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The Second World War left indelible marks on both the
landscape and the people, not just of Britain and Germany,
but the world. This book aims to put the well-known stories,
memories and ruins of the war into context, and bring to life
the events that led to these lasting changes. Find out how the
war began, who fought and made key decisions throughout its
duration, and how, after years of conflict, it finally came to an
end. Uncover the story behind some of the war's crucial events –
from the Battle of Midway and the attack on Pearl Harbor to the
D-Day landings and the firebombing of Tokyo – and learn how
these defining moments shaped the war. See the chronology of
the war through evocative images, read detailed accounts and
gain an insight into what it was like to live during the period
with this compendium of the last world war.


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All About History Book Of World War II © 2014 Imagine Publishing Ltd

ISBN 978 1910 155 295

Part of the

bookazine series

Operation “Compass”: 138 .The Invasion of Norway 114 .World War II CONTENTS 08 .Operation “Barbarossa” 150 .Operations map 1941–1942 82 .The East African Campaigns 128 .Defeat at Stalingrad 70 .Blitzkrieg in Asia 24 .The German Blitz on Britain 132 .The Casablanca Conference 72 .Operation “Sealion” 130 .Lend-Lease 26 .The First Thousand-Bomber Raid 42 .Into the Caucasus 54 .Operation “Typhoon” 12 .Commando Raids: Norway to St Nazaire of Czechoslovakia 102 .Introduction 78 .The Allied Invasion of Iraq & Syria 16 .The Siege of Malta 32 .The Dambusters raid 6 .Guadalcanal Defeat of Italy in North Africa 140 .Operation “Uranus” 68 .Naval War in the Mediterranean 136 .Arming for War in the 1930s 96 .Britain and France declare War 108 .Operation “Ironclad” 40 .Corregidor: Fall of the Philippines 34 .The Battle of the Atlantic 52 .Operation “Blue” 46 .German Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece 142 .The Occupation and Break-up 100 .The Atlantic Charter 18 .Operation “Torch” 66 .Churchill takes over 116 .The tide turns in North Africa 60 .Hitler turns East 148 .Dunkirk 120 .The German conquest of Crete 144 .The Battle of Coral Sea 38 .The Battle of Britain 126 .The Battle for Stalingrad 62 .Oil 44 .Operations map 1931–1941 80 .Germany invades Poland 106 .The Soviet-Finnish war 110 .Germany destroys Versailles 94 .The Tripartite Pact 134 .Operations map 1944–1945 86 .The Battle of Midway 48 .Japan’s War in China 90 .The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 104 .The Wannsee Conference 28 .The Battle of the River Plate 112 .Forging the Peace 88 .Germany invades in the West 118 .The Siege of Leningrad 10 .Sinking the Bismarck 146 .Second Alamein 64 .Defeat in North Africa 14 .Italy’s Wars 92 .The Fall of Singapore 30 .Battle for the Solomons 56 .Japan conquers Burma 36 .Operations map 1942–1944 84 .The Dieppe Raid 58 .Pearl Harbor 22 .Crisis in Egypt 50 .Operation “Longcloth”: Chindits in Burma 74 .The Fall of France 122 .The Munich Crisis 98 .Germany’s New Order 124 .The end of the Axis in Africa: Tunisia 76 .Operation “Crusader” 20 .

Battle of the Philippine Sea 196 .From World War to Cold War 190 .The End of Vichy France: Operation “Dragoon” 210 .Victory in Italy 178 .Italy: Invasion and Surrender 232 .Battle of the North Cape 242 .The Secret War: Spies.The Marianas: Defence to the Death 194 .Operation “Bagration” 198 .Operation “Cartwheel”: War for New Guinea From the Rhine to the Elbe 168 .Yugoslavia: Liberation from within 216 .Soviet Advance on Germany: 158 .From Kharkov to Kiev: 228 .The Recapture of the Philippines 218 .Okinawa Gilbert and Marshall Islands 236 .The Firebombing of Tokyo 164 .The Battle for Monte Cassino 246 .The German Surrender 180 .The Big Three: The Teheran Conference 238 .Japan’s War in China: Operation “Ichi-Go” 252 .The Battle of Leyte Gulf 7 .The War Crimes Trials 188 . Codes and Deception 248 .Operation “Husky”: Invasion of Sicily 224 .The Bombing of Hamburg Vistula-Oder Operation 160 .The Casualties 186 .Rationing: The war for food 220 .The Battle for Anzio 244 .Stalemate in Italy 202 .Behind Barbed Wire: The Fate of POWs 154 .The Battle of the Bulge 156 .Last Days in Hitler’s Bunker 176 .The Yalta Conference 162 .Battle for Normandy 256 .The V-Weapons Campaign 258 .The French Resistance 226 .Victory in Burma 172 .Liberation of the Camps 170 .The Western Advance into Germany: 166 .Breakout: Operation “Cobra” 206 .Battle for India: Imphal and Kohima 250 .The Atomic Bombs 182 .Credits 192 .Battle for Berlin 174 .The Warsaw Uprising 208 .The Japanese Surrender 184 .July Plot: The Coup that Failed 204 .The Liberation of Paris 212 .Partisan War 240 .Defeat of the Luftwaffe 200 .Iwo Jima the Red Army breaks through 230 .D-Day 254 .The Battle of Kursk 222 .Island-hopping in the Pacific: 234 .152 .Operation “Market Garden” 214 .

8 .

powers. South-east Asia the Cold War was a fundamental one. take or could anticipate the degree of destruction any other state would have sued for peace. The that they made the sacrifices they did. There was changes provoked by the war were this time more a powerful sense that this really was a war that permanent than in 1918. It is possible to exaggerate the break the French Atlantic coast to Warsaw. but with losses on an extraordinary scale. the war was finally over in August 1945 the world but as a way to impose one world order or another. The Struggles of the end of the war were the committed to the cause. and could do little to hinder the German break the restrictions imposed after her defeat in advance. Germany and her allies had large Japanese Empire through which the Allies poured resources and captured yet more. It starts with the early years of was genuinely global. were drawn in. Stalin’s and violence that it would draw in its wake. and the war for Asia fought still within their grasp – German soldiers were in in the east by Imperial Japan. but the change wonder that Hitler and the German leadership felt between the pre-war world of economic crisis. but its long shadow has History is the story of that conflict from its roots in extended down to the present. Nothing to compare with would shape the way history would be made. In the It is worth remembering that no-one at the start Soviet Union only exceptional efforts staved off could be certain what direction the war might defeat. The sight of distant which the Allies had to learn to fight with greater victory did not make the war easier to wage effectiveness and to exploit their own scientific. dreamed of re-creating the tantalising prize of a new world order seemed the Roman Empire. leaving almost no more limited war. and in western Asia by an alliance of inside Egypt. determined to the Caucasus. The technical and intelligence resources to the full. It is little represented by victory in 1945. A ability to keep his people fighting was a vital number of different areas of conflict coalesced. The idea that the Axis costliest of the entire conflict. the tide of war began new Soviet system in 1941. victory in the Solomons opened sheer economic weight. to flow the Allies’ way. confident that they could now build a New Order European imperialism and militant nationalism on the ruins of the old. the post-war settlement of 1919 to the final victory RICHARD OVERY. Its scale stable world order. It is often asserted that the entry could be defeated in open battle. even in times of tribulation. which had once seemed all but unstoppable. For the Allies these years turned into the First World War. and the post-war world of economic boom. system. but the outcome was not a small doorway into the defensive frontier of the pre-ordained. anti-Communist states grouped around Hitler’s However this was not to be. To win victory at Stalingrad demonstrated to the world the war the Allies needed to improve fighting that the Red Army had come of age and the period power. Japanese forces fought with high skill. It follows the war’s progress as the Axis states decolonisation and the ideological confrontation of pushed out into the Soviet Union. Most Western. and the Pacific and almost to the Suez Canal. 2010 9 . Japanese soldiers a short step from assert the right of non-white peoples to a share Australia and German and Italian forces deep of empire. the Second World War has occurred in the sixty- The Second World War: The Complete Illustrated three years since it ended. air and military strength. had to take stock of the wreckage left behind. not simply as the means to their own survival. Benito Mussolini. Slowly but surely on Germany which launched a crusade against the land and sea and in the air. In just 19 months Germany stage set for the emergence of the modern states’ had conquered an area from Norway to Crete. Victory in the of the United States in December 1941 made desert war paved the way for the reconquest of the victory certain for the Allied powers through Mediterranean. and Germany in particular. German and overwhelming naval. When war. It became clear that Axis As the war grew in scope all the major powers forces. the conflicts generated by an a holding operation in which they tried to avoid expansionist and ambitious Fascist Italy whose anything worse happening. For their Axis enemies leader. It prospect of catastrophic defeat called for desperate is a measure of the significance they all gave to the measures of defence from the Axis forces. lost the war German and Japanese casualties date from the through their own ineptitude distorts the extent to final 18 months of combat. At its end the political much of Europe with relatively low casualties and geography of the world was transformed and the with lightning speed.INTRODUCTION T he Second World War was the largest and of the Allies and the re-establishment of a more costliest war in human history. when German armies conquered part of the world unaffected. element in 1941 and 1942 when the Western Allies like separate fires growing into a single inferno: were struggling to avoid defeat in the Pacific and the European conflict over German efforts to Atlantic. their populations. but called for the most supreme of efforts. to co-ordinate their activities and to keep of easy German victories was over.

