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Lecture 2

388 - Week 5 – Lecture 2 - Genocide .docx

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HIST 388
Peter Hoffmann

Week 5 – Lecture 2 History 388 – the Second World War Genocide Hilberg, Nicosia, Browning, Longerich, Breitman, Babi Yar, Kovno, Panevezys, Rokiskis, Kaisiadoris, Chelmno, Belzec, Treblinka,Auschwitz, Majdanek 14 August 1941 = theAtlantic Charter published, consisted of 8 points - 7 of them were similar to the main points of Wilson’s 14 Points of WW1 th - 8 point = echoing what Chamberlain had said in 1939 and Churchill said in 1939  essentially meaning total victory was the war aim of Britain andAmerica , even though America wasn’t even in the war yet o though Roosevelt had spoke of making war, he also did not speak of declaring it  if the Germans did not like it, then they could attackAmerican forces o Point 8 = signalled that theAllies would not stop short of total victory and that aggressor nations would be disarmed; Allies exempted (implicit within the wording)  As a matter of practical policy – not justice: could not propose to disarm the Soviet Union because she was an ally and it would too much of a big job o Announcement of the war aim of unconditional surrender in 1943, what was new was the venue, Casablanca, at a time when Germany was on the ropes because of the Battle of Stalingrad which was clearly a decisive moment in the war  Army of 250,000 was sacrificed in Stalingrad: at the time when Germany was being defeated, the announcement of unconditional surrender as a war aim, could only strengthen the resolve of the German leadership, army and population to fight on  who would want to surrender unconditionally, especially to the Soviets?! • The idea of being occupied by the USSR was intolerable • Gave material to the Propaganda Minister to whip up the resolve of the Germans to resist and to continue fighting o They were not in a hopeless position at the time – war continued for 2 more years – proving the German ability to resist and to mount a credible defence alongside offensive operations sporadically Eastern Front = German leaders’optimism in July and August 1941 but mid-August the HC noted bad roads, breakdown of vehicles, dust and sand in moving parts and the T-34 (Russian 42 tonne tank, virtually invulnerable to German anti-tank weapons exc. the 100mm cannon) - ALSO armaments production fell 60% short of needs and losses: it was planned to replace 50% of armoured vehicles since the campaign would be over by the end of the year o Reduction of armour forced reduction of Panzer regiments of 2 battalions each with 2 light and 1 heavy company for each  Fewer than the standard compliment of tanks – usually 120 per division – whilst all armaments production was planned for the end of the campaign whilst no replacements would be available for 1942 - theArmy was strung out over a wide front of about 2000km that had no depth whilst it was not coherent – had large gaps – and the distance from berlin to Moscow was 1,500km o German forces had outrun their supply lines whilst the length of supply lines made them vulnerable  There were large pockets that were simply unoccupied and the instructions that Stalin had given was to attack wherever and however they could = guerrilla warfare as well as sabotage and resistance tactics • Made the supply lines very vulnerable - Soon there were only points of concentration with no coherent front for the 162 German divisions in Russia whilst there had been no preparations (only for an occupation of army of 56 divisions) to stay for winter o Winter equipment – esp. clothing, stoves, skis etc. – had only been prepared for about 1/3 of the total amount of German soldiers within the USSR  Even worse, these items had not actually been shipped to the Front and was simply in storage in Poland • When winter came, no one had appropriate clothes since other supplies – ammunition and food – had been given priority in order to sustain the final thrust on Moscow that was apparently going to win the campaign 2 October 1941 = Hitler’s proclamation for a last, powerful blow or a ‘surge’ Operation Typhoon against Moscow - CiC ofAG Centre Field Marshall von Bock had the entire 2 air fleet, 3 armies and 3 panzer groups – 1.9 million men under his command – but 50% of his tanks and 22% of all his motor vehicles had been lost o AG succeeded in two tremendous envelopments and brought in 600,000 prisoners of war  3 October = H = ‘the opponent Russia has been broken and will never rise again’: belief that the road to Moscow was now open; it would be destroyed th  16 October = panic in Moscow: the government moved to Kuibyshev on the Volga  end of October = mud season set in and halted all movements for about 2 weeks until frost came at the beginning of November th  11 November = Hitler ordered the offensive resumed against Moscow, Mykov and against the railways toArchangel which had the import routes forAmerican supplies 15 November = Moscow advance resumed: BUT the forces that were employed were simply not enough – guns, tanks th 19 November = Hitler was discouraged enough to say to his GS that the two belligerent groups were unable to defeat one another - if they couldn’t win in the face of the opponents, soon to include USA, then they were losing o often spoke of winning and the prospects for victory during the rest of the war  fluctuated between illusion and realism  1941 – hoped for peace with England at the expense of France but the real situation was much more serious at the Front with deeper evidence of troubling situations • end of October 1941 = the CiC of the ReserveArmy, General Fruhm told H’s assistant that the lack of sufficient armaments would force a cessation of operations in 1942 o instead of the required 56 tanks a month, only 12 could be produced throughout 1942 as H had ordered at the beginning of the campaign which was supposed to last 6 months, not 3 years 29 November – Todt, theAmmunitions Minister, declared that the war was lost in terms of armaments and industrial capacities and asked of the leadership, a termination of war 8 February – Todt died in a suspicious aircraft crash nd 2 December 1941 – von Bock’s armies reached the outskirts of Moscow having annihilated 9 Soviet armies and taking a total of 673,000 prisoners of war BUT the Soviets had the will and resources to resist – 14 million soldiers were available to them whilst they had tanks and armaments coming to them whilst the Germans had no such reserves - German troops were exhausted and apathetic o German division at full strength consisted of 3 regiments, 1-2 artillery battalions, reconnaissance forces, medical corps and armoured companies th o Of 2 regiments in the 10 Panzer division – 86 Grenadier Regiment: 7 officers, 44 NCOs, 186 men, 18 machine guns, 3 antitank guns, 3 light infantry artillery pieces and 2 grenade launchers  Regiment at full strength numbered 3,500 troops th o 69 Grenadier Regiment in the 10 P  5 officers, 55 NCOs, 313 men, 41 Machine guns, 3 antitanks, 4 grenade launchers and 3 light artillery pieces o division that at strength would be 115,000 with 120 tanks nd 2 December = temperature dropped to -25C 5 December = temperature dropped to -38C = 1200 soldiers froze to death in one day inAG Centre and German intelligence reported that the Soviet armies had no depth and Hitler’s assistants said that the Soviets had used up their last reserves - Same day, General Konyev, with 4 Soviet Armies opened a massive offensive 6h December - Zhukov attacked with 10 armies N and S of Moscow - German Chief of theArmy attempted to resign ▯ came into effect on the 17 December 19 December – Hitler took personal control of theArmy – now CiC of theArmy and practically micro-managed theArmy down to Company level - German tactical doctrine gave much operational independence to commanders from company up to division Because there was no winter clothing available, Goebbels proclaimed a collection of winter clothing and skis  every German who had any skis had to hand in 2 pairs of skis and at least 2 heavy winter sweaters though they also never reached the Front or arrived in March orApril - Goebbels declared the winter wool collection to be a gift from the Home Front to the Front Line During Mid-December 1941 =Anthony Eden was also in Moscow AG Centre battering Moscow attempting to occupy and destroy, and the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs flew into Moscow to confer with Stalin about the western frontiers of the USSR and Poland; the reordering of territories after the War - German Army was forced into a retreat which Hitler minimised by forbidding such an action o He dismissed generals who fell back without his permission, replaced them and then had to authorise the retreat that had occurred  By keeping his nerve and being brutal towards his own soldiers, he managed to stabilise the Front • BUT end of March 1942 – German Army had 162 infantry divisions, 8 of which were combat ready o 16 armoured divisions with a total of 140 tanks – just over the complement of 1 division in times of peace • the GermanArmy had lost over 1 million men – 1/3 of the order of battle of the 22 June was lost – dead and wounded o 1/3 would thus have to be replaced – not taking into account actual needs  1/3 of 1/3 ended up actually being replaced  10% of what AG Centre would have needed in replacement was actually replaced • the Germans had captured over 3 million RedArmy soldiers – end of the war they had a total of 5.7 million Red Army soldiers without really making much of a dent in Soviet strength o 28 February 1942 – 2 million of the 3 million were dead  POW camps in the field, set up for 300,000-500,000 men at a time with insufficient supplies reinforced byAG Centres own shortages • The POW’s were starving • When disease broke out it was impossible to stop = December 1941 – was the strategic turning point of Hitler’s main war as none of the aims of Barbarossa had been achieved whilst the German war machine never fully recovered whilst the Soviet war machine grew stronger and stronger -
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