Presentation on theme: "World War II: Blitzkrieg and Initial Days of Fighting"— Presentation transcript:
1 World War II: Blitzkrieg and Initial Days of Fighting
2 Steps to War-PolandHitler demanded Poland’s port city of Danzig but the Poles wouldn’t give in.Hitler was ready to fight, but concerned about USSR, so…
3 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (1939) Agreement between Germany & USSR; agreed not to attack one another for 10 years.In a secret provision the two nations divided Poland in half:One week later Germany invaded PolandBritain and France had vowed that if Poland was attacked they would go to war.WORLD WAR TWO BEGINS
4 WWII Themes Technology-from the Blitz to A-bomb & in between Diplomacy-Allies cooperate“Total War”-civilian casualties
5 Poland Faces A Blitzkrieg (September 1, 1939) Blitzkrieg- “Lightening Warfare”New Technologies = SuccessAir attacks combined with rapid troop movementPoland fell within one monthGerman air force targeted railroads
6 French and German Plans for the Battle of France 1940 French anticipated the Germans attacking through the north as they did in World War I so they developed the Dye Plan to counter such an attackBuilt the Maginot Line in the south to protect the border (recalling the trench warfare of WWI)
7 Maginot LineA line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defenses which France constructed along her borders with Germany and ItalyThe fortifications did not extend through the Ardennes Forest which was considered “impassable”
8 Surprise in the Ardennes On May 12, Germany attacked through the weakly held Ardennes regionPenetrated Allied defenses and then began to envelop them
9 PenetrationWith Hoth’s and Guderian’s successes, the Germans had a 40 mile breakthrough from Dinant to SedanPushed through seven armored divisions toward the English Channel
15 Moving in for the KillGerman forces pressed the Allied armies trapped in the north, from south and east, into the English Channel.Meanwhile, German infantry divisions reinforced the southern flank of the German penetration.But….Dunkirk Harbor ablaze from German bombing
16 Halt Order Hitler halted the German armor German armor had suffered heavy losses and would be needed to conquer the rest of FranceLuftwaffe called upon to finish the jobLuftwaffe unable to destroy the British and FrenchBases in western Germany were further away from Dunkirk than British planes were from their bases on the British Isles340,000 Allied troops were evacuated
17 Italy Joins the AxisOn June 10, 1940, Mussolini declared war on Britain and France and four months later invaded GreeceMussolini will end up being a troublesome ally for Hitler
18 French Surrender and Vichy France On June 16, the French asked for an armisticeIn July, France was divided into two sectionsOne was ruled directly by the GermansThe other was led by the Vichy government that collaborated with German plans including the plunder of French resources and the forceful deportations of tens of thousands of French Jews to concentration camps across Europe
19 Auftragstaktik German interwar doctrine emphasized: decentralized, mission-oriented orders (Auftragstaktik)speed and exploitation of enemy weaknesses maximized by troop commanders taking the initiative (understand commander’s intent)close integration and cooperation between combat branches (mobile warfare required armor, infantry, and artillery)leadership from the front
20 Battle of Britain The Germans developed two plans to take Britain Operation Sea Lion, an amphibious landing on the British coastA great air offensive to gain air superiority and destroy the British industrial base“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” (Winston Churchill)
21 Hitler’s Attack on Britain Hitler made an offer of peaceWhen Britain refused, Hitler planned to subdue Britain. He cannot allow an anti-Nazi Britain…(why not?)
22 The Advantage of Being An Island with Superior Naval Power Churchill talks about the incredible advantage of superior sea power- very hard to invade.Enemy might be able to sneak across, but even then, how can it defend its supply lines?Necessities of perfect weather for a good invasion… high tide, half moon, clear weather… the problem is that the enemy can calculate these dates as well… can be prepared…For this reason, he argues that Britain has always been safe… even more so in WWI when steam power took away the ability of the aggressor to wait for favorable winds to help them but drive the defender away.However, there was a new intangible in WWII… air power.