was under growing threat in North IR the Axis powers in Europe. European imperial possessions from India to the but by mid-1941 the British Empire. 1939 XXX Japanese Airbourne Corps XX French Division X Brigade British EUROPE MAP KEY III Soviet FRONTIERS. The Allies had more success in territory and was poised to threaten the eastern the naval war and in sub-Saharan Africa. Japan's Wars in China. Sinking the Bismarck. fighting Dutch East Indies.CH IN A Italy's Wars. in eastern Asia. came to dominate most of the from the expanding Japanese Empire. 13 December 1939 A F RI CA 10 . and Italy. 1941 XXXXX JAPANESE EMPIRE. 7 December 1940–9 February 1941 1931–39 L I B Y A EGYPT I N D I A Formosa SIAM F REN CH Seville P A C I F I C FRENCH WEST A F R I C A O C E A N S U DA N ERITREA I N D O . which Cor European continent from Norway in the north to by mid-1941 reached down deep into Chinese Crete in the south. Germany Africa and the Middle East and. 5 August–16 May 1941 BELGIAN DUTCH EAST INDIES CONGO TA N G A N YI K A B R A Z I L PERU S O U T H ANGOLA A T L A N T I C O C E A N I N D I A N O C E A N M O R O C C O A U S T R A L I A SOUTH A R G EN T I N A Battle of the River Plate. 1935–39 PH ILIPPIN E S A F R I C A A B YS S I N I A I TA L I A N SOMALILAND Ceylon Gibraltar CO LO MB IA M A L AY S TAT E S (British) K E N YA The East African Campaigns. GENERAL MAP KEY — TO SPREAD MAPS WORLD MAP KEY 24–27 May 1941 Military units Nationalities Military types FRONTIERS. World War II A T L A N T I C OPERATIONS 1931–1941 O C E A N B etween September 1939 and May 1941 alone. 1941 B a y o Regiment II Other (named) AXIS STATES AXIS CONQUERED TERRITORY B i s c a Battalion I Company AXIS ALLIES VICHY FRANCE AND TERRITORIES Oviedo Porto U N I O N O F S O V I E T L G R E AT Douro A B R I TA I N S O C I A L I S T R E P U B L I C S GERMANY C A N A D A POLAND F R A N C E G M A N CH U RIA Karafuto U M O N G O L I A Lisbon Ta g u s T Caspian Madrid I T A LY Sea R N O R T H T U RK E Y U N I T E D S TAT E S KO RE A J A PA N A T L A N T I C S P A I O OF AMERICA see map right C H I N A O C E A N P E RS I A Operation “Compass”– I RAQ P Defeat of Italy in North Africa. 1937 Army Group German Infantry XXXX Army Italian Armour ITALY'S AFRICAN EMPIRE.

11 November 1940 28 October 1940 M e d i t e r r a n e a n S e a G R E E C E T U R K Izmir Athens Sicily Patra A e g e a n A L G E R I A S e a RHODES T U N I S I A Malta (British) Matapan. BELGIUM Warsaw Brest 27 May–4 June 1940 Lille Germany Invades in the West. Leipzig Brussels 10–27 May 1940 P O L A N D U N I O N Brest Se G E R M A N Y Wroclaw Germany Invades Poland. Taranto. 1939 Dunkirk. Rotterdam Berlin Hanover July–October 1940 Division of Poland under the Elbe Oder Nazi-Soviet Pact. 20 May–1 June 1941 . 1939 Sardinia ALBANIA Italian Invasion of Greece. Hamburg 7 September 1940– NETHERLANDS Bremen EAST a PRUSSIA tul 16 May 1941 London Amsterdam Minsk S O V I E Vi s Battle of Britain. Prague Dn 4–17 June 1940 Lvov iep er ine Strassburg be BOHEMIA Danu Rh F R A N C E o f Munich S L O V A K I A Dn ies Vienna ter Loire a y Berne AUSTRIA Budapest SWITZERLAND Bordeaux H U N G A R Y Lyons Odessa Milan Bilbao Toulouse e Rhôn Turin I German Invasion R O M A N I A Genoa of Yugoslavia and Greece 6–27 April1941 Belgrade Marseille Bucharest T Zaragoza Y U G O S L A V I A Danube Barcelona B l a c A B U L G A R I A N Corsica S e a Sofia Burgas Rome L Valencia Edirne Tirana Istanbul Naples Italian annexation Y Salonika Balaerics of Albania. 28 March 1941 CRETE German Conquest of Crete. Stockholm 9 April–9 June 1940 Tallinn ESTONIA Glasgow S W E D E N Edinburgh Pskov N o r t h S e a Riga RELAND Dublin U N I T E D LATVIA DENMARK B a l t i c rk Liverpool Manchester LITHUANIA Copenhagen S e a K I N G D O M Smolensk Vilnius Birmingham Königsberg Danzig German Blitz on Britain. FINLAND Soviet-Finnish War NORWAY 30 November 1939–12 Mar Helsinki 30 November 1939–12 March 1940 Oslo Leningrad German Invasion of Norway. ine LUXEMBOURG Frankfurt 1 September 1939 Kiev Paris Kraków Nantes Fall of France.

the Axis powers ruled almost unchallenged over Western Europe. Caen 19 August 1942 Se A U S T R A L I A ine Operation “Ironclad”: Paris Commando Raids: S OU T H the Allied conquest of Madagascar. 1942 Borneo Celebes Hollan Hungarian DUTCH EAST INDIES New Infantry AXIS ALLIED The Fall of Singapore. Soviet LIMIT OF JAPANESE SIAM 8 December– III EXPANSION. 1942 Rangoon F RE NCH 11 May 1941 Manila Regiment I ND O- French PHILIPPINES II CH I NA Battalion Romanian Saigon Corregidor: the Fall of I Ceylon the Philippines. AFRICA 5 May–5 November 1942 3 March 1941–27 March 1942 Lo Nantes ire F R A N C E GENERAL MAP KEY — TO SPREAD MAPS MID EAST MAP KEY M O N G O L I A M AN C HUR I A Military units Nationalities FRENCH MANDATE. This permitted Hitler to launch an unprovoked invasion of the Soviet Union in autumn 1941. 1942 Airbourne I N D I A N O C E A N LIMIT OF AXIS EXPANSION AU S T R A L I A Mechanised EASTWARDS. from Norway to St. Formosa Iw XX United States 1942 Kunming Blitzkrieg in Asia: Division BU R M A Japan attacks JAPANESE ALLIED Hong Kong Malaya. Glasgow Edinburgh U N I O N O F S O V I E T IRELAND The Battle of the Atlantic. TO VICHY FRANCE XXXXX KORE A JA Army Group German C H I N A Tokyo XXXX Italian Japan conquers Burma. X British STATES Dutch East Indies Brigade I N D I A and The Philippines. 1942 12 . 1942 7–15 February 1942 Jakata Other (named) Armour Timor Port AXIS OCCUPIED. Nazaire.Burma. Cork 9–12 August 1941 ITALY K I N G D O M J A PA N Birmingham U N I T E D S TAT E S SEE BOTTOM RIGHT C H I N A OF AMERICA A T L A N T I C I N D I A P A C I F I C London O C E A N F R E NC H W E S T Plymouth AFRICA O C E A N A t l a n t i c Portsmouth E n g l i s h C h a n n e l O c e a n Cherbourg IN DIAN Lill B R A Z I L O CEAN SEE BOTTOM LEFT Brest The Dieppe Raid. Company Finnish EUROPE MAP KEY MALAY STATES 7–8 May 1942 Singapore Military types Vichy (named) AXIS STATE. Nanking Army XXX FAR EAST MAP KEY 20 January–16 June 1942 Shanghai Japanese Corps JAPANESE EMPIRE.World War II OPERATIONS 1941—1942 F rom May 1941 to summer of the following year. S O C I A L I S T R E P U B L I C S U N I T E D January 1942– March 1943 GREAT Dublin BRITAIN C A N A D A GERMANY Liverpool Manchester FRANCE SEE RIGHT The Atlantic Charter. STATES.

