Presentation on theme: "World War II: The Western Front Invasion of Ethiopia (1935) to VE Day (1945)"— Presentation transcript:
World War II: The Western Front Invasion of Ethiopia (1935) to VE Day (1945)
Underlying Causes of the War German Nationalism – Resentment about Versailles – Military convinced never beaten, just stabbed in back by politicians in Homeland Effects of the Depression/ Economic Conditions HitlerMein Kampf National Socialism (fascism) – Anticommunism – Antisemitism – Doctrine of racial superiorityArian race
Sliding into War Spanish Civil War (1936) – Spanish Republic; coalition of Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Constitutionalist liberals – Francisco Franco up from Spanish Africa – Guernica – Liberal support International Brigades from US, West, but easily defeated 1936 Olympic Games Brownshirts and Terror Dachau – Gradual removal of nonpeople – Moves against the Jews: Nuremburg Laws
Italy vs Ethiopia:Tanks vs Spears Defeat of Italy in 1896 left Ethiopia the only non-colonized African country Mussolini declared war on Ethiopia in 1935 to avenge the defeat: the League of Nations was too weak to stop him. Though Emperor Haile Selassie appealed to the world, no one aided Ethiopia: Italy bombed the defenseless country and took over in 1936 Consequences: though Europe declared an embargo of Italy (no trade), America, with 50% of the world oil trade, refused, actually increasing trade with Italy.
Hitlers first moves at expansion: Austria Lebensraum: (living space) Hitler justified his territorial takeovers, saying Germans needed room for expansion. 6 million Germans in Austria gave Hitler an excuse for takeover, though Versailles forbid. After forcing the weaker nation to put Nazis in key government positions, after one called for German assistance, Germany overran the country and united the two countries, the Anschluss.
Giving Away Czechoslovakia: Peace in our time Because of the 3 million Germans living in the Sudetenland, Hitler demanded the territory. Europe does not want war: at the Munich conference of Russia, Italy, France and England, they trade the Sudetenland for Hitlers promise, I have no more territorial plans. Chamberlain (Brit PM) goes home with the agreement he calls, Peace in our time.
Kristallnacht: Night of Broken Glass A young Jew, outraged at the treatment of his parents, shot a minor diplomat in the Paris German embassy. This incident gave Hitler an excuse to persecute Jews For two days, mobs in Germany/Austria attacked Jews in the street and in their homes, destroying businesses and burning synagogues. 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. At least 96 were killed.
Czech Mate: Breaking Hitlers Promise to Chamberlain Britain, France and the US ignored Hitlers outrages against Jews and others 6 months after the Munich agreement, Hitler forced the Czech president to surrender or face invasion. Czechoslovakia surrendered with no shots fired.
German/Russian Treaty Secretly made between Stalin and Hitler August 1940 Public: non-agression pact Private – Stalin gained freedom to take over Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, invade Finland, divided Poland with Hitler – Hitler gained supplies of vital materials such as oil, cotton, iron and manganese (until he invaded Russia!) Reaction: shock! Especially from Japan, who had expected to ally with Hitler against Russia. Ironies: Hitler came to power as an anti-communist; Hitler never gave up plans to invade Russia.
German U-Boats, as in WWI, sank Allied shipping, as well as war ships and troop convoys. US convoys of Lend Lease goods, then later troops and equipment, only got through because ships navigated together in packs guarded by destroyers and submarines. War at Sea: U-Boats
Invasion of Poland Part of western Poland was German: Hitler invaded 1 Sept At Allied insistence, Poland did not mobilize: Nazis: Poles 1.8 soldiers: 1 million 2600 tanks: aircraft: 420 Blitzkrieglightening war full strike against a weaker opponent 6 weeks to conquer (with a 20 day bombardment of Warsaw), with the USSR invading in the East Sept. 17
Invasion of Poland: Outcome German loss=much less than Poles: 14,000 men killed, 36,000 wounded; 697 planes, 993 tanks and armored vehicles destroyed. Polish losses: 60,000 men and 25,000 civilians killed; soldiers taken prisoner: 700,000 to Germans, 217,000 to Russians; planes and war vehicles taken by Germans and Russians. 1.5 million Poles transported to Siberian labor camps, officers shot at secret forest sites Polish Jews herded into Ghettos to be starved, later shot or transported and gassed along with Polish gypsies, Soviet POWs. Over 4 million Polish Jews exterminated in the concentration camps. 2,000 camps in Poland Many non-Jewish Poles transported to Germany as slave labor or executed (indiscriminately as retaliation for resistance or underground anti-Nazi activity). Whole villages liquidated (300 destroyed in Poland.)