23 Basic German Invasion Plan… Operation Sea Lion Construct a Naval corridorcordon off the shortest straight line between France and Britainline it with minefields and subs, and ferry the German army across…Churchill claims that Britain could have torn this minefield up, destroyed the subs, and crushed this invasionhe also says that this was the most heavily fortified section of the British coast…
24 The OddsChurchill estimated that at the beginning of the Battle of Britain the Luftwaffe forces outnumbered the RAF 3-1, but there was considerable home field advantage for the BritishPartly this is because of fuel… Luftwaffe only had about 10 minutes of fighting time over England before having to head back to refuel.Also, Enigma (bigger story here) and radarChurchill describes the need to defend a long coastline in Britain meant to set up forces on the perimeter that would stall the enemy and then the largest possible reserve for quick counterattack… (what he accused the French of not doing in the Battle of France… )
25 RAF PlanesHurricane… first RAF plane with a top speed of over 300 mph…8 machine guns in the wings… (gets rid of synchronizing gear)1,715 Hurricanes flew with Fighter Command during the period of the BattleIt is estimated that its pilots were credited with four-fifths of all enemy aircraft destroyed in the period July-October 1940.
28 Spitfire“The Spitfire has always attracted more attention than the Hurricane, and is undoubtedly one of the most famous aircraft ever built. Its graceful lines combined with outstanding handling qualities to produce a "dream plane" extremely fast, and in comparison to contemporary types was second to none.”8 machine guns in wings
30 Luftwaffe Messerchmitt 109 2 machine guns in the nose and two in the wingsThe various strengths and shortcomings of the Messerschmitt, the Hurricane, and the Spitfire largely cancelled out in combat.
31 Stuka Dive BomberWon great success in battles of Poland and France, but in the Battle of Britain proved to be almost helpless without fighter cover
33 Churchill’s GambleAir battles between the Luftwaffe and the RAF occurred through the late summer and fall (1940)Operation Sea Lion would have to be launched by late September or it would have to wait through the winter…would the RAF hold outRAF started to crack because of damage to its fighter command….I’ve read one historian who claims England came within one week of permanently losing the air warChurchill, in desperation, bated the Germans by bombing BerlinHitler had promised never to bomb London if German cities were not bombedGoering (head of Luftwaffe) had promised that German cities would never be bombed
34 The London Blitz The bombing of Berlin caused a change in tactics The Germans altered their focus from an attack on British air power to an attack on England’s civilian populationtried to bomb the Brits into submission through terror bombing of London ..London was bombed after this for 57 consecutive nights…Problem of underground shelters during incendiary bombings?Solution? – To the roof!
35 Thus, the Battle of Britain had two phases The attack on the RAFAndThe attack on London, known as the London Blitz
36 The Bombing of London were a ‘Relief’ to Churchill “London can take it.”RAF is being reconstitutedBy October, Hitler gave up on the bombing of BritainToo late to launch Sea LionInstead, Hitler decided to deal with England via the War in the Atlantic (Wolf Packs)Starve the British out
38 “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
39 Japans Entry Into the War Japan Bombs Pearl Harbour in Hawaii183 planes bomb . Causes widespread damage.Japan continues Pacific Advances. Very few forces in southeast Asia able to resist. Mao Zedong is fighting against Japan in China.
41 The Eastern FrontHitler had strategic and ideological reasons for invading RussiaStrategically he knew that the Soviet Union and the US were critical to Britain’s willingness to keep fightingHe also felt he needed the agricultural and raw material resources of Eastern RussiaIdeologically he viewed the Soviet Union as an amalgamation of his greatest enemies, the Jews and the Slavs
42 Operation BarbarossaHitler based his plan on the assumption he could destroy the Soviet Union within one yearCritical to his success would be to catch and destroy the Soviet Army at the border areasIf that did not occur, the Russians could use their vast territory to trade space for time and cause the Germans huge logistical problems
43 Operation BarbarossaOn June 22, 1941, Hitler invaded Russia in Operation BarbarossaThe operation encompassed a total troop strength of about 4 million men, making it the biggest single land operation everBenefiting from initial surprise, by the end of July Hitler had occupied a portion of Russia twice the size of France
44 Operation Barbarossa: Battle of Moscow With the Germans’ successes in the north and south, Hitler assumed that Stalin’s regime was on the verge of collapseHe authorized an advance on Moscow before the onset of winterAlready however the Germans were suffering from serious supply shortagesBy September the supply system was only meeting current tactical consumption needsNo supply stores for the winter season were being built