and. (Vichy) 8 June–14 July 1941 Operation “Crusader”: LEBANON Cyrenaica recaptured. Nazaire. Elbe 20 January 1942 Gomel Bomber Raid: Warsaw Brest Brussels Oder e Cologne. pushing the paralysed the War. Kursk The Thousand. N O R W A Y FINLAND Oslo Helsinki Leningrad Stockholm The Siege of Leningrad. despite reaching British forces out of the Malay peninsula and Americans out of the Philippines and a series of into the Caucasus the next spring. other island positions in the Pacific. I R A N 7 December 1941 Aleppo Malta (April–August) 1942 Rhodes Mosul Saipan Crete CYPRUS SYRIA Guam TUNISIA (British) Nicosia The Allied Invasion of iraq & Syria. never quite capturing the vital strategic position of Singapore. Metz Dni 28 June–19 August 1942 Stuttgart BOHEMIA Lemberg UKRAINE epe r MORAVIA ine Strassburg be Danu Rh Dnepropetrovsk n Munich SLOVAKIA Dni Do est er Taganrog Rostov-on-Don Budapest Debrecen Nikolayev H U N G A R Y Kherson Chisinau Sea of Odessa Azov A PA N Perekop Kerch Black CRIMEA Into the Caucasus. ina DENMARK B a l t i c Dünaburg 30 September–14 December 1941 L I T H U A N I A Ryazan Tula Copenhagen S e a Smolensk Wilna U N I O N Königsberg REICHSKOMMISSARIAT Danzig Hamburg Mogilev Orel EAST OSTLAND Tambov Dnieper NETHERLANDS Bremen PRUSSIA Briansk Saratov Stettin a tul Amsterdam Minsk Vi s Rotterdam Berlin Hanover The Wannsee Conference and the “Final Solution”. Mediterranean Sea Beirut 18 November 1941– Damascus Baghdad Tripoli 21 January 1942 Crisis in Egypt: Tobruk Gazala and Tobruk. L I B Y A 5–7 May 1942 (Italian Empire) 13 . Commando Raids: Reval 8 September 1941–27 January 1944) from Norway to St. however. launching a 1941. Benghazi 14–21 June 1942 I R A Q Gilbert Jerusalem Amman Islands PALESTINE Basra ndia ALGERIA Alexandria (Vichy) TRANSJORDAN w Guinea Rabaul Cairo Suez Kuwait Battle for the Solomons. 7 August–27 October 1942 24 March–17 June 1941 Moresby E G Y P T The limit of Japanese expansion: SAUDI ARABIA Battle of the Coral Sea. 30 May 1942 Leipzig Lodz GENERAL BELGIUM U K R A I N E GOVERNMENT Breslau Frankfurt Operation “Barbarossa”. a serious succeeded in defeating the Soviets. Sea 4–5 June 1942 R O M A N I A Sevastopol Novorossiisk O C E A N wo Jima Midway Hawaiian G R E E C E Palermo I T A L Y Islands Izmir T U R K E Y Athens Mariana Sicily Adana Wake Island Pearl Harbor. In eastern The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December naval check at Midway showed their over- Asia. S O V I E T 3 March 1941–27 March 1942 E S T O N I A S W E D E N Rybinsk Yaroslavl V ol ga Gorkiyatov Gothenburg Pskov N o r t h Vladimir S e a Riga Moscow L A T V I A Operation “Typhoon”: Dv the Battle for Moscow. brought the United States into extended perimeter’s vulnerability. Kharkov Stalingrad Vo l g a Kiev LUXEMBOURG G R E A T E R G E R M A N Y 22 June–30 September 1941 Operation “Blue”: Prague Cracow REICHSKOMMISSARIAT the German advance to Stalingrad. and. Timisoara 25 July–9 November 1942 P A C I F I C The Battle of Midway. Operations 1941—1942 which after initial rapid advances stalled outside series of lightning assaults. Defeat in North Africa. though Japan’s forces pushed the Moscow in the winter snow. Tunis Islands The Siege of Malta. the Japanese joined the conflict.

1942 Hungarian AXIS ALLIED Infantry STATES. 1943 Casablanca Teheran U N I T E D S TAT E S C H I N A SEE RIGHT The French Resistance OF AMERICA A T L A N T I C I N D I A Nantes FRENCH WEST P A C I F I C O C E A N AFRICA O C E A N F R I N DI AN B R A Z I L Bordeaux O C E AN SEE BOTTOM RIGHT A U S T R A L I A Bilbao Toulouse L SOUTH Eb AFRICA ro A Do ur G o T U Ta g u s Madrid R P O Barcelona GENERAL MAP KEY — TO SPREAD MAPS S P A I N Military units Nationalities Balearics XXXXX Army Group German XXXX Army Italian XXX FAR EAST MAP KEY Gibraltar (British) Japanese Corps JAPANESE EMPIRE. In 1942 Japanese advances into south-east Asia. 1942 Other (named) Armour AXIS OCCUPIED. SPAINISH MOROCCO XX United States 1942 Algiers Oran Division JAPANESE ALLIED X British STATES Brigade Soviet LIMIT OF JAPANESE III EXPANSION. 1943 U N I O N O F S O V I E T Plymouth S O C I A L I S T R E P U B L I C S A t l a n t i c E n g l i s h GREAT C A N A D A BRITAIN O c e a n Cherbourg GERMANY FRANCE The Big Three: Brest ITALY The Teheran Conference.World War II OPERATIONS 1942—1944 T he years 1942–1944 were the turning point of the war.–Feb. Burma and the Pacific islands created a large new area of Japanese imperial rule. 8 Nov. 1942 A F R I C A Airbourne LIMIT OF AXIS EXPANSION Mechanised EASTWARDS. 1942 Regiment French II Operation “Torch”. 1943 Battalion Romanian I Company Finnish EUROPE MAP KEY MOROCCO A L G Military types Vichy (named) AXIS STATE. 1943 “Unconditional Surrender”. The Casablanca Conference: 28 Nov. J A PA N 14–24 Jan. 26–27 Dec. In Germany. 1942 14 . following a slowdown IRELAND U N Dublin Cork K I N Rationing: the War for Food Battle of the North Cape: the sinking of the Scharnhorst.–1 Dec.

1943 Lo Stuttgart BOHEMIA Lemberg UKRAINE ep er ine ire Strassburg The Soviet Counter-Stroke: be Danu Rh Dnepropetrovsk Operation “Uranus”. Lille The Battle for Stalingrad Dambusters.–22 Jun. a point on the Allies began to organise an effective invaded in 1943 and surrendered in September renewed campaign in southern Russia brought defence and then begin a slow programme of of that year.–30 Apr. Tokyo 8 Feb.–13 May Malta Borneo (British) Celebes Hollandia 1943 DUTCH EAST INDIES New Guinea Rabaul Solomon E R I A M e d i t e r r a n e a n Jakata Islands T U N I S I A S e a Timor Port Moresby Mareth Guadalcanal. Metz Prague Dni 23 Aug. Italy: Invasion and Surrender. 1944 Islands 19 Feb. 1944 Wake Island 3–8 Sep. 1943 Tripoli Dera N TINE Benghazi Second Alamein. By the middle of 1944 mountains.– 6 Nov. Italy was for Europe and the Far East. From this which pushed the Axis forces back. 13–30 Aug. 19 Nov.– Anzio Monte Cassino. Operations 1942—1944 of the German attack in the winter of 1941–2. S W E D E N Vladimir Riga Moscow I T E D L A T V I A Dv S O V I E T N o r t h DENMARK ina B a l t i c L I T H U A N I A Dünaburg Liverpool S e a Ryazan Manchester Tula Copenhagen S e a G D O M The Bombing of Hamburg: Wilna Smolensk Birmingham Operation “Gomorrah”. 20 Nov. and the Red Army reached into the German forces to the Volga and the Caucasus offensives in the Pacific islands.1942 Alam Halfa. 24–25 Jul. In North Africa by mid-1942 Axis African desert and deep inside Soviet territory the stage was set for the final desperate struggle forces were deep in Egyptian territory.–9 May 1943 the Chindits in Burma. in the North Ukraine by the end of 1943. SIAM The Gilbert and Marshall Palermo 8 May–3 Jul. 1942–8 Feb. 1943 Battle for India: Islands Island-Hopping in the Pacific: s Imphal. Mariana 18 April–Nov. 1942 SLOVAKIA Dni Munich est A N C E Vienna er Taganrog Rostov-on-Don SWITZERLAND AUSTRIA Budapest Debrecen Kherson Nikolayev H U N G A R Y Lyons Chisinau Sea of Azov Odessa Perekop Kerch e Rhôn Trieste Black CRIMEA Turin Po Timisoara Sea Novorossiisk R O M A N I A Sevastopol I Genoa C R O A T I A T Marseille M O N G O L I A MANCHURIA A Corsica L Rome C H I N A KO R E A J A PA N The Battle for Y Anzio. 1944 Messina Kohima.–19 Nov. 1943 BELGIUM 7 May 1943 GENERAL U K R A I N E 19 Aug. INDO. Rangoon FRENCH Manila Saipan Islands.–17 Feb.. C h a n n e l Kursk 19 Nov. codes and EAST NETHERLANDS Bremen PRUSSIA Briansk a deception Stettin Saratov tul London Amsterdam Minsk Vi s Rotterdam Hanover Berlin Portsmouth Defeat at Stalingrad. 1943 P A C I F I C Nanking Shanghai O C E A N Naples Salerno Iwo Jima Midway Sardini a Taranto Kunming Formosa Cagliari Hawaiian I N D I A Japan’s War in China: Islands BU R M A Hong Kong Operation “Ichi-Go”. RDA The Tide Turns in North Africa: 23 Oct. Guam 4 Apr. 1942 Caen GOVERNMENT Don Se Frankfurt Wroclaw Kharkov Vo l g a ine G E R M A N E M P I R E Kiev LUXEMBOURG Stalingrad Paris From Kharkov to Kiev: Cracow REICHSKOMMISSARIAT the Red Army Breaks Through.– 2 Feb. I N D I A N O C E A N AUSTRALIA 12 Nov. 1943 Ceylon M ALAY STATES Operation “Cartwheel”: The End of the Axis the war for New Guinea.–17 Aug. 1942 S PALE SJO Alexandria TRAN El Alamein Suez Canal L I B Y A El Agheila E G Y P T le Ni 15 .–Mar. 22 Jan. Leipzig Lodz 5–13 Jul. 1943 Elbe Partisan War Warsaw Brest Gomel Brussels Oder The Battle of Kursk. 1943 REICHSKOMMISSARIAT U N I O N Danzig Königsberg Mogilev Orel The Secret War: Hamburg OSTLAND Tambov Dnieper spies.–4 Nov. Operation “Longshot”: 24 May 1944 17 Jan. 1944 PHILIPPINES Marshall CHINA Islands Tunis Operation “Husky”: Saigon Truk the Capture of Sicily.– 24 Dec. 9 Jul. Singapore 30 Jun. Gilbert in Africa: Tunisia.