Scandinavian Countries Fall to Hitler Hitler took over Denmark as a stepping stone to Norway. Denmark, without an army, could not resist the invaders. Though surprised, the Norwegian army of 15,000 held off Hitler long enough to allow the king and his family to escape to London. Germans landed at Narvik unopposed because foreign minister Quisling (head of the Norwegian Nazi party who provided intelligence to Hitler) told the garrison there not to fight. Allied troops retook the town, then withdrew, leaving Norway defenseless. Norway held out from April 9 to June 9.
Other Small Countries Fall Belgium had refused to let Britain and French troops deploy there, remaining neutral. Germany ignored the neutrality, attacking Belgium. Next, attacking from Denmark and Germany, Hitlers forces flattened Dutch cities, taking the country in four days, though the queen escaped to London. Though Hitler took Brussels and Antwerp, main Belgian cities, Belgium resisted for 18 days, then finally had to surrender
Churchill Becomes Prime Minister When Denmark fell, Chamberlain resigned and Churchill lead Britain. He determined that together, France and Britain had to rescue not only Europe, but mankind from the foulest and most soul- destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history. He said the conquered peoples of Europe would face the long night of barbarism…unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall.
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say. It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy Churchill before Parliament, May 13, 1940.
The French are Fried The French scattered the army along the Maginot Line, a line of guns and fortress-like bunkers on the French border facing Germany The French commander split off his main reserves to help defend the Netherlands. The Germans launched their blitzkrieg through the Ardennes Forest, near Belgium. In only 5 days, the road to Paris was already open.
Road to Dunkirk Churchill sent troops to aid the French; the US with lend lease sent armaments and airplanes. The Germans, with a 2:1 advantage in aircraft, continued their advance. Britain and France withdrew to Dunkirk with the Germans following, preparing to trap the Allied troops, capture them and defeat the Allies. Hitler (or his officers, with his sanction) then called a mysterious temporary halt (3 days) to German advances. Possible explanations: – until the infantry could catch up – Suffering heavy tank losses in Belgium with a British counterattack – because the officers, with success against French forces so swift and easy, feared a trap – because tanks bogged down in mud.
Miracle at Dunkirk By the time Hitler resumed, British ships had begun to evacuate Allied forces to England. German Luftwaffe staged constant bombing raids on Dunkirk, but failed to slow or prevent the operation, because of the heroic RAF. Between May 26 and June 4, 1940, nearly 340,000 Allies were evacuated (more than 100,000 French) in more than 800 vessels, from destroyers to fishing boats and yachts from Belgium, France, Holland, Britain – Controversy -- how successful and organized was the evacuation really? stories of officers pushing enlisted men away so they could evacuate first, French not even told til most British were evacuated, French soldiers hating Britain so much they returned to be imprisoned, stealing of supplies from Dunkirk 9 days of bombing: Luftwaffe sank 8 destroyers, lost 176 aircraft while Britain lost 108. One million Allies were killed or taken prisoner at a cost of 60,000 Germans. Obviously, this miracle only deflected the British and French from the colossal defeat.
Finishing off France British intelligence revealed Hitlers immediate plans were to conquer the rest of France. Churchill tried to get France to fight on, but couldnt supply more planes because he felt he would need all the planes he could get to defend Britain General de Gaulle was promoted to undersecretary of war in early June and tried to overcome the defeatist attitude of the military and political leaders. Then Mussolini, with France on the verge of defeat, invaded France; the invasion was a debacle with Italian forces losing 5,000 to French 8 casualties.
Defeat of France French appealed to Roosevelt to declare war against Germany, but Roosevelt refused. The Germans captured Paris, festooning the Arc de Triomphe with a giant Nazi flag. The Maginot line was still intact, but surrounded by Germansonly one section of blockhouses was captured in a German attack. France surrendered in the same train coach where Germans had signed the armistice of In retaliation for Versailles, Hitlers humiliating terms: German rule of N. France, Italian of S, reduction of French army to 100,000, prisoners of war held by Germany, fine of $120 million, far exceeding German reparations payments. Hitler left central France as a collaborationist republic called Vichy, ruled by Marshall Petain. De Gaulle refused to surrender and escaped to London, then set up in Chad, N. Africa, as leader of the Free French.