45 Operation Barbarossa: Battle of Moscow The Germans caught the Russians unprepared and made great advancesThe Soviet Army seemed on the verge of collapseAt this point the weather broke and autumn rains turned the roads to mudThe German advance stalled, allowing the Russians to hurry reinforcements from the interior
46 Operation Barbarossa: Battle of Moscow Despite dropping temperatures and critical supply shortages, the German high command pressed on with the attackThe German soldiers were still in summer uniforms and suffered terriblyGerman soldier during the battle of Moscow
47 Operation Barbarossa: Battle of Moscow Stalin responded to the crisis by rushing his best commander, Georgi Zhukov, to defend MoscowZhukov waged a delaying defense in front of Moscow; the first time the Soviets took advantage of their ability to trade space for timeIn the meantime he pulled reinforcements from as far away as Siberia to defend MoscowZhukov’s plan was to allow the Germans to exhaust themselves and then go on the offensive
48 Operation Barbarossa: Battle of Moscow By Dec 4 the Germans had clawed their way to Moscow’s outskirts, but they could not continueThat night temperatures were -25 degrees FahrenheitOne infantry regiment suffered 300 frostbite casualtiesOn Dec 6 the Soviets counterattacked
49 Strategic SituationOn Dec 7, 1941, Japan attacked the US at Pearl HarborIn spite of his troubles in Russia, Hitler decided to support Japan and also declare war on the USNow the US would join with Britain to adopt a “Europe First” strategy that would destroy Hitler
50 Operation Barbarossa : Battle of Moscow As the Russians pushed forward, Hitler refused to allow a retreat and relieved or court-martialed generals who did soHitler named himself commander-in-chief of the armyEach military service began to operate increasingly independently and Germany suffered from a lack of an overall strategy
51 Operation Barbarossa : Battle of Moscow On the Eastern Front the Germans’ stiff resistance and control of crucial roads and supply centers slowly took the punch out of the Russian counterattackThe German Army survived but it suffered losses from which it never recoveredBoth sides licked their wounds and prepared for renewed operations in the spring
52 StalingradAs spring 1942 approached, German commanders recommended remaining on the defensive but Hitler believed the Germans must destroy Soviet military potential before the American industrial power could come into playHitler developed a plan to capture Soviet oilAt first Hitler considered Stalingrad of little importance other than the fact that its capture might block the movement of petroleum up the Volga River
54 Stalingrad On June 28 the Germans launched their summer offensive The Germans made good headway with one advance moving east toward Stalingrad and the Volga River and another moving south into the CaucasusIn August Hitler’s erratic attention swung from the Caucasus to Stalingrad
55 StalingradOn Aug 24 the Germans attacked Stalingrad’s suburbs and began fighting their way into the cityHitler began shifting forces from the Caucasus to StalingradThe nature of the urban fighting favored the defenders and the Soviets mounted a stubborn defenseStalingrad began to drain the German army but Hitler would not back off
59 StalingradOn Nov 19 the Soviets launched a massive counterattack north of StalingradHitler’s overly centralized and completely out-of-touch command system broke down in the face of the Soviet onslaughtThe Soviets encircled Stalingrad and Hitler ordered his commanders to stand fast anywayBy this point in the war, no one was willing to confront Hitler
60 StalingradAll attempts to breakout or break through failed and on Feb 2 the Germans surrenderedOut of 250,000 soldiers trapped in the Stalingrad pocket, approximately 90,000 became prisonersBarely 5,000 survived the warGerman POWs
62 The Eastern FrontUltimately enormous logistical shortcomings made Barbarossa a failureGermany proved capable of fighting battles very well, but was less capable of fighting a war of prolonged durationIn the total four years of fighting on the Eastern Front, an estimated 4 million Axis and 9 million Russians were killed in battle20 million Soviet civilians were killed as a result of extermination campaigns against Jews, communists and partisans, casual massacres, reprisal killings, diseases, and (sometimes planned) starvation.
63 D- Day Invasion of continental Europe from England Involved the United States, Britain, Canada, and alliesCanada got its own beach, Juno Beach
71 Yalta, February 1945 Re-ordering of the map of Europe To put an end to German militarism and NazismTo punish war criminals and to exact reparationsTo divide Germany into occupation zonesConfirmed Soviet possession of Eastern Poland compensating Poland with German territoryTo assist countries under Allied occupation in forming democratically elected interim governments.Announced a “conference of United Nations” to be held in San Francisco in April 1945
72 Atomic Bomb United States had won decisive battles in the Pacific. Did not want to enter in conventional war with Japan, would have resulted in too many deathsDecided to use their recently developed atomic bomb. Bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered effectively ending world war two.Immediate death of people
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