World War II

OPERATIONS 1944—1945 T
he last eighteen months of war saw the
German and Japanese empires forced back
on all fronts. The invasion of northern
France in June 1944 opened up the path to the
heart of German resistance. In Italy progress was


Cork Manchester


The V-Weapons Campaign,
U N I O N O F S O V I E T 13 June 1944–29 March 1945
Plymouth London
GREAT The Yalta Conference,
C A N A D A BRITAIN 5–11 February 1945 Portsmouth
FRANCE A t l a n t i c
Yalta E n g l i s h C h a n n e l
Liberation from Within, SEE RIGHT J A PA N O c e a n Cherbourg
U N I T E D S TAT E S C H I N A Lille
A T L A N T I C D-Day, 6 June 1944
I N D I A Brest
Breakout: Operation “Cobra”,

A FR I C A 25 July–25 August 1944

Battle for Normandy, Paris
7 June–24 July 1944 The Liberation
I N DI AN of Paris,
B R A Z I L 19–25 August 1944
Nantes ire




Military units Nationalities
Army Group German Bilbao

Army Italian
FAR EAST MAP KEY The End of Vichy France:
Japanese Eb Operation “Dragoon”,
Corps JAPANESE EMPIRE, 14 August–14 September 1944
XX United States 1942
Division Marseille
X British STATES
Regiment Barcelona
Battalion Romanian
Company Finnish EUROPE MAP KEY
Military types Vichy (named) AXIS STATE, 1942

STATES, 1942
Other (named)
Mechanised EASTWARDS, 1942


Operations 1944—1945

slow up the narrow, mountainous peninsula. In the island. The army attacked through the Philippines,
east, Soviet armies pushed into Poland by August the US Navy through the islands of the central
1944, and into Germany itself by the start of 1945. Pacific, finally seizing Okinawa by June 1945
Berlin was captured in May. In the Pacific, Japanese and paving the way for possible invasion. Atomic
resistance had to be worn down slowly, island by bombs ended the war in the Pacific in August 1945.


B a l t i c
L I T H U A N I A Dünaburg
S e a
N o r t h Copenhagen

July Plot: Smolensk
S e a Wilna
the Coup that Failed,
20 July 1944 Königsberg
Danzig Rastenburg Mogilev
Hamburg The German Surrender,
7–11 May 1945 Operation “Bagration”,
EAST 22 June–19 August 1944


Vi s t
Liberation of thecamps: Bergen-Belsen,
Amsterdam 15 April 1945 Minsk
Rotterdam Operation “Market Garden”,
17–26 september 1944 Hanover Berlin
Soviet Advance on Germany:
Defeat of the Luftwaffe,
March–September 1944
Vistula–-Oder offensive, S O V I E T
Battle for Berlin, 12 January–2 February 1945
16 April–2 May 1945
G E R M A N Last days in Hitler's bunker,
1 April–2 May 1945
Warsaw Brest Gomel
Brussels The Western Advance From World War to The Warsaw Uprising,
into Germany: from the Cold War, 1945–1949 Oder 1 August–2 October 1944
BELGIUM Rhine to the Elbe,
Leipzig U N I O N

7 March–25 April 1945

LUXEMBOURG Behind Barbed Wire:
the Fate of the POWs GENERAL
Frankfurt Kiev
The Battle of the Bulge, GOVERNMENT
16 December 1944–
7 February 1945 E M P I R E Prague Cracow
Metz Nuremberg per
Liberation of the
The War Crimes Trials, BOHEMIA

Camps: Auschwitz,
Stuttgart 1945–1949 Lemberg

Strassburg 27 January 1945
be U K R A I N E
Munich Dni
Vienna est
SWITZERLAND Budapest Debrecen


J A PA N The Japanese Surrender,
Milan P A C I F I C
C H I N A KOREA 14 August–2 September 1945
Turin The Atomic Bombs,
Hiroshima Tokyo O C E A N
6–9 August 1945 The Firebombing of Tokyo,
Po Nagasaki 9–10 March 1945
Genoa Shanghai Iwo Jima,
Victory in Italy, 19 February–26 March 1945
Okinawa, Iwo Jima
1 April–2 May 1945 Midway
23 March–30 June 1945 Okinawa

Hong Kong

Battle of the Philippine Sea, Hawaiian
Victory in Burma, 19–21 June 1944 Mariana Wake Island

January– SIAM Islands
28 August 1945 Rangoon FRENCH Manila Saipan The Marianas: Defence to the Death,
INDO- PHILIPPINES 15 June–10 August 1944

Corsica Stalemate in Italy,
The Battle of Leyte Gulf,
5 June–31 December 1944 Saigon 23–26 October 1944 Truk

Ceylon Islands
Rome The Recapture of the Philippines
MALAY STATES 20 October 1944–14 August 1945
Anzio Islands
Borneo Hollandia
Naples Jakata Islands
Sardinia Timor Port Moresby



World War II

28 JUNE 1919 10 JANUARY 1920 1 DECEMBER 1925 10 SEPTEMBER 1926 29 OCTOBER 1929 9 JULY 1932
Treaty of Versailles League of Nations Locarno Treaty Germany is admitted Wall Street Crash Lausanne conference

1919 – 1929 signed by German
delegation in Paris.
opening session. signed confirming
the post-war
settlement in
to the League
of Nations.
triggers worldwide
economic slump.
suspends German
reparation payments.

Western Europe.

he formal end of hostilities in the First BELOW: The building assigned to the League of Nations in Geneva.
World War on 11 November 1918 left The assembly moved to Switzerland in 1920, meeting here with 38 member states.

Europe shattered by four years of the
bloodiest conflict in history: more than 8,000,000
had been killed; twice as many maimed; millions
more the victims of starvation or disease brought
on by wartime conditions. There existed at its
conclusion a widespread popular desire that this
really would be “the war to end war”.
The settlement arranged by the victorious
Allies at Versailles between 1919 and 1920 was
supposed to build the foundations of a durable
peace. The principles behind the settlement were
first declared by the American President Woodrow
Wilson in January 1918 in the form of Fourteen
Points. The most important of them committed
the Allies to allowing those nationalities of
Europe previously dominated by the pre-war
dynastic empires of Germany, Austria-Hungary
and Russia to establish independent nation For all the idealism of the victor powers, the at their treatment. Germany was treated with
states. Wilson hoped that all Europe’s states settlement was far from ideal. Self-determination extreme severity: areas of East Prussia and Silesia
would adopt a democratic form of rule. There was was difficult to organize in practice because were handed over to Poland; the Saar industrial
also a commitment to of the extensive ethnic mixing in region was internationalized; the Rhineland
international collaboration central and eastern Europe. Many provinces were demilitarized; Germany was
through what became Europeans ended up living under allowed only a tiny 100,000-man armed force
known as the League of the rule of a quite different ethnic for internal security; and a bill of reparations,
Nations, whose members majority: Germans in Czechoslovakia finally settled at 132 billion gold marks, would
were to pledge themselves and Poland; Hungarians in Romania; have required Germany to pay out to the Allies
to the principle that all Ukrainians in Poland. Britain, France until 1980. Disarmed, impoverished and shorn
future conflicts between and Italy refused to extend “self- of territory, Germany had more reason than any
them should be resolved determination” to their colonial other power to overturn the Versailles Settlement
by negotiation rather than empires. Britain and France took at the first opportunity.
through war. over control of former German and
Turkish territory as mandates from
the League, but then treated them as
simple additions to their empires. The
ABOVE: German statesman Gustav defeated powers, Germany, Austria,
Stresemann who, as German Foreign
Hungary and Bulgaria, all lost territory
Minister between 1924 and 1929, tried
to pursue a policy of “fulfilment” of the as a result of the settlement and
terms of the Treaty of Versailles. remained embittered and resentful

The victorious powers met in Paris in the first half of 1919 to decide the fate
of the defeated nations, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The
discussions were dominated by Britain, France and the United States. Russia,
recently plunged into revolution, was not invited despite the great losses
suffered at German hands during the war. Italy and Japan were also victors, but
ABOVE: Lloyd George, felt cheated by the results of the conference. Italy failed to get the territory
Georges Clemenceau and promised to her as the price of joining the war in 1915. Japan resented the second-
Woodrow Wilson at the class status accorded her as a non-white power. The final settlement, signed on ABOVE: A brigade of the new Red Army parades through Kharkov
Versailles Conference, 1919. 28 June 1919 at the Palace of Versailles, sowed the seeds of future crisis. in 1920 during the Russian Civil War, which ended with Communist
victory a year later.


