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Lecture 8: War, 1939-1943 9 April 2013 HIST2134 The Third Reich through Documents, 1933-1945.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture 8: War, 1939-1943 9 April 2013 HIST2134 The Third Reich through Documents, 1933-1945."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture 8: War, 1939-1943 9 April 2013 HIST2134 The Third Reich through Documents, 1933-1945

2 Foreign policy 4-phase-model Revisionist and high-risk foreign politics, 1933-36 Expansionist foreign politics, 1938/39 Blitz Wars and ideological warfare, 1939-42 Total War and downfall, 1943-45

3 Hitler-Stalin Pact Unsuccessful G negotiations with GB + PL ↓ Complete tactical change of Hitler’s position ↓ → German-Soviet non-aggression treaty, with secret additional protocol (23 Aug 1939) Shock for Western powers + German public Secret additional protocol of Pact: ‘spheres of interest’: Western PL + Lithuania for G; Eastern PL + Baltic for SU = Most important prerequisite for G + SU parallel operation vs. Poland

4 Poland Rising tensions, 1938/39: G proposal of new basic border treaty: Gdansk (Danzig) + ‘Polish corridor’ PL rejection → ‘Hitler-Stalin Pact’ incl. secret additional protocol: plan for division of PL GB + I diplomacy to stop G fail → Faked SS attack disguised as PL soldiers on G → Wehrmacht attack on Poland, 1 Sep 1939

5 ‘Blitzkrieg’ on Poland G campaign in PL: 1-28 Sep 39 = Begin of World War II GB + F: declaration-of-war on G, 3 Sep 39 SU: Invasion of PL from East, 17 Sep 39 = PL military defeat + division:  Western PL → Annexation by G + creation of ‘Government General for the Occupied Polish Territories’  Eastern PL + Baltic states + Lithuania → Annexation by SU

6 Northern + Western Blitz Wars Apr – Jun 1940 GB plan for preventive occupation of Norway to safeguard Swedish ore G Blitz wars on Denmark + Norway: Violation of neutrality & occupation for strategic-economic reasons (9 Apr 1940-) G Blitz Wars on Netherlands + Belgium (10 May 1940-) : Preparatory military steps for war on France

7 Blitz War on France 5 – 22 Jun 1940 G’s military occupation of Northern France Creation of satellite Vichy state in Southern France under French general Pétain Consequences of victory for Hitler’s mind:  General reputation in G as ‘genius war hero’  His own conviction of infallibility  Less attentive to counseling by Wehrmacht

8 Battle of Britain Aug 1940 – spring 1941 Major air raids by Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Heavy destruction of some English cities (e.g. Coventry) High number of GB military + civilian casualties But: No Luftwaffe air superiority vs. Royal Air Force = Suspension of German invasion plans for Britain = Hitler’s first defeat → decision to turn against SU

9 Blitz War in Southeastern Europe Apr – May 1941 Preparatory steps for war on SU: Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia = G’s alliance partners Campaigns & occupation of Yugoslavia + Greece  Southeastern Europe under G control  But: Fatal retardation of war on SU → Earliest war begin only in late Jun 1941

10 War on Soviet Union Phase 1: 22 Jun – Dec 1941 ‘Operation Barbarossa’: Initial success of ‘Blitz War’ but slowing-down of attack by autumn-winter weather (‘General Winter’) Poor winter equipment & preparation of Wehrmacht Underestimation of SU military power = Failure of campaign against Moscow = Hitler’s fatal decision to take over supreme command of Wehrmacht

11 War on Soviet Union Phase 2: Dec 1941 – Summer 1942 Initial welcome of G troops as ‘liberators’ by Soviet people (esp. Ukrainians) Inhuman SS occupation policies → general shift in mood Inhuman warfare against ‘Jewish-Bolshevist sub-races’ by Wehrmacht + SS → stronger resistance of SU troops ► Stalin’s major success to call up SU people to ‘Great National War’ ↓ ► SU regular army & partisan warfare vs. Wehrmacht & SS

12 War on Soviet Union Phase 3: Summer 1942 – Feb 1943 G major attack on south-eastern front: Stalingrad as important strategic goal Oilfields of Baku (Caucasus) as important energy source Hitler’s rejection of outbreak for encircled 6 th Army → Battle of Stalingrad: Capitulation + fatal loss of Army: 146.000 Germans † - 90.000 POW, only 6.000 survivors after 1945 = Major turning point of World War II

13 War on USA (11 Dec 1941-) Japan’s air attack on US fleet in Pearl Harbour: G’s declaration-of-war on US: Not required by Anti- Comintern Pact of 1936 → Hitler’s decision based on unrealistic assessment of US military power: Almost complete lack of knowledge + fatal underestimation of USA J’s refusal to join from east G’s war on SU (‘Gap in the alliance’) ► Begin of major US + GB + SU war alliance: ↓ ‘Germany first’ principle = Hitler’s defeat the major priority

14 World Rule? Hitler’s ideas Until 1939: vague prophecies about ‘world-wide struggle’ 1939-42: Some proofs for strategic global thinking → Interested in alliance with GB but not USA 1943 -: Utopian visions in face of defeat = Hitler obviously without concrete ‘world rule program’ = Hitler’s opportunistic expansion ‘without aims’

15 Lebensraum and World Rule Interpretations in historiography Hitler’s intention to conquer ‘living space’ (Lebensraum) in Eastern Europe = Clear strategic aims Hitler’s program to gain word rule step-by-step, even after his own death = Only vague & visionary plans

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