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Week 11 Grenville notes

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Neville Panthaki

1. Germanys wars of conquest in Europe, 1939 41 during first 2 years, Germany won series of victories on continent of Europe that staggered world and made Wehrmacht appear invincible the Wehrmacht used the tactics of speedy penetration by tanks, followed by mechanised infantry and then more slowly by mechanised infantry and then more slowly by infantry on foot, supported closely by the Luftwaffe; towns were subjected to indiscriminate bombing, and the terrorised populations jammed the roads to escape the advancing Germans the Blitzkrieg required careful planning, a well-coordinated command structure, and highly disciplined, well-equipped troops the armed forces served Hitlers cause, which they identified with Germanys, with efficiency and the utmost devotion in September 1939 Poland was conquered; in April 1940, Denmark and Norway; during May the Netherlands and Belgium; and then in June 1940 the greatest victory of all, France was defeated with France prostate, Britain withdrew from Europein July 1940 the war, so it seemed, was virtually over, an astonishingly short war rather than the expected long and bloody struggle, leaving Germany victorious however, the struggle would continue as long as Hitler lived and until Europe was racially transformed and world power was won Hitlers public peace proposals to Britain and France early in October 1939, after the victorious Polish campaign, were almost certainly meant for German public opinionpeace terms involving the eventual abandonment of France were unthinkable in 1939 militarily, on land and in the air, the war scarcely got started in terms of real fighting on the western front the military assumptions about how best to conduct the war were paralleled by political assumptions held by Chamberlain about the war and its likely outcomeit would be ended, if possible, without great sacrifice of life by imposing a strict blockade on Germany the British and French governments even considered blowing up the sources of Germanys oil supplies in Romania and Soviet Caucasus while at sea Britain had the better of the war, serious fighting on land began not on the frontiers of Franc but in Norway German naval losses were so severe that in July 1940 there was no surface fleet in active service; few lighter warships were undamaged the most important political consequence of acting too late in Norway was the fall of the Chamberlain Cabinet, and the outcome was that Winston Churchill became prime minister on 10 May 1940 of a national government joined by Labour and the Liberals Norway was a serious defeat for the Allied war effortthe Norwegian fjords could now serve as ideal bases for the German submarines threatening to sever the lifeline of war supplies crossing the Atlantic from the US the most shattering blow of all was the defeat of France, on whose armies the containment of Germany overwhelmingly rested the total strength of the German army on the one hand and the French, British, Belgian, and Dutch forces on the other were roughly comparable, as were the numbers of tanks on each sidearguably the French had the edge in the quality of their tanks and artillery in short, German victory was due to the brilliance of the amended war-plan carried out in May 1940, its successful execution by the German high command and the fighting qualities of the well-trained troops, particularly the Panzer divisions aversely, Allied failure was primarily a failure of strategyFrench armies were thrown into total confusion, their generals lost control over communications and over the movements of whole armies on 10 May 1940 the Germans launched the western offensive, simultaneously attacking the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg the French and British troops moved forward according to a plan which, as it turned out, placed them more securely in the noose on 13 May the Germans broke through on the Meuse French PM Reynaud phoned Churchill the next day telling him that situation was grave, and on 15 Paris open first rift now appeared between the British and French conduct of the war increasingly the French began to blame the British for not throwing their last reserves into the battle they could not conceive how Britain would continue the war without France in mid-June 1940, with the imminent withdrawal of France from the war, there were more anxious moments for Churchill on 10 June 1940 Mussolinihaving contemptuously rejected Roosevelts earlier offer of good officesdeclared war on an already beaten France; even so the French forces along the Italian frontier repulsed the Italian attacks France was divided into occupied and unoccupied areasthe whole Atlantic coast came under German control; south and south-eastern France was governed by Petain from a new capital established in Vichy; the colonial empire remained under the control of Vichy the course of the war from the fall of France to December 1941 needs to be followed in 3 separate strands: (1) there was the actual conflict between Britain and Germany and Italy on land, sea, and air; (2) the second strand of the period from June 1940 to the end of 1941 is formed by the growing informal alliance between Britain and the US; and (3) the third decisive strand of these years was the transformation of the Nazi-Soviet partnership into war which Germany launched against Russia on 22 June 1941 23 August 1939after Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact had been concluded, Stalin had avoided being drawn into war against Germany military unpreparedness in 1939 would have made war even more catastrophic for Russia then than in 1941: the West would have remained behind their defensive line leaving Russia to face the full force of the Wehrmacht Germanys unexpectedly rapid defeat of Poles alarmed Russians, who extensively mobilised and entered Poland on 17 September 1939 a new Soviet-German treaty of friendship was concluded on 28 September, adjusting the Polish partition in favour of the Germans from the end of September 1939 to June 1941, the Soviet Union supplied Germany with grain, oil and war materials until May 1940, when the German victories in the West revealed the desperate weakness of their own position, the British and French were considering not only sending volunteers to Finland, but also stopping the flow of oil from the Baku oilfields by bombing them Soviet aggression in 1939 and 1940 was, in part, pure aggrandisement to recover what had once belonged to the Russian Empire and more, but also to improve Russias capacity for defence Hitlers decision to launch his war on Russia marks the second turning point in WWII; the first was Britain fighting on and made his ultimate defeat certain when he failed to destroy Russia militarily in this new Blitzkrieg during the first few months the Russian war from 1941 to 1945 was a war of dramatic movement, unlike the trench warfare on the Western frontbut its effect in destroying millions of soldiers and huge quantities of material, in the end, bled the Third Reich to death a series of brief Balkan campaigns in the spring of 1941 ensured that the invasion of Russia would be undertaken on a broad front without any possibility of a hostile flank www.notesolution.com
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