Forging the Peace

The League of Nations was also flawed from the
start. The American Senate rejected the Versailles
Treaty in 1920, and the League opened its sessions
in 1920 without the world’s richest and potentially
most powerful state, while Russia and Germany
were excluded from the League. The organization
was dominated by Britain and France, but it
was never clear how the cluster of small states
represented in the League could really prevent
future conflicts, and general war-weariness meant
that it was never really tested in the 1920s. In 1926,
Germany was finally admitted, but remained
resentful of the failure of other states to disarm
as they had promised under the terms of the
covenant of the League. These resentments were
exacerbated by the problems of economic revival
after the war; a brief American-led boom in the
mid-1920s masked a deeper economic malaise. movement in Germany led by Adolf Hitler ABOVE: Anxious shareholders stand outside the New York Stock
Hyper-inflation in Germany, Austria and the states had become the largest party in the German Exchange on 24 October 1929, a few days before the disastrous
Wall Street Crash which precipitated the world slump.
of eastern Europe peaked in 1923–24, leaving an parliament, arguing for an end to reparations and
embittered and impoverished middle class whose the overturning of the Versailles settlement. In
savings were wiped out. Trade failed to reach Japan the slump provoked another nationalist
pre-war levels and even victor countries in Europe backlash and, in 1931, army leaders launched a
were saddled with high war debts. Economic crisis campaign in northern China to seize economic
provoked social unrest and political polarization resources to aid the Japanese economy. The
which made it difficult to maintain democracy. League did nothing to halt the economic slide or
In Italy, Benito Mussolini, leader of a new radical the emergence of a violent nationalism, and by the
nationalist Fascist Party, was made premier in 1930s war was once again a strong possibility.
1922 and had created a one-party dictatorship by
1926. In 1923, a coup brought a military dictator in
Spain, General Primo de Rivera; three years later BELOW: The veteran British pacifist George Lansbury pictured
in 1929. He helped to lead the widespread anti-war movement in
the Polish Marshal Pilsudski led an army coup Britain in the 1920s and 1930s.
in Poland. The newly-created Soviet Union was a
one-party state almost from the start.
The shift to authoritarian rule was accelerated ABOVE: Signing the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war, Paris, 27
by the economic slump that followed the Wall August 1928. Although Germany, Italy, Japan and the USSR signed
Street Crash in October 1929. The crisis of the the Pact they all resorted to war in the 1930s.

capitalist system was the worst the world had
seen, throwing more than 40 million out of work
worldwide. Within four years, a mass nationalist

BELOW: Turkish troops camped near Smyrna in September 1922
at the height of the Graeco-Turkish war over control of western
Turkey, eventually won by the Turks. Turkey’s independence was
established by the Treaty of Lausanne in August 1923.

The Versailles settlement was supposed to
produce a general disarmament even among the
victorious powers. As the principal defeated
protagonist, Germany was compelled to disarm.
Its main arms and aircraft factories and naval
dockyards were destroyed or converted to
peacetime production. The large numbers of
aircraft left over in 1919 were scrapped (shown
above); German frontier fortifications were blown
up. The German fleet had to be surrendered to the
British even before the treaty was signed. Although
Britain and France did reduce their military forces
and budgets, they failed to honour the pledge to
produce universal disarmament, provoking strong
resentment at Germany’s unequal treatment, and
encouraging a wave of German nationalism.


World War II

FEBRUARY 1933 FEBRUARY 1936 25 NOVEMBER 1936 29 JULY 1937 13 DECEMBER 1937 20 AUGUST 1939 12 OCTOBER 1940
30 NOVEMBER 1939
The League of Nations “The February Anti-Comintern Pact Japan occupies Japan attacks the Soviet forces The Imperial Rule
censures Japan Incident” – Young signed between Beijing and US gunboat Panay attack Japanese Assistance Association
12 MARCH 1940 for occupation of
Manchuria following a
army officers
murder opponents
Germany and Japan
to unite in combatting
begins an eight
year war with
on the Yangtse River
creating a temporary
in Mongolian-
is founded to force
political parties into a
League mission under of militaristic the Moscow-based China. crisis in US-Japanese border incident at single nationalist bloc.
Lord Lytton. nationalism in Tokyo. Communist International. relations. Nomanhan.

etween 1931 and the end of the Second
World War in 1945, the Japanese army
fought a vicious and intermittent war on
the Chinese mainland. The whole 14-year war
cost China more than 15 million civilian deaths.
Japan’s war for Asia was the last act of an epoch of
violent imperialism and among the most savage.
Hidden away from the glare of world publicity, the
Japanese occupiers indulged in continuous and
systematic atrocities against the populations
under their control.
Japan had been an imperial power since the
nineteenth century, annexing present-day
Taiwan in 1895 and Korea in 1910. In May 1915,
Japan began to encroach on Chinese sovereignty
as China collapsed into political chaos, its
territory fought over by competing warlords. In
the 1920s a Japanese army – the Kwantung – was
stationed in the northern Chinese province of
Manchuria to safeguard Japanese economic
interests. The military leadership was keen to
Japanese Empire, 1930 Attempted Japanese northern state puppet regime, 1935 Extent of Japanese advance to 1939
increase Japan’s imperial influence in China, and
Occupied by Japan, 1931 Japanese advances, 1937–39
BELOW: Japanese soldiers fire from behind sandbag defences
in the attack on the Chinese port city of Shanghai in autumn 1937
following a major amphibious assault on the coastline.

Japanese soldiers
stand guard on
top of a train in
Manchuria in
December 1931
to warn of the
approach of
Chinese bandit
forces following
the seizure of
the province in
September that

CHIANG KAISHEK (1887–1975)
At the end of the First World War, China was in chaos. The
Manchu dynasty had been overthrown in 1912 and much of
China was ruled by rival independent warlords. In 1924, the main
LEFT: A 1935
nationalist movement, the Guomindang, established a regime
postage stamp
based at Canton, but which controlled very little. By 1926, a
from Manchukuo
young army officer, Chiang Kaishek, had emerged as the leading
Guomindang figure and he began a decade of reunification. His
showing Pu Yi,
early alliance with the Chinese communists was broken in 1927
the last Manchu
when he destroyed the party in China’s eastern cities. Step by
Emperor and the
step, he forced warlords to accept Nationalist rule from the new
puppet ruler of the
Chinese capital at Nanjing, and by 1936 was undisputed leader of
new Japanese-
around two-thirds of the country.