Battle of Britain June 18,1940: Churchill declared the Battle of Britain would be Britains finest hour. Germany lacked landing craft to transfer troops to England. Hitler sent the Luftwaffe to destroy the RAF, bombing British ports, shipping, airfields, factories, cities for 5 months. Hitlers plan to take Britain, Operation Sea Lion, met with resistance from generals who feared a two-front war (Britain and USSR) like WWI. Hitler decided to bomb Britain into submission.
Battle of Britain Luftwaffe fighters inflicted devastating losses on the RAF, downing 450 planes, (70%) in the first few months. Then the British began inflicting losses on the Germans: in one attack, Germans lost 144 of 1,000 attacking planes, while the RAF lost 18. Shifting from targeting air bases, the Germans began bombing residential areas to break Britains will to fight. In retaliation the RAF bombed Berlin. Though damage was light, the psychological impact was great.
Battle of Britain becomes the Blitz (one story) Hitlers plan: destroy RAF, then eventually invade Britain (or just threaten, then take over the government) Churchill vow: if Germany bombs our civilians, we will bomb Berlin Story of two German fighters who did not release bombs over their military target (in blackout, couldnt find it); released over what they thought was the Channel: it was a suburb of London. Churchill had RAF bomb Berlinmade Hitler furious, so Ordered bombing of London; Hitler vowed to level it. He though it would demoralize England: it didnt.
One ray of light: Enigma
Churchills Response We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in Gods good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
Meanwhile, Back in the USA Roosevelt is reelected, partially with promise not to fight a European war Inaugural speech: 4 Freedoms: speech and expression, worship God in own way, from want, from fear (reduce arms) Because of Hitler/Japanese threat, US rearms, lifting US from Depression as US produces 40% of worlds arms.
Lend Lease: Arms on the Installment Plan 1941: Allies economy broken by war, could not pay US for more arms Roosevelt: Allies dont expect us to fight their wars, but must help out: democracys arsenal Congress passes Lend/Lease: we supply tanks, guns, ships; they give them back after war ends Opponents: like giving back used gum
Afrika Korps: Desert Fox British and Italian troops clashed in Libya, Egypt with some success for Italians in Kenya. Hitler didnt plan to conquer Africa, but Mussolinis success and Frances Vichy government cooperation in Algeria encouraged him. German General Erwin Rommel went to N. Africa (Tripoli) to lead Hitlers forces (Afrika Corps) to victories in Libya on the way to the Suez Canal in Egypt. Rommels skill lead to his nickname: Desert Fox
El Alamein Decisive battle in North Africa between Montgomery (British) and Rommel (German) 150 mi w of Cairo: Allies had to stop Germans from reaching Suez canal where they could stop supplies and men transported from Asia to Europe Defeats in France and Russia, U-Boat destruction of Allies on the Atlantic made Churchill desperate for a victory Montgomery knew Rommels plans and supply lines because German codes broken (Enigma). Cut off supplies: Rommel got only 33%, bombed Rommels forces at attack. Sandstorm let Rommel approach British positions; then RAF continued strafing. Germans= 110,000 men and 500 tanks, some inoperable. Italian tanks could not match new US Shermans, + short of fuel. The Allies = 200,000 men, 1000 tanks, also six-pound artillery guns highly effective up to 1500m. Between armies = Devils Garden, German mine field 5 miles wide, littered with anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, a nightmare for the Allies.
El Alamein (continued) Montgomery : Operation Bertram with dummy tanks, a dummy pipeline to convince Rommel of main Allied attack in the south and that Allies were in no hurry to attack. Montys army in the north also had to disappear with tanks covered to appear as non-threatening lorries. Rommel became convinced that Allies would attack in the south. M. tried to move tanks across minefield, but engineers couldnt clear it fast enough (mines all hooked together)- tanks bogged down, destroyed by German air attacks. Australians attacked from Mediterranean (N), deflecting German forces; allies (then able to attack from South) overwhelmed Germans. Though Hitler ordered him to stand and fight, Rommel withdrew his forces. Germans lost 25,000; Allies 13,000, and Germans did not take the Suez canal: Churchill got the victory he needed to encourage Britain in its fight.
