World War 2
Britain and Germany at War
In Germany, support quickly grew for the fascist Nazi party, which promised strong leadership and to restore national pride. In 1933 the Nazi Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, was declared to be the only political party in Germany. Hitler began to build up the German armed forces and to reclaim the territories lost by Germany after World War I. This was in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, but the League of Nations was too weak to stop ler's aggression. When Hitler tried to occupy part of Czechoslovakia, the Czechs turned to their allies for help. In 1938, Hitler promised the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain that was the last of his territorial demands.
Chamberlain wanted to avoid war at all costs, so he and the French prime minister forced Czechoslovakia to accept Hitler's demands. However, in March 1939 Germany took the whole of Czechoslovakia and threatened Poland. Britain guaranteed to aid Poland if its independence was threatened. Hitler invaded Poland on 1st September 1939; France and Britain declared war two days later. The Germans swept through Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. The Allied forces of Britain and France were trapped by this invasion and had to evacuate from the French port of Dunkirk across the English Channel.
Next, Hitler planned his invasion of Britain. First of all he needed to gain control of the skies and to defeat the British air force. The Battle of Britain began in July 1940, but on the 7th September 1940 the Battle of Britain came to an end, when the Germans turned their attention to bombing civilian targets in London and elsewhere. This was the beginning of the "Blitz". The Germans hoped to weaken the morale of the British public and force surrender. London was bombed every night for 58 nights. The wail of the air raid sirens would send people running for cover in air raid shelters, or in the deep tunnels of the underground railway. Every day, hundreds of Londoners died in the raids, and thousands more were injured. The Blitz also destroyed cities such as Portsmouth, Coventry and Liverpool. However, British fighters continued to shoot down the German bombers and, by 1941 it was clear that the Germans could not control the skies. The invasion of Britain was postponed indefinitely.
Later in the war, allied bombers made massive bombing attacks on German cities. The first raid was on Cologne in May 1942 when 900 Allied bombers battered the city. By the end of the war, many German cities were reduced to rubble the thousands of civilians killed by Allied bombing. Throughout the war, Britain depended for its survival on supplies brought across the Atlantic Ocean from North America. German submarines (U-boats) were a constant threat. The Allies organised convoys of cargo ships, escorted the protected by naval ships. Radar and sonar were also used to detect submarines. By the middle of 1943 many U-boats had been detected and destroyed.
By summer 1944, thousands of troops were on standby in southern England. The Germans knew that the allies would attack somewhere along the north coast of France but they was not sure where. The most obvious place was near Calais, where the English Channel is narrowest. In fact, the allies made their landing further west on the beaches of Normandy. On 6th June 1944 was D-day, allied troops waded ashore. Under the overall command of the American general, Eisenhower, the allied troops advanced rapidly. By 25th August 1944, they had reached Paris. Meanwhile Soviet troops were advancing across Eastern Europe and allied forces had landed in southern France and were moving northwards. It soon became clear that victory was in sight in Europe.
In April 1945 as Soviet troops surrounded Berlin, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. The Germans finally surrendered on 7th May 1945 and the allies declared 8th May 1945 V-E (Victory in Europe) Day. In the Far East the war was not yet over. Japan seemed determined to fight on, despite defeat looking certain. The American president, Harry S Truman, decided to use a secret weapon developed by American and British scientist during the war. This was the atomic bomb, on 6th August 1945; an atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Another was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. The Japanese surrendered on 2nd September 1945, V-J (Victory over Japan) Day.
|The Battle of the Atlantic (1939 - 1945) - Being worked on|
|The Battle of France (1940) - Being worked on|
|Dunkirk (1940) - Being worked on|
|Battle of Britain (1940) - Being worked on|
|'Blitz' (1940 - 1941) - Being worked on|
|The Mediterranean and the Balkans (1940) - Being worked on|
|Battle of El Alamein (1941 - 1943) - Being worked on|
|The Italian Campaign (1943 - 1945) - Being worked on|
|D-Day Invasion (1944 - 1945) - Being worked on|
|Bomber Command (1943 - 1945)|
|The flying bombs and rockets|
|Britain's Economy during the War|
|The Phoney War|
|The Home Guard|
Prime Minister, Commanders, Etc.
|Sir Winston Churchill|
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