On 27 July. Japanese forces were expansion in Asia. 21 . All incident was then used to justify the rapid 90. some in beheading competitions. which ended only with Japan’s at the cost of a major war that they had neither surrender eight years later. declared that Japan was now going Kaishek had tried to create. but posed little the Asian New Order.000 trekked the 5. stationing one of their garrisons in the old imperial serious threat to the Japanese invaders. Japanese forces spread rapidly expansion did pose a direct threat to Soviet into central China. at Changkufen in 1938 and at Nomonhan December – after which Chiang Kaishek retreated in 1939. power destroyed the unified Chinese state Chiang the Long March of Chinese Communists in 1934 to the Chinese Prince Konoye. was “probably Manchukuo created in 1932. while Manchuria’s rich mineral and food supplies were brought RIGHT: Japanese soldiers using stripped and bound Chinese men as live targets for bayonet practice after the capture of under Japanese control.000 and 350. member of the League.000 Chinese soldiers taken prisoner were Japanese occupation of much of the province. By 1939. and the 260. largely independent of the government in was one of the most horrific episodes in the long Tokyo. from the southern Yangtze River the provinces of Jehol. Japan’s to a new capital at Chungking – and Canton on the government and armed forces preferred to look south China coast in October 1938. full-scale war began between Chinese Nationalist Japanese aggression only because there was no and Communist forces and the Japanese army effective way of expelling Japan’s army except of occupation. the Japanese prime minister.000 Chinese were murdered. and army into further aggression: a small incident at to the northern province of Inner Mongolia. two short campaigns 1937. by the “last emperor” Pu Yi. Using the railways the will nor resources to begin. and in 1933 Japan left the organization. proved powerless to stop a clumsy fake attack on a Japanese-controlled them. thousands of Chinese women of all ages were raped liang. Chang Hsueh. Tens of The incumbent Chinese warlord. In September 1931. the Japanese army captured prospects were used as excuses for the Japanese Chiang Kaishek’s capital at Nanjing. What followed army. Matsui told an American journalist a few days later. The Japanese used bombing indiscriminately in China. Communist south to the oilfields and minerals of old European guerrillas under Mao Zedong dominated the empires for the next stage of the construction of remoter regions of northwest China. the Kwantung Army staged General Iwane Matsui. Although they were a the Chinese capital in December 1937. the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing on 7 July rapidly The sudden expansion of Japanese imperial BELOW: Communist leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai during escalated. Post-war estimates suggest that between railway near Mukden in Manchuria. Japan’s aggression was not reversed by the other powers.000 to create a “New Order” in Asia. Japan dominated most major cities and arteries of pushed into northern China. including poison gas. most of them amid scenes of terrible cruelty. BELOW: The destruction of the railway station in Shanghai during the Japanese attack in 1937. When Japanese and river valleys. which tolerated miles to escape Chinese Nationalists. Around 100. allowed weeks of uninhibited violence against the defenceless population while their commander. The Japanese army. was driven out and a new puppet state of and then killed. capturing Shanghai in October interests in Mongolia. killed. Japan’s War in China the rise of Chinese nationalism – directed at the Japanese presence – and the catastrophic effects THE “RAPE OF NANKING” of the 1929 world slump on Japan’s economic On 13 December 1937. Japan’s army capital city of Beijing. nominally ruled the most undisciplined army in the world”. Over the next three years. Within weeks. to embark on a programme of military Sino-Japanese conflict. It brought Japan into interior province of Yan’an. a conflict with Western powers. taking control of Growing Chinese resistance sucked the Japanese communication. Chahar and Hopeh. both won by the Soviet Red Army. the Chinese Nationalist capital Nanjing in resulted.

273. but oil was still supplied by the United States.000 Ethiopians dead against total Italian casualties of 1. To clear resistance. Britain. Mussolini tried to turn these aspirations into reality.000. create “Stresa Front” of Italy. protest in Italy. by the early 1930s. Italian aircraft before becoming Governor of Libya. which defied the ban. Mussolini wanted Italian forces to appear thoroughly modern as befitted the 31 March 1936 at Mai Ceu on the road to the new Fascist dictatorship. The decisive battle took place on the “Great White Father”. of General Emilio De Bono. France and Germany fails to operate Mussolini meet for the first time in Venice. in 1934 and Commander-in-Chief dropped mustard-gas bombs on Ethiopian villages province of Tigre are forced to show their support for Mussolini. where some 30–35. In 1934 he began to plan for an Italian invasion of the independent East African state of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). provoking “Axis” established. No Fascist leader better exemplified this identification against poorly armed Ethiopian troops was slow with the air than the flamboyant Italo Balbo. Italy’s North ABOVE: Abyssinians in November 1935 in the captured African colony. Addis Ababa in October Once the Fascist regime had been consolidated 1935 in anticipation of Italian gas attacks. Four days later. He was a and soldiers. Heavy artillery and machine-gun fire left 8. LEFT: Members of the Italian Thirteenth two weeks after Italy declared war on Britain. Benito Mussolini. Britain and oil sanctions against Italy. skilful pilot and undertook a number of famous long-distance flights. as he believed. introduces anti- Semitic laws into Italy. On 5 May 1936. the Italian army under Badoglio entered Addis Ababa. Mussolini now moved closer to Hitler’s Germany. the peace. I taly was the second League state in the 1930s to violate the organization’s commitment to peace and “collective security”. and by Romania. After Mai Ceu. The result was Italy’s international isolation: the League voted for trade and oil sanctions against Italy. the best known in 1933 from Rome to Chicago and New York.World War II ITALY’S WARS 15 JULY 1933 14–15 JUNE 1934 11 APRIL 1935 MARCH 1936 OCTOBER 1936 6 NOVEMBER 1938 22 MAY 1939 Four-Power Pact signed Hitler and Agreement to League agree Rome-Berlin Mussolini Pact of Steel signed 1935–1939 in Rome between Italy. he was Marshal Pietro Badoglio. the road to the capital was open. after which the pace promoted to Air Minister between 1929 and 1933 quickened. and in November De Bono was replaced with Fascist leader in the Italian city of Ferrara. Mussolini announced to an ecstatic crowd in Rome the creation of the new Italian empire in Africa. between Mussolini and Hitler pledging each to help the as a means of ending France to keep widespread other if attacked by European tension. won tacit approval from Britain and France – the main ITALO BALBO (1896–1940) African imperial powers – Mussolini launched an Italian Fascism liked to emphasize its modernity. the Motorized Regiment parade past Princess plane he was piloting was shot down by Italian anti- Maria José of Savoy after being presented aircraft fire over the Libyan port of Tobruk. Italy was in his view one of the “have-not” powers denied economic resources and colonies by what Mussolini called the richer “plutocratic” powers of the West. The Italian Fascist dictator. and in October 1936 the two states signed an informal agreement 22 . a third. dreamed of creating a new Roman Empire in the RIGHT: An Abyssinian soldier practises Mediterranean and Africa as an expression of the wearing a gas mask in dynamism of the revolutionary Fascist movement. On 28 June 1940. The campaign speed and heroism of the Fascist revolution. Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. of Italy’s North African forces in 1937. with their new colours on 1 February 1936. which was not a League member. After he had. attack on 3 October 1935 with three army corps and air power was the ideal instrument for of almost half a million men under the command demonstrating its propaganda claims for the power.000 Ethiopian soldiers faced a mixed Italian and colonial force of 40.

airmen and militia. The “Pact some limited assistance. who fled first to Paris and then to London. 23 . Italy’s Wars usually known as the “Rome–Berlin Axis”. SPANISH CIVIL WAR deal of Italian victories in Spain. a catastrophic blow guerrilla fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi. a full military force was sent to Spain. Italian propaganda made a great Western powers. Mussolini asked Hitler for a to the rebel leader.000 men. to help the with Germany in any future showdown with the ITALY IN THE nationalist cause. BELOW: The Italian dictator Benito Mussolini addresses crowds from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome. The gold was melted down to form bars and the Ethiopian Campaign. distributed to banks. there were more than The next month. 81 tanks and 160 artillery pieces against a weak which fought against fellow Italians as part of republican defensive line. expelling the British and French. The most famous was Roatta attacked on 8 March. at Guadalajara. the Italian commander the wider European civil war between fascism. army rebels in Spain launched an was taken on 7 April. Madrid. By 1938. Italian forces 300 Italian aircraft in Spain. sent more solid agreement between them. The Italian line broke the “Garibaldi Brigade” named after the legendary and by 18 March retreated. the Italian Invasion in Spain”. Colonel Francisco Franco. so creating the trio he told Fascist leaders that Italy had to control Garibaldi of expansionist states that was to fight the Second the Mediterranean. artillery and aircraft. With 36.000 soldiers. but from December 1936 of Steel”. which meant defeating or Brigade march World War under the general title of the “Axis”. communism and democracy. ABOVE: Italian troops occupy the Balkan state of Albania by bicycle on 7 April 1939. brigades of Italian anti-Fascists were formed. The first step to Guadalajara. who was sympathetic A few weeks later. Mussolini continued to aid Franco – over 75. RIGHT: The Japanese Anti-Comintern Pact. didn't recover. complete irrevocably tied Italy to standing side by side with tanks. which was signed on 22 May 1939. To aid Franco’s nationalist rebels Mussolini weak and disorganized republican force. when Italian forces invaded attempted coup against the republican regime in and occupied the Balkan state of Albania. This became his favourite place for announcing major victories to the Italian public. Italy also joined the German– essential for his own ambitions. but the conquest Italians fought on both sides in the Spanish Civil of Malaga in February 1937 was achieved against a BELOW: A poster from the Spanish Civil War calls on War. In February 1939. who had to their prestige from which the Italian forces helped to create the Italian nation in 1860–61. overthrowing the regime of King Zog. At first Mussolini. supporters of the republican government to “Rise against sent General Mario Roatta and 75. RIGHT: Medal awarded to Italian troops who took part in ABOVE: A woman donates jewellery to Mussolini’s “Gold for the Fatherland” initiative. On the republican suffered a humiliating defeat. March 1937. In July 1936.000 Italians served in Spain – but the nationalist victory by March 1939 owed more to Franco’s new Spanish army than it did to their Italian assistance. side. In Mussolini saw a victory for Franco in Spain as November 1937.

