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Lecture

HIS103Y1 Lecture Notes - Dunkirk Evacuation, Blitzkrieg, Phoney War


Department
History
Course Code
HIS103Y1
Professor
Vasilis Dimitriadis

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Topic Sixteenth
World War Two
Breakout of WWII:
-- With the non-aggression pact, Hitler had a free hand to deal with the west;
-- Sep 1st 1939 Hitler launched attack on Poland, beginning WWII;
-- Sep 3rd, both B and F declared war against Germany;
Blitzkrieg Lightening war;
-- Although appeared also in B, F, R, the idea of blitzkrieg was often associated with Nazi Germany;
-- Using tanks to break through enemies’ line breaking one point, achieving local superiority;
-- Cutting 3 Cs: command, control, communication (food/provision)
-- Complete freedom for local commanders;
-- Poland was wiped out in 4 weeks;
-- Yugoslavia, Denmark in 2 weeks;
-- France was wiped out in 6 weeks;
-- Belgium was wiped out in 10 days;
-- Stunning victory for Germany;
Western Front;
-- “Phony War”: B, F did not help Poland at all at the beginning;
-- France:
-- Germany attacked May 10 1940 around the Maginot Line;
-- France confronted German in Belgium; Germany managed to split the French army into two;
-- Attack bridges, communication lines, civilian center, etc, paralyzing French Army;
-- Psychological warfare on Mass Scale: attacking civilian target; population in mass evacuated
cities, clogging roads and creating panic;
-- British expeditionary force trapped in the north, French armies split in North and South
-- June 1940 Dunkirk Evacuation, saving the British Expeditionary Force and huge French army;
-- B totally defenseless, only 2 divisions, both of which were Canadian division;
-- June 21st 1940 France capitulated; declared Paris an open city;
-- The capitulation treaty was signed in the same place where TOV was signed; humiliating defeat
for France;
-- Britain:
-- Germany still could not compete with the Royal Navy;
-- Navy did not play a important role in war anymore; air force came to replace it;
-- Hitlers plan: 2 and a half million planes bombardment, achieving aerial superiority;
-- B had a secret weapon: radar station gave warning (how many, how strong, what direction)
-- August October 1940 fierce air battles;
-- Germany was planning to attack British radar station; however Sep B attacked Berlin, outraging
Hitler; he switched target and attacked London for revenge;
-- 57 nights bombardment of London, to break British morale;
-- However, such bombardment unified English people, and the whole nation stood behind
Churchill;
-- Realizing that he could not defeat B that quickly, he turned his target to the Soviet Union

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Italy
-- Germany never consulted Mussolini on anything; the Italian was upset: Mussolini regarded himself as
“the father of fascism”;
-- One day before France capitulated, Italy declared war on France; even though, F defeated I;
-- I then attacked Albania and Greece without telling Hitler; Greece defeated I within 3 weeks, pushing it
back to Albania;
-- Huge debacle; Hitler was forced to come to the aid of Italy;
-- Germany defeated Greece, and invaded Yugoslavia on the way;
-- However, it put off Directive 21 by a full month;
-- Operation Barbarossa began June 22, the same day Napoleon attacked Russia;
Russian Campaign;
-- If Soviet Union was defeated, B would not be able to resist anymore; that was the plan of Hitler;
-- Objective: achieving Labestrum, destroying ideological enemies;
-- Hitler did not think Russia would be able to resist; 6-8 weeks was his plan; Sub-humans
-- He attacked Moscow; but also Leningrad ideological reasons;
-- Did pretty well at first;
-- By late august the German force was half in Russia; captured 3M Russian Soldiers, killed 1.5M;
-- No state gave a chance to Russia; US thought Russia would give in by August;
-- German brutality (taking ALL RESOURCE; kill; capture; destroy; starve) turned Russian soldiers into
fanatic opponents; fighting until the last bullet;
-- ALL population in Russia, even though who thought G as liberator from Stalin, turned against him;
-- Problem: the further you go in, the bigger the country becomes, the more diluted the German Army
becomes;
-- Soviet Union also managed to evacuated all industries war base of Soviet Russia was saved moved to
Siberia and started to reproduce;
-- “Blitzkrieg” became a war of attrition;
-- Hitler never wanted a prolonged war “guns and butter” must be maintained;
-- Hitler decided to halt the Operation because there were 1.5M red army in the south of Russia;
-- After defeating that, the Operation continued, but it was too late;
-- one of the coldest winter of Russia; totally unprepared;
-- no infrastructure; no road; muddy; machine guns and machineries stuck in the mud;
-- December 15, Russian launched counter offensive towards German; threw back the Germans 300kilo
back;
-- Reason: Soviet Union was informed that Japan would not attack the Soviet Union; Stalin had a free hand
now;
-- This marked Blitzkrieg is over;
-- Germany is now facing two-front war + war of attrition; B was not yet defeated;
-- August 1941 both B and US offered unlimited aid to the Soviet Union; recall Churchill was the most
adamant opponent to Communist Russia;
-- “Land Lease Act”;
Russian Campaign continued;
-- Dec 5th 1941 Major Russian offensive, ending the Blitzkrieg;
Pearl Harbor;
-- Dec 7th 1941 Japanese surprise attack on U.S. Navy;
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