The Austrian Anschluss Anschluss: unification of Austria and Germany Hitler’s first demand concerned Austria Hitler called for the unification of all German speaking peoples Hitler sent troops into Austria in March and announced the unification of Austria and Germany.
The Munich Crisis and Appeasement Hitler next claimed the Sudetenland. An area of Czechoslovakia with a large German-speaking population There were major differences between Austria and Czechoslovakia Austrians shared a common culture with Germany; Czechoslovakia had several different language speakers. Austria had an authoritarian government; Czechoslovakia had a democratic government. Austria had no allies for defense; Czechoslovakia was allied with France and the Soviet Union
The Munich Crisis and Appeasement The Czechs strongly resisted. France threatened to fight if Germany attacked The USSR also promised assistance England promised to support their ally, France Representatives of Britain, France, Italy, and Germany agreed to meet in Munich. At the Munich Conference on September 29, 1938, Britain and France agreed to Hitler’s demands, a policy that came to be known as appeasement. Czechoslovakia was informed that it must give up the Sudetenland or fight Germany on its own. A year later Germany ruled all of Czechoslovakia.
Danzig and the Polish Corridor Hitler next demanded that Poland give up Danzig: Danzig was a Baltic Sea port with 90% German speaking peoples which had been taken from Germany after WWI to give Poland a sea port. Hitler also demanded a highway and railroad corridor across Poland from Berlin (the German capital) to East Prussia: East Prussia was a part of Germany separated by Poland France and Great Britain now knew that appeasement had failed France and Great Britain announced that if Germany went to war with Poland; they would come to its aid. Hitler seeks an alliance with Stalin (USSR) so as not to have to fight the USSR also.
The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact Stalin (USSR) had been trying to make some sort of agreement with Britain and France in case Germany attacked them. Britain and France refused to sign an agreement with the USSR because of their lack of democratic values On August 23, 1939, Germany and the USSR signed the nonaggression pact. A secret agreement was made to invade Poland and divide it between Germany and the Soviets.
World War II Begins September 1, 1939 Germany invades Poland September 3, 1939 Britain and France declare war on Germany
Blitzkrieg in Poland Blitzkrieg Translated from German means “lightning warfare”. Used large numbers of mass tanks to break through and rapidly encircle enemy positions supported by aircraft bombing enemy positions and dropping paratroopers behind enemy lines to cut off supplies. Depended heavily on radios to coordinate the tanks and aircraft By September 27 th, Germany had captured the Polish capital of Warsaw.
The Fall of France Compared to Poland, the fighting in France was called “sitzkrieg” by Germans and the “Bore War” by the British. Both sides sat around and waited for the other to attack After WWI France built up a strong fortification made up of concrete and underground bunkers called the “Maginot Line” along the German border. Instead of risking an attack through the Maginot Line, the Germans sent their tanks through the Ardennes Mountains where the French believed that large numbers of tanks could not travel through.
Miracle at Dunkirk After trapping the Allied forces in Belgium, the Germans began to drive them toward the English Channel. The only hope for British and French troops was to evacuate by sea Dunkirk was the only port the Germans had not captured Hitler stopped his troop advancement so that the Luftwaffe (German air force) could attack This gave British and French troops time to evacuate 338,000 troops, but left behind 90,000 rifles, 7,000 tons of ammunition, and 120,000 vehicles June 22, 1940 France surrenders to Germany
The Battle of Britain In June of 1940, the Luftwaffe began to attack British shipping in the English Channel. In August of 1940 the Luftwaffe launched an all out attack on the British Royal Air Force. The Luftwaffe then targeted civilians in London. The British had developed a new system to detect when, where, and how many Luftwaffe planes were attacking. (Radar) This allowed the small Royal Air Force to fend off the large Luftwaffe and save Britain from a land invasion.
Essay Question Describe the “Miracle at Dunkirk” and Hitler’s surprising order that helped make it possible.
Essay Question Describe the “Miracle at Dunkirk” and Hitler’s surprising order that helped make it possible. After trapping the British and French forces in Belgium, the Germans began to drive them toward the English Channel. The Germans had captured nearly all of the ports except the ones at Dunkirk in northern France. As German forces closed in on Dunkirk, Hitler suddenly ordered them to stop. No one is sure why, Historians know he was nervous about risking his tanks forces, and he wanted to wait until more infantry arrived. Perhaps Hitler thought that aircraft alone could destroy the soldiers trapped near Dunkirk. There is also some evidence that Hitler thought that the British would be more willing to accept peace if the Germans did not humiliate them by destroying their forces at Dunkirk. In any case, his order provided a three-day delay. In that time, the British sent 850 ships of all sizes, some as small a sailboat operated by civilian volunteers. They were able to save an estimated 338,000 British and French soldiers, a feat referred to as “Miracle of Dunkirk.”