a secret police absorb the German minorities in neighbouring (the Gestapo) created. Germany which had insisted on the demilitarization of the German Rhineland provinces. the blame after the long period of enforced disarmament for which he placed on communists and Jews. He tried unsuccessfully to enrol at the Hitler kept him on after 1933 and in 1935 his title Vienna Academy of Art before moving to Munich in 1913 to avoid the Austrian was changed to Minister of War. won the Iron Cross major part in rebuilding Germany’s armed forces First Class. 24 . should win its rightful place through conquest. he had brought about a national revolution He had no definite plans for war or conquest under his personal dictatorship: a one-party state in 1933. civil rights suspended. and the new German Air Force officially created. Hitler fuses Four-Year Plan Hitler assumes 1933–1938 German Chancellor by President Hindenburg.” wrote Hitler in 1928. Imprisoned for King George VI in 1937. government. German troops re-entering the prohibited zone faced no international W hen Hitler was appointed German from office and prohibiting marriage or sexual Chancellor on 30 January 1933 at relations from occurring between Jews and so- the head of a Nationalist coalition called “Aryan” Germans. “Empires are made by the sword. He became supreme leader or forced to resign after his new wife was exposed as Führer in 1934.World War II GERMANY DESTROYS VERSAILLES 30 JANUARY 1933 27 FEBRUARY 1933 24 MARCH 1933 16 OCTOBER 1933 18 JUNE 1935 2 AUGUST 1936 18 OCTOBER 1936 4 FEBRUARY 1938 Hitler appointed A fire in the “Enabling Bill” Germany Anglo. driving German Jews settle German colonists and to exploit the region’s GENERAL WERNER VON BLOMBERG (1878–1946) ADOLF HITLER (1889–1945) General Werner von Blomberg was appointed Defence Minister by President Hindenburg at the Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn. In 1914. Like Japan and Italy. it was by no means evident that he One of Hitler’s first ambitions was to rearm would survive in that post very long. at the height of the crisis over the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. Hitler was dedicated to the idea that the “master race”. Only in 1935 did Hitler feel confident enough to declare Germany’s formal rejection of Versailles: on 16 March 1935 conscription was re-introduced in Germany. despite having won only one-third of the vote in the November remove him from office. Any opponents of the regime point to create what was called “living space” were imprisoned or forced abroad. Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The following March. BELOW: German troops march across a bridge over the Rhine in Cologne on 7 March 1936 in defiance of the Versailles Treaty natural resources. he wrote Mein Kampf and emerged to re-establish leadership of the were jealous of his influence and schemed to Party. he volunteered for the German army. and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in 1938. regarded itself as a victim of the international economic and political system. but he wanted to tear up the Treaty. he was 1932 election. as Führer. rearmament. The first race (Lebensraum) in eastern Europe on which to laws were passed in 1933–35. a small town in the Austrian same time as Hitler was offered the chancellorship. On 7 March 1936. Reichstag (German Parliament) is blamed on a allows Hitler and his cabinet to rule without reference withdraws from the League of Nations because German Naval Agreement allows Germany the office of President and Chancellor and launched to prepare Germany for war. provinces of the Habsburg Empire. and small National Socialist German Workers’ Party in 1921 and two years later represented Hitler’s Germany at the coronation of staged a coup in Munich against the Bavarian government. of failure of other limited naval declares himself Armed Forces. Hitler was too shrewd a politician to act too quickly and so rearmament was carefully concealed while he consolidated his domestic position. a former pornographic model. In February 1938. In 1933. Supreme Command of the German “Communist plot”. to parliament. year. Hitler became leader of the under the terms of the Versailles settlement. was created. Hitler decided to remilitarize the Rhineland provinces along the French frontier. and at some camps inaugurated. Leading National Socialists a year. and emerged in 1918 embittered by the German defeat. in other words the Aryan Germans. and the first concentration countries into the new German state. He played a army draft. powers to disarm. Within a Germany in defiance of the Versailles settlement. an action proscribed under the 1919 Treaty.

Hitler took Germany out of the League in October 1933. and Heinrich Himmler. he offered his help to On 5 November 1937. By 1938 his run of “bloodless victories” produced a wide popular consensus at home. of Austria with Germany was completed. no real concessions were made that could satisfy Hitler. He is flanked by members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA). the Czechoslovakia. state or “Reich”. the only remaining democratic Condor Legion. who needed the commanders together to tell them of his plans use of planes to move his forces from Morocco to to unite his Austrian homeland with Germany the mainland. German planes opponents of the Hitler regime. fought alongside the Spanish state in eastern Europe. Hitler called his military the Spanish rebel leader Franco.” A German poster to encourage support for a national plebiscite on the union of bombed and destroyed the Basque city of 1938. In July 1936. Throughout the period in which Hitler destroyed Versailles. Germany destroys Versailles BELOW: HItler makes his way to the speaker’s podium during the 1934 Nazi Party Rally in Nuremberg. What Hitler wanted now was a small successful ABOVE: Prisoners in the notorious Sachsenhausen concentration camp on 6 January 1939. head of the SS and the concentration camp system. and home to exiled nationalists. obstruction. Over the next four years Germany’s growing economic and military strength was viewed with mounting alarm by democratic Europe. Austrian opponents of Anschluss were murdered or imprisoned and Austrian Jews driven from their professions. the Anschluss. By the end of the 1930s there were 21. later ruler of the occupied Netherlands. the other major states did very little. and the enlarged state was now called “Greater Germany”. or union. in the near future.500 war to bloody his troops and prepare for the prisoners in the camps. ABOVE: An election campaign meeting in Graz. On 26 April 1937. struggle for “living space”. Guernica. a began to look outside the borders of the German conflict waged against civilians as well as soldiers. the Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg was compelled under the circumstances to accept the entry of German forces or risk bloodshed. Austria on 1 April 1938. but although efforts were made to find some way of blunting the German threat by recognizing her grievances. after months of agitation by Austrian Austria and Germany. Buoyed up by this success. It was claimed that 99 per cent said “yes”. In March ABOVE: “The whole people say Yes on 10 April. 25 . an act which came to symbolize the National Socialists. On Hitler’s right sit Arthur Seyss-Inquart. and to take action against A small number of aircraft and pilots. On 13 March. Hitler horrors of what was now called “total war”.

Union. power. Stalin authorized his arrest and trial in ABOVE: A Soviet poster shows an urgent Stalin summoning June 1937. expansion was possible only after 1933.World War II ARMING FOR WAR IN THE 1930s FEBRUARY 1932 16 MARCH 1935 MARCH 1936 1938–9 JANUARY 1939 Disarmament Hitler announces British German West Wall Hitler launches 1930–1939 Conference convenes at Geneva but fails to German rearmament and reintroduction of government launches “four- year plan” for (“Siegfried Line”) fortifications built along the German– “Z-Plan” for large-scale naval rearmament. agreement. In October 1936. a number of young officers from the former tsarist army were rapidly promoted to build up the newly formed Communist Red Army. the Soviet Union focused on building up the raw material and machinery base needed to produce finished armaments. the 1930s saw rearmament on a scale that dwarfed the arms race before the First World War. but real Union in 1932. French border. The plan was to build cent of its national income to military spending. mobile warfare conducted by thousands of tanks and armoured vehicles. up the material resources needed for war inside while Britain and France spent only 8 per cent. He was appointed Chief of Armaments in 1932 to oversee the Soviet Union’s rearmament drive. authorized a 14-billion-franc arms programme the same month. By the end of the 1930s. The Third Five-Year Plan – started in 1938 – projected an MARSHAL MIKHAIL TUKHACHEVSKY (1893–1937) After the Russian Revolution of 1917. by 1934. Italy and Germany became a serious one. In 1939. almost twice what it had been in the mid-1920s and the trade in arms also almost doubled between 1932 and 1937. rearmament. in according to Marxist theory. Perhaps jealous of Tukhachevsky’s popular reputation and evident ambition. before Hitler came to power. and it began even before the threat from Japan. a Four-Year Plan Germany. reach any general conscription. the economic crisis 1936 Hitler ordered a rapid acceleration of military would usher in a new age of capitalist wars. Mikhail Tukhachevsky made his mark in the 1920s with new ideas about fast. By 1932 the dictator had seven other top military commanders. Blum’s government in fact thrown his support behind a gigantic programme of rearmament. After three since the Soviet leadership was convinced that. where many of the German military build-up in Germany and the Soviet army’s heavy guns and armoured vehicles were produced. for peace in Paris in September 1936. Germany in 1938 devoted 17 per Hermann Göring in charge. This process took place across the developed world. with the so-called “black rearmament” Stalin launched the rearmament of the Soviet carried out in secret by the German army. Germany to avoid the threat of blockade. At the heart of this arms race lay the massive ABOVE: The interior of an assembly hall in March 1936 which was part of the vast Krupp works in Essen. one-quarter of the rearmament began even before Hitler came to industrial workforce was working for the military. Like preparations. I f the 1920s were years of disarmament and cuts in military budgets. German went on war-related projects. leading to the possession of military power once again being seen as the key to political survival. By 1939. and in 1936 was made Deputy Defence Commissar. the Soviet Union had the largest number two-thirds of industrial investment in Germany of aircraft and tanks of any major power. World military spending was. both countries were close to becoming the world’s military was established with the air-force commander superpowers. He was executed on 11 June along with ABOVE: The French Socialist premier Leon Blum at a mass rally aircraft from a Soviet factory in 1935. The build-up of new military forces was a consequence of the breakdown of the world economy and the collapse of the League of Nations as an instrument of collective security. years of careful preparation and reconstruction. 26 .