US Joins the Allies: Pearl Harbor Yamamoto plan to cripple the US fleet, only real threat to Japan in the Pacific: carried out by Cmdr Fuchida and Adm Nagumo. Assumption: US would withdraw, Japanese conquest would be complete before US could recover. Success: total surprise, destroying much of Pacific fleet, aircraft; around 2400 US dead Miscalculations: – Left the navys 3 carriers untouched: not in the harbor – Sunday (so very little resistance), so few sailors there to be killed – Left many of oil tanks, repair docks untouched: recovery quick – Harbor shallow: many vessels didnt sink completely, repairable – Public reaction: united vs Japan, no longer war in distant places
Japanese Aggression in the Pacific Simultaneously with Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attack American installations in the Philippines, and other places. After prolonged battles, the Japanese take Guam, the Philippines (resulting in the infamous Bataan Death March), adding these conquests to their gains over British and Dutch Pacific Island holdings. Dominating much of the Pacific, the Japanese work their way to New Guinea, threatening British Australia and New Zealand
Hitler Invades USSR: Barbarossa Hitlers reasons for invading Russia: territory, anti- Communism, large Jewish population, scorn of Slavs Stalin is warned of German plan to attack, doesnt believe, prepare. June 22, 1941 Luftwaffe destroyed ¼ Russian air force; three pronged ground attack across 1000 mile front. Germany took Lithuania, Latvia, rest of Poland, heartland of the Ukraine where surrounded and captured 660,000 Russian troops in the Ukraine (largest mass capture ever) Allies bomb German cities to draw forces away from Russia. German atrocities: slaughter army and civilians, starve besieged cities, executed many. – Einsatzgruppen, execution squads made up of psychopaths and criminals, sent in after army, would round up all Jews, local leaders, religious, those who might cause trouble for occupying forces and execute them, often in town squares or next to mass graves they forced their victims to dig
Germany vs Russia (continued) Germans prepared to take Leningrad and Kiev; BUT 3 months of fighting =86,000 lost German soldiers; supply lines stretched to point nothing much getting through; railroads didnt help because Russian gauge wider than Germans, so for German trains to travel in Russ, had to replace track first; scorched earth policy denying Germans supplies from captured Russian lands. Tried to capture Caucasus oil fields; USSR army stopped them. Decided to attack Moscow, but General Winter came to the rescue: 60 below zero weather: sentries froze to death, had to light fires under tanks to warm engines to operate; 100,000 cases of frostbite (2,000 amputations), guns jammed after a few shots, flesh stuck to steel Russ General Zhukov saved Moscow, counterattacking Germans with fresh army of troops (1 million) back from fighting Japan in E: disciplined and skilled survivors
Maximum Axis Control (Sept 1942)
Leningrad Hell on earth Worst bombardment of the war trapped 3 million people; 16,000 miles of trenches surrounding to defend city dug by aged, women Hitler ordered city leveled, population shot, starved, driven out Besieged and starved, ½ citizens of the city died; only way for supplies to get in--100 miles of lake Held out 900 days: much of the city destroyed Hitlers troops defeated by winter, lack of supplies 30 Soviet divisions trapped in Leningrad, but reprieved when Hitler pulled out troops for fight vs Moscow
Stalingrad: Turning Point By 1942, 2.8 million of the 3.9 million Russian POWs were dead from execution, horrible conditionsGermans left POWs to starve, freeze to death with no supplieshardened resistance of Russians. (Of course, Russians who took POWs treated them in much the same way, transporting many into the Russian heartland or Siberia to work them to death, starve them, or just execute them immediately.) Summer German offensive against Stalingrad; bombing by Wehrmacht destroyed much of city and killed over 40% of inhabitants: by Nov. German forces encircled the city, cutting off most food and water; bombing and attacking hand to hand, building to building gained 90% of city, so German press ready to announce city fallen to them Surprise winter offensive by Genera Zhukov: Russians surrounded the Axis forces, now trapped around the outskirts of a city without food, supplies.
