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Transcript WWII-Notes-4-Blitzkrieg

Germany Attacks Poland and France
WWII - The War
Ms. Hamer
December 1-2, 2009
• Blitzkrieg is one of those terms that has been
used more by historians than Germans during
• There is some debate about how deep the
Blitzkrieg theory ran in the German military
Blitzkrieg Part 1
• Lightning War
• Rapid attack with
heavy artillery
followed by infantry.
All would be
supported by air
Blitzkrieg Part 2
• Specifically directed at single countries who
(at least in the beginning) were diplomatically
• Not just a military, but a political and
economic approach as well
Why Blitzkrieg? PART 1
• Quick Wars against single states
– Important because Hitler wanted to
conduct business as usual
– This would allow military operations
without total mobilization of the economy
Why Blitzkrieg? PART 2
– Hitler didn’t want to deal with the
privations of war that Germany had to deal
with in WWI
– Blitzkrieg would avoid the static and
devastating trench warfare from WWI
Why Blitzkrieg? PART 3
• Germany was capable of blitzkrieg because of
rapid militarization
• Germany was not prepared for an extended
war in September 1939 because the 4 year
plan didn’t work
• Therefore a quick war on a single country was
The Invasion of Poland
Why Poland?
• Part of the
lebensraum plan
• Hitler took a
diplomatic gamble
that England
would not defend
• Some ethnic
Convincing Germany
• Germans were told that Poland attacked a
radio station in Germany on September 1,
1939 and that was why Germany was
“responding” by attacking Poland
– Germans didn’t necessarily buy this
– Germans were NOT happy about this attack – they
were disappointed
– Hitler’s popularity based on great foreign policy
victories with no war
Fall Weiss (Case White) PART 1
Invasion of Poland September 1, 1939
Huge success for Germany
First Blitzkrieg – “Case White”
1 million Germans (52 divisions)
Germany 1500 Tanks vs. Poland 310 Tanks
Germany 1250 planes vs. Poland 400 Planes
– German planes were more advanced as well
Fall Weiss (Case White) PART 2
• 2 pronged attack (army group North from East
Prussia and army group South)
• Pincer movement
– Trap Polish army west of Warsaw and annihilate it
– Warsaw reached by September 8th
– The city of Warsaw resisted until the Germans
launched an air attack against the civilian capital
of Warsaw
– Polish armies fought, but were overwhelmed
• Black =
• Red =
Clockwise from top right:
German Panzer in Poland, Hitler
visits troops, Polish infantry and
tanks, Warsaw bombing survivor
Fall Weiss (Case White) PART 3
• September 17th – Soviet Union moved to attack the
eastern half that it was promised
• This was the end for Poland
Fall Weiss (Case White) PART 4
• End of September Poland was devastated and
England and France couldn’t help yet
– France did not invade W Germany because the
French plans were solely defensive
– War in the East was over (for now)
Polish Contributions to WWII PART 1
• 90,000 Poles escaped through other countries
– Many reached Great Britain to fight in the
– Largest army in exile of Allies during WWII (bigger
than French)
Polish army training
in Scotland
Polish Contributions to WWII PART 2
• Poles were working on the Enigma machine to
break the German code in 1939.
– One got to France, and then eventually to England
– Beginning of the breaking of the German military
Hitler Seeks Peace
• October 1939 – Spring 1940
• Hitler launched many peace initiatives
• Kept trying to appeal to British
– Hitler felt that the British had a place in his world
view and he only wanted Poland, not a war in the
– Germany still demanded to keep Poland and
England said no
Russo – Finnish War
(The Winter War)
November 1939 – March 1940
Russo – Finnish War PART 1
• Stalin was worried that Finland would fall to
– Leningrad was right next to the Finnish border
– Stalin demanded territory from Finland to protect
Russo – Finnish War PART 2
• November 30, 1939 Soviets attacked Finland
– Red army outnumbered Finns 50:1 plus had better
– Finns fought hard and used winter even better than the
Norwegian and Finnish Troops
Russo – Finnish War PART 3
• Ended in March 1940
with the signing of the
Moscow Peace Treaty
• Finland ceded
11 percent of its prewar territory and
30 percent of its
economic assets to the
Soviet Union
– Soviet Union got to
protect Leningrad
Major Ramifications
• Sealed the bad reputation
of the Red Army
• French and British wanted
to send troops to help
– Churchill supported this,
but they didn’t because
Swedes refused passage
• Soviet standing in West at
all time low by March
– Bully, communist state
Diary of a Polish Soldier
WW2 Reader p15 - 29
1. Why were Nowak and his fellow soldiers filled with an
air of excitement before the war?
2. Describe the resistance on the River Bug. Why didn’t it
work for the Poles?
3. What surprises about his captors did Nowak find upon
being captured? When did Nowak’s feelings turn
against his captors?
4. How did the Polish troops react when the Germans
began taking away “Jewish” prisoners?
5. How do the prisoners act when they were first on the
march? How do Nowak and Cyrankiewicz help this
6. How does Nowak escape?
Germany Moves West
Spring 1940
Decision to Move West
• By April 1940
• German attempts at diplomacy with England
had failed so war on western front seemed
German Invasion of Scandinavia PART 1
• Germany believed
that England and
France were going to
seize ports in Norway
• Germany invaded
Denmark and then
Norway to secure
these ports
• Operation
German Invasion of Scandinavia PART 2
• British and French troops arrived to help
– Got their butts kicked
– Evacuated in May 1940
• Left the low countries and France for Germany
to invade
Stats Before the Invasion of France
• On paper France seemed strong
• On the eve of the German invasion, the Allies
seemed better off
– 81 British and French divisions vs. 75 German
– French were on equal footing with Germans as far
as tanks went
– 4360 French planes vs. 3200 German planes
How did France Lose?
