Cross was issued several different periods of German history. For example, an Iron Cross from World War I bears the year 1914, the reverse of the 1870,1914 and 1939 series of Iron Crosses have the year 1813 appearing on the lower arm, symbolizing the year the award was created. The 1813 decoration has the initials FW for King Frederick William III, the final version shows a swastika. There was the 1957 issue, a replacement medal for holders of the 1939 series which substituted an oak-leaf cluster for the banned swastika
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was united with the new Wehrmacht. At the end of World War I, the forces of the German Empire had mostly split up, many of them joined the Freikorps, a collection of volunteer paramilitary units that were involved in suppressing the German Revolution and border clashes between 1918 and 1923. The Vorläufige Reichswehr was made up of 43 brigades, on 30 September 1919, the army was reorganised as the Übergangsheer, and the force size was reduced to 20 brigades. About 400,000 men served in the armed forces, in May 1920 it was downsized to 200,000 men and restructured again, forming three cavalry divisions and seven infantry divisions. On 1 October 1920 the brigades were replaced by regiments and the manpower was now only 100,000 men as stipulated by the Treaty of Versailles and this lasted until 1 January 1921, when the Reichswehr was officially established according to the limitations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles.
The Reichswehr was an organisation composed of the following, The Reichsheer, an army consisting of, seven infantry divisions. General Command 1 at Berlin supervised 1st Division, 2nd Division, 3rd Division, general Command 2 at Kassel supervised 5,6,7 and 3rd Cavalry divisions. The Reichsmarine, a navy with a number of certain types of ships. The Reichswehr was limited to an army of 100,000 men. The establishment of a staff was prohibited. Heavy weapons such as artillery above the calibre of 105 mm, armoured vehicles and capital ships were forbidden, compliance with these restrictions was monitored until 1927 by the Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control. Despite the limitations on its size, their analysis of the loss of World War I, research and development, secret testing abroad and planning for better times went on. In addition, although forbidden to have a staff, the army continued to conduct the typical functions of a general staff under the disguised name of Truppenamt. During this time, many of the leaders of the Wehrmacht — such as Heinz Guderian — first formulated the ideas that they were to use so effectively a few years later.
Reflecting this position as a “state within the state”, the Reichswehr created the Ministeramt or Office of the Ministerial Affairs in 1928 under Kurt von Schleicher to lobby the politicians. The biggest influence on the development of the Reichswehr was Hans von Seeckt, after the Kapp Putsch, Hans von Seeckt took over this post. After Seeckt was forced to resign in 1926, Wilhelm Heye took the post, Heye was in 1930 succeeded by Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, who submitted his resignation on December 27,1933. The reduction of the strength of the German army from 780,000 in 1913 to 100,000 enhanced the quality of the Reichsheer because only the best were permitted to join the army
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
The Wehrmacht was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946. It consisted of the Heer, the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe, after the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, one of Adolf Hitler’s most overt and audacious moves was to establish the Wehrmacht, a modern armed forces fully capable of offensive use. In December 1941, Hitler designated himself as commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht, the Wehrmacht formed the heart of Germany’s politico-military power. In the early part of World War II, Hitlers generals employed the Wehrmacht through innovative combined arms tactics to devastating effect in what was called a Blitzkrieg, the Wehrmachts new military structure, unique combat techniques, newly developed weapons, and unprecedented speed and brutality crushed their opponents. Closely cooperating with the SS, the German armed forces committed war crimes and atrocities. By the time the war ended in Europe in May 1945, only a few of the Wehrmacht’s upper leadership were tried for war crimes, despite evidence suggesting that more were involved in illegal actions.
The German term Wehrmacht generically describes any nations armed forces, for example, the Frankfurt Constitution of 1848 designated all German military forces as the German Wehrmacht, consisting of the Seemacht and the Landmacht. In 1919, the term Wehrmacht appears in Article 47 of the Weimar Constitution, establishing that, from 1919, Germanys national defense force was known as the Reichswehr, a name that was dropped in favor of Wehrmacht on 21 May 1935. In January 1919, after World War I ended with the signing of the armistice of 11 November 1918, in March 1919, the national assembly passed a law founding a 420, 000-strong preliminary army, the Vorläufige Reichswehr. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were announced in May, the army was limited to one hundred thousand men with an additional fifteen thousand in the navy. The fleet was to consist of at most six battleships, six cruisers, submarines and heavy artillery were forbidden and the air-force was dissolved. A new post-war military, the Reichswehr, was established on 23 March 1921, General conscription was abolished under another mandate of the Versailles treaty.
The Reichswehr was limited to 115,000 men, and thus the armed forces, under the leadership of Hans von Seeckt, though Seeckt retired in 1926, the army that went to war in 1939 was largely his creation. Germany was forbidden to have an air-force by the Versailles treaty and these officers saw the role of an air-force as winning air-superiority and strategic bombing and providing ground support. That the Luftwaffe did not develop a strategic bombing force in the 1930s was not due to a lack of interest, but because of economic limitations. The leadership of the Navy led by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, officers who believed in submarine warfare led by Admiral Karl Dönitz were in a minority before 1939. By 1922, Germany had begun covertly circumventing the conditions of the Versailles Treaty, a secret collaboration with the Soviet Union began after the treaty of Rapallo. Major-General Otto Hasse traveled to Moscow in 1923 to further negotiate the terms, Germany helped the Soviet Union with industrialization and Soviet officers were to be trained in Germany
Adolf Hitler was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As dictator of the German Reich, he initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and was central to the Holocaust, Hitler was born in Austria, part of Austria-Hungary, and raised near Linz. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I and he joined the German Workers Party, the precursor of the NSDAP, in 1919 and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923 he attempted a coup in Munich to seize power, the failed coup resulted in Hitlers imprisonment, during which he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf. Hitler frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy, by 1933, the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, which led to Hitlers appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933.
Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain, Hitler sought Lebensraum for the German people in Eastern Europe. His aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the cause of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland, resulting in British, in June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941 German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe, failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time lover, on 30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two killed themselves to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned. Hitler and the Nazi regime were responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians, in addition,29 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II.
The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in warfare, Hitlers father Alois Hitler Sr. was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. The baptismal register did not show the name of his father, in 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Aloiss mother Maria Anna. Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedlers brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, in 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Aloiss father. Alois assumed the surname Hitler, spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, the Hitler surname is probably based on one who lives in a hut. Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Aloiss mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a Jewish family in Graz, and that the familys 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois. No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, and no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenbergers existence, Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary, close to the border with the German Empire.
He was one of six born to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl
Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany as well as one of its constituent 16 states. With a population of approximately 3.5 million, Berlin is the second most populous city proper, due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the area is composed of forests, gardens, rivers. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world, following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all-Germany. Berlin is a city of culture, media. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations. Berlin serves as a hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The metropolis is a popular tourist destination, significant industries include IT, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology and electronics. Modern Berlin is home to world renowned universities, orchestras and its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions.
The city is known for its festivals, diverse architecture, contemporary arts. Since 2000 Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene, the name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of todays Berlin, and may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. All German place names ending on -ow, -itz and -in, since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city. It is therefore a canting arm, the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century. Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920, the central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document,1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, and profited from the right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod.
In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, in 1415 Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. In 1443 Frederick II Irontooth started the construction of a new palace in the twin city Berlin-Cölln
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
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