Russian troops + Winter = German Defeat
General Winter again helps defeat Russias enemy (Charles XII, Napoleon)
Hitler would not allow his commander, Paulus, to break out and escape the circle; assured by air force they could fly in supplies, but airfields had been destroyed, and Zhukov had too much control: Sent elite SS troops to rescue, but didnt want to risk casualties to break through Russ perimeter forces, told Paulus to break through from city, but troops weakened, no ammo or supplies, so SS left. HAD to surrender (first time a German field marshall had ever surrenderedHitler expected him to commit suicide); much of the army captured TURNING POINT: public humiliation; myth of German invincibility shattered,; Germans lost 150,000; 90,000 captured; 30,000 wounded. Hitler blamed incompetent generals.
Tehran Conference Roosevelt desperate to secure Russian cooperation against Japan, so met at Tehran Gave concessions to Stalin: border with Poland, favor to Yugoslavian insurgents, invasion of France Roosevelt wanted to argue from position of strength, but bad health.
Operation Torch: Hitlers defeat in North Africa Churchill convinced America: fight European war first, then concentrate on Japanese/Pacific war British plan over American objections: take North Africa, then invade Italy through Sicily. Fighting back and forth between Rommel and Montgomery (Monty) Americans fought badly at first and suffered 2,000 casualties; change of command to Patton and Bradley helped, but Montgomery never trusted American command again. Allies swept through Libya dn linked with American and British troops in Tunisia. Axis troops tried to evacuate from the tip of Tunisia, but only 800 (including Rommel) escaped
Allied Campaign in Italy Invasion of Sicily by Allied troops was successful. Allied troops moved up the Italian boot. Defeated Italians, wanted to surrender. Hitler moved Germans into Italy stopping Allies 100 miles south of Rome. January 1944: Allies landed American troops at Anzio 30 miles south of Rome. They successfully surprised the Germans, (landed 36,000 troops at a loss of 13) but had to wait for artillery, tanks, so couldnt follow up. Fierce fighting drove them to the beach, but they held on until Allied troops broke through from the South, 6 months later
Monte Cassino Allies pressing toward Rome had to pass through the town of Cassino, overlooked by a Benedictine monastery. The Allies bombed heavily then attacked 3 times Jan-March, 1944, each time fought off by Germans. In May, bombing by 3,000 planes plus a week of heavy fighting captured the monastery, allowing the troops to break through and relieve the troops at Anzio. Some information suggests the monastery didnt need bombing: that the Allies killed only civilians hiding there with the bombing, that no German troops were there until AFTER the bombing in the ruins..
Polish soldiers climbing the Mount to take the Abbey.
D Day Preliminaries Well planned: Eisenhower in charge over Free French, British, Canadians, Americans, others. Decoys and plants deceived Germans as to where the landing would occur. The assault was conducted in two phases: – an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, American, Free French, Canadian paratroopers shortly after midnight, and – an landing of Allied infantry and armored divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6:30 AM 5 Beach invasion – 2 British --Sword, Gold – 1 Canadian (+British) Juno – 2 American –Omaha, Utah
D-Day/Normandy Invasion/Operation Overlord 9 battleships, 23 cruisers, 104 destroyers, and 71 large landing craft of various descriptions as well as troop transports, mine sweepers, and merchantmen in all, nearly 5,000 ships of every type, the largest armada ever assembled. The naval bombardment began at 0550 that morning detonating minefields along the shoreline and destroying enemy defensive positions. In the hours following the bombardment, more than 100,000 fighting men swept ashore US, British and Canadian forces
To one correspondent, reporting from the deck of the cruiser HMS Hillary, it sounded like "the rhythmic beating of a gigantic drum" all along the coast. a "mighty endeavor," President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it to the American people, "to preserve … our civilization and to set free a suffering humanity."
After D Day From Normandy, Allied Forces slogged through France, pushing the Germans in front of them, as Russia worked her way from the East toward Germany: Highlights – Pattons amazing march of his army through France from Normandy bypassing Paris to Germany – The free French army was allowed to liberate Paris.
Vistula/Oder Offensive: Russia Russian victories on E front (Poland) through last half of 1944 pushed German forces back into Germany. Mid 1944 Germans lost one million soldiers, running out of oil and supplies; poorly armed and equipped. Hitlers first priority still eradicating Jews. – (During Warsaw ghetto uprising, Russian forces not far away, but remained inactive.) – As Russian forces under Zhukov advanced across Poland, Germany forced marches emptied the death camps. – Used railroads to ship Jews to death camps as the German armies were fighting Russians and needed transport and supplies. By end of January 1945, Russians 60k from Berlin at Oder R, but at loss of 150,000 killed, almost 70,000 captured by Germans.