• Failure in military and political leadership
• Failure of military plans
French Military Thinking of the
Interwar Years
– Based on WWI
• 42 million French people
– suffered highest casualties in WWI
– could not afford same scale of casualties again
• So build defensive fortifications like the Maginot Line
• Some pointed out that the tank would
revolutionize warfare and that offensive
planning was necessary - minority
British Military Thinking of the
Interwar Years PART 1
• Some had actually come up with the basis of
the Blitzkrieg strategy (strong offense), but
these were in the minority
• Navy was still the centerpiece of their military
• England was worry about financial (shipping)
problems during another war like they had
during WWI
• Did not support a rearmament program
British Military Thinking of the
Interwar Years PART 2
• Air force (RAF) was #2
– Seemed to be a “less painful” solution to
England’s security needs
– Only Great Power (other than US) to develop
plans to construct 4-engine (long distance, large
payload) bombers
• Developed idea of strategic bombing
– Also developed new fighter planes – Hurricane,
• Pursuit planes to defend the British Isles
British Military Thinking of the
Interwar Years PART 3
• Land Army was very weak even though
England had their first peacetime conscription
in 1939
Command and Organization
Problems for Allies
• Lack of unified command (within French army)
• Separate command for the area most prone to
attack (NE France)
• Lack of political cohesion at this time
– PM ÉdouardDaladier resigned in March 1940
– Succeeded by Paul Reynaud
Gamelin Plan
• Maurice Gamelin was commander in chief
of the French armed forces in 1939
• Gamelin was in charge of planning the
Allied defense of France
– Was certain that the attack would come
through Belgium
– Developed the Gamelin Plan to deal with this
• Allies should rush troops into Belgium when
Germans launch their attack
• Belgium wouldn’t let the Allies scout out positions
Pre-Attack Intelligence
• Enigma machine was working
– France received info saying a German attack was
– Mainly about Belgium
– But Germans seemed to be massing around the
Ardennes as well
• This was ignored
Phony War
• Time in between declaration of war and actual
– September 1939 – May 10, 1940
• Also called Sitzkrieg by the Germans. Hah!
Battle of France
Get your Europe maps out!!!
Germany Attacks the Low Countries
• Germany attacked
Holland AND Belgium
– Just like Gamelin
• French and British
rushed forward to
meet the Germans in
Belgium as planned
It’s a Trap!!! PART 1
• Allied troops reported that even though
Germans seemed to have air superiority, they
weren’t attacking the French and British
• Germans wanted the Allies to rush into
Belgium because part of the army and the
Panzer corps would attack through the
Ardennes into Luxembourg and France behind
the Allied troops.
It’s a Trap!!! PART 2
• The German flank cut off the Allied armies
that had rushed north
• May 20th Germans reached the coast
– Led by Guderion (Blitzkrieg guy) and Erwin
– Headed towards the channel cities: Boulogne and
Allies Cornered at Dunkirk
• Guderion and the Panzer Corps were ordered
to halt 15 miles from Dunkirk on May 24th
– Guderion protested to Hitler because they had
almost caught the BEF
• Hitler gave the mission of seizing Dunkirk to
the German infantry units that were moving
South from Holland
– Caution on Hitler’s part
Hitler’s Decisions at Dunkirk
• Terrain was marshy and not good for tanks
• Armored units hadn’t stopped yet and needed to do
• Plus British were caught, so who cares who captures them?
• Feared counterattack from South
• Maybe Hitler stopped the Panzers because he wanted the
British to be able to evacuate
– This would show the British that it was not a war to the finish with
– Hitler hinted at this later, but it was probably not the biggest
consideration of the time
• Herman Goerring of the Luftwaffe argued that the Luftwaffe
could destroy the British without having to risk Germans
Miracle at Dunkirk
• German delay at
capturing the Allied
Troops allowed the Allies
to coordinate an escape
effort for those at Dunkirk
• Evacuation of Dunkirk
– May 26th until June 4th 1940
– Saved 338,000 troops – some
– Used any ship that would help
– RAF protected the troops
Chaos in France
• France hoped to regroup
• Churchill offered common FrancoBritish citizenship to keep France in the
• Reynaud and Churchill pledged to
make no separate peace
• Reynaud replaced Gamelin with a WWI
• Reynaud brought in Philippe Petain
(WWI hero) as vice-premier to boost
Fall of France PART 1
• June 10th Mussolini
declared war on
• Weygand Line
north of Paris
collapsed and on
June 14, 1940
German troops
marched into Paris
– Petain urged
signing of an
German Troops
in Paris
Fall of France PART 2
• June 16, 1940
Hitler accepted
the surrender of
France in the same
RR car that
Germany had
surrendered in
after WWI
Fall of France PART 3
• France was allowed to keep its colonial empire
and fleet
• Germany occupied 2/3 of France (Northern
and coastal regions)
• Vichy regime set up with Petain as its leader
Fall of France PART 4
•Charles de
Gaulle (general)
escaped to
London and set
up his own
The Free French
•Organized Free
French forces
General Charles
The Maquis
Hitler Rules
• By the end of
June 1940:
• Hitler
dominated the
• Hitler had
reached Paris in
35 days
• Map of WWII
• Fall of France Map