Yalta Conference Feb meeting of Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt So. Ukraine on Black Sea because Stalin reluctant Overall strategy for defeat of Germany/ Japan and post war Divide Berlin into 3 zones: ended up 4 (French carved from British/US) UN: Russia wanted a seat on the Assembly for each of 16 republicsgot 3 Division of Europe: Russia already there
Battle of the Bulge Allies surprised, thought Hitlers forces were through (underground factories; more men than Allies knew) Dec 16, 1945-Jan 28, German divisions vs 16 Allied; N. France/ Belgium Germans pushed Allied front 50 miles, surrounding units and taking many prisoners Costly: 81,000 US Casualties (1900 dead) 1400 British (200 dead) 100,000 German dead
Battle of Berlin One of bloodiest battles in history Berlin = German captital; Hitler there, along with center of German atomic research. Germans 45,000 troops defending Berlin, but included Volkssturm (over 60 year olds) and Hitler Youth; regular troops on their way from W front – Americans stopped at Elbe – Ike let Soviets take Berlin: wouldnt waste men on area to be under USSR influence after war as agreed; afraid of mutual deaths if both forces in at once) – Allies bombed the capital before Soviets arrivedUS several large daytime raids; RAF 36 consecutive nights Russians under Zhukov surrounded the city before German regulars arrived; – bombed the city center (more bombing than all Allied) – Cut off supplies and German armies from city.
Fierce fighting, especially around Reichstag. – Hitler ordered armies to surround and engage Soviets outside city, but armies had neither troops nor armaments to do it. Russians took Berlin. – Russians held south and east of Germany; allies North and West; – Most of transport destroyed, one million homeless in Berlin, alone; starvation and disease major problems. – Though Russia tried to feed Germans under their control, killed or captured all in uniform and many atrocities of rape and pillage.
Hitler Escaped Berlin, BUT As Allied troops approached Hitlers hideway bunker at Berchtesgaden in 1945, Hitler – Married his mistress Eva Braun – Committed suicide, taking poison and shooting himself in the mouth with a pistol (Eva also committed suicide then). Still obsessed with destroying the Jews, his last act was to write a proclamation urging merciless opposition to the universal poisoner of all peoples, international Jewry.
Aftermath: Victory, but The Allies fought from the west through Germany as the Russians rushed through Eastern Europe and the eastern portion of Germany Both forces met at Berlin, partitioning the city as agreed after the Battle of Berlin. After the victory, the Allies learned of the horrors of the Nazi war
The Final Solution As Germany conquered E. Europe and Russia (Ukraine, particularly), einsatzgruppen, patrols of armed thugs, beat and executed hundreds of Jews and Slav untermenschen: government leaders, teachers, doctors and other elite of these countries. Survivors were shipped to Germany to work as slave labor and live in deliberately humiliating conditions in concentration camps where many died of disease and starvation. The destruction, of the Jews, particularly, wasnt fast enough. Already established concentration camps in Poland and Germany were equipped as killing factories with large showers where Jews were gassed in great numbers, crematoria for obliterating bodies. Even after Germany was defeated, the trains from occupied lands were given priority to get them to the camps to try to complete the genocide before Allies arrived to stop it. Total killed; 6 million Jews, 6 million mentally and physically handicapped, religious leaders and other Nazi opponents, gypsies, homosexuals, others.
Holocaust: 12 Million Murders
The door of a gas chamber at Birkenau. The sign on the door say "Lebensgefhar" - danger of death
Arbeit Macht Frei Labor makes you free
K.L. Auschwitz: prisoner n° Her name and the date of the photo are unknown.
Mass graves gave witness of the work of the Einsatzgruppen.
Nuremberg Trials Photograph of the defendent's box at the Nurember Trial. Göring and Hess are in the front row, extreme left. Photo from the National Archives
Defendants, tried for their war crimes, all declared, We were only following orders.
Robert, who was once very social, funny, and often described as the 'life of the party', had changed. He no longer wanted to participate in social gatherings or celebrate, and never explained his distant feelings to anyone, not even his own children. He rarely shared any of his stories about the march across Europe from , however; near the end of his life he took the time to share his scrapbook from World War II. He often said, '' I want you to see these pictures and be reminded of what we fought for in the hope that something this terrible will never happen again ". Forgotten Consequences: Changed Lives