though both countries better armed for conflict in 1939 than the myth the war in Europe. The military build-up in Britain and France held up progress. BELOW: British troops cross a drawbridge into a fort on the BELOW: Prototype of the Supermarine Spitfire single-seater Maginot Line in November 1939. Efforts plans for 15 battleships against the six projected to build some of the best tanks and aircraft of the were made to develop a fast modern tank and to by the German Navy. the French government authorized a large front line was developed in the inter-war period by two British military thinkers. too late” suggests. The Soviet Union had the largest armed forces in the world by the 1940s. played a key role in the Battle of Britain. so that by 1939 Britain was year. The French fortifications were fighter in 1936. Arming for War in the 1930s increase in military spending of 40 per cent a of expenditure. Stalin had approved work on In 1936. was Britain had only one armoured division ready for was more modest. Political problems and disputes with labour organize armoured divisions. but there was much conservative resistance to the idea. fuel the new military machine. like Britain. four provide France with real security against attack. and Geographically secure and with a powerful accelerated the programme in 1936. Here light Mark V and Mark VIA tanks of the 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers are on manoeuvre in 1937. The aircraft became the standard RAF fighter and begun in the late 1920s and completed only by the outbreak of war. there was no pressure to arm in the was put on creating a large new modern air 1930s and its soldiers went on manoeuvres with force. Britain States remained aloof from the arms build-up. BELOW: Soviet military motorcyclists parade through Leningrad before the coming of war in 1941. emphasis was put in the 1930s on MODERNIZING Stalin thought in terms of large-scale and long. and British tanks failed to match already possessed a large military establishment of “too little. and the RAF received around 40 per cent dummy tanks. Emphasis pacifist lobby. Both Hitler and In France. time. 27 . but France. which by 1939 involved three-year rearmament programme. even before the onset of rearmament. striking in mass against the enemy’s years before this. the army. the construction of a solid defensive wall – the BRITAIN’S ARMY distance war. Captain Basil a similar Soviet flotilla. and began Liddell Hart and Major-General John Fuller. began expanding its armed forces in 1934. Only the United the standards set by the other major land armies. and in January 1939 Hitler approved Maginot Line – to face the German threat and The idea of using tank forces as the armed fist of a “Z-Plan” for a new ocean-going battle fleet. By 1939. two-thirds of industrial investment went to producing almost as many aircraft as Germany.

T E Elbe N L S U Prague A Krakow Pilsen N P R OT E C TO R AT E D E D EDUARD BENEŠ (1884–1948) OF BOHEMIA Dni est T E A N D M O R AV I A er German N The Czech politician at the heart of the Munich A Brno plebiscites.” he said. mobilization against a possible prepare “Case Green” for frontier clash at Changkufeng. He went into exile abroad in Czechoslovakia. ordered the mobilization of its forces. In 1938. on for Sudeten autonomy. “I am utterly determined. To Germany To Poland To Germany October 1938 and returned to be president again early 1938 Independent To Hungary Czechoslovakia. fearing an imminent German invasion. The military planning went ahead. sharp war against the Czechs for the autumn of 1938. ABOVE: Neville Chamberlain marches past an SS guard of honour at Oberwiesenfeld airport on his way to the Munich Conference on 29 September 1938 surrounded by National Socialist Party leaders. Dec. when the Czech government. 1938 movement during the First World War and Linz RUTHENIA Vienna Bratislava was rewarded in 1918 with the post of Foreign Minister in the newly independent Czechoslovak Salzburg Danube Republic. L D an N 1938 ub crisis was a statesman of wide experience. he began to make preparations to seize Czechoslovakia on the pretence that he was helping fellow Germans oppressed by Czech rule in the Sudeten areas of northern Czechoslovakia. October–December 1938 Annexations. to his left Daladier. between 1945 and his death three years later. On 28 May. Beneš e D S L O V A K I A Kassa had been active in the Czech independence Passau German military occupation.” Hitler thought he could isolate the Czechs and reach a quick military solution before the other powers intervened. following the “Weekend Crisis” of 20/21 May. A fter Hitler had taken over his Austrian homeland in March 1938. invasion of the Manchurian Czechoslovakia. by which time Czechoslovakia was the A U S T R I A ROMANIA Graz H U N G A R Y only genuinely democratic state left in central and eastern Europe. border. Behind him are Chamberlain and Mussolini. 1938 To Hungary 28 . 1939 and had little confidence that his allies would support him. Hitler told his military commanders to plan a short. G E R M A N Y Dresden Breslau Od ABOVE: Adolf Hitler signing the Munich Agreement in the early hours of 30 September 1938 after a S U er P O L A N D D E dozen hours of negotiation. “that Czechoslovakia should disappear from the map.World War II THE MUNICH CRISIS 13 MARCH 1938 20–21 MAY 1938 28 MAY 1938 11 JULY 1938 28 AUGUST 1938 9 NOVEMBER 1938 28–30 Austria united “Weekend Crisis” Hitler orders Japanese and Runciman Mission German pogrom with Germany sees Czech armed forces to Soviet forces spark draws up plans against the Jews SEPTEMBER 1938 in a Greater German Reich. he realized that his country was vulnerable to German pressure Munich Agreement. on the “Night of Broken Glass”. he became the country’s Budapest Debrecen president. reflecting Hitler’s anxiety to wage a small. In 1935. German strike.

Sir Horace Wilson. To avert On 28 September. Many wanted to live in a larger up on the Czech government to make concessions German state and they formed the Sudeten to the Sudeten German minority. but he had no intention of honouring his word. he accepted Mussolini’s City of Danzig. conceded the need for self-determination. Chamberlain sent his areas to Germany and a timetable for German Hitler stuck to his guns. Hitler. His frustration was to make it impossible to dramatic step of flying to meet Hitler at his aware that German public opinion was strongly negotiate away the next crisis in 1939 over the mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden. By the beginning of September. and committed no treaty obligations. In February. For many Sudeten Hungary occupied and annexed areas inhabitants occupation meant liberation. In this time the atmosphere was quite different. and ABOVE: French premier Edouard Daladier is greeted by enthusiastic crowds on his return to Paris on 30 September 1938. By 1938. concessions made by the Czech government In neither state was there much enthusiasm for and increasing tension in the province. Chamberlain flew again to meet the German leader on 22 September at Bad Godesberg. ABOVE: Commemorative medallion struck to mark “The blind fools” was his reaction to their welcome. Neville Chamberlain. the British politician Lord Runciman Hitler insisting that he would occupy the Sudeten to which the Soviet Union was not invited. Chamberlain was sulky and ill at ease throughout the Munich Sudetenland and returned arguing that major returned home to a cabinet now determined not discussions. with suggestion of a summit conference in Munich. had became the first Gauleiter (district leader) of the Sudetenland in 1939. Henlein co-operated secretly with also committed to intervening. August 1938.3 million to help the Czech state. former German subjects of the Habsburg The crisis could not be isolated: as pressure built empire. the Sudeten German area in October 1938. France and Britain both prepared for an agreement for the cession of the Sudeten government to the German community. which ended on 30 September with concessions should be made by the Czech to concede. military campaign in the near future. on 15 September Chamberlain took the gave in. meanwhile. the Munich Conference. refusing the did so too. He the prospect of war. Chamberlain against a European war. war and on 26 September. The fight against the KONRAD HENLEIN Czechs was a way of making his mark as a military (1898–1945) leader. Britain and German Party to campaign for autonomy and to agitate for union with Germany. Hitler was sent on a League of Nations mission to the areas no later than 1 October. and an opportunity to improve Germany’s The Germans who inhabited the so-called “Sudeten” provinces of Czechoslovakia were economic and strategic position in central Europe. The Munich Crisis victorious war. Chamberlain’s success at the Munich Conference in 1938. Under pressure from his party leaders and war. but the Prime Minister. LEFT: Hungarian cavalry and light tanks on their way towards the town ABOVE: A weeping woman salutes the German occupation of of Beregozasr on 1 October 1938. but in reality it was a defeat for Hitler’s plan for this. for Jews and socialists it of southern Czechoslovakia following meant persecution. Their France both acted to try to find a negotiated leader was the former bank clerk Konrad political solution. and the Soviet Union was members out of a population of only three million. German leaders personal envoy. while Hitler promised not to make war on the Czechs. Unlike Japan in Manchuria and attacked the Czechs in the press and on the and on the following day he made it absolutely Italy in Abyssinia. France had treaty obligations Henlein. Munich is usually seen seemed likely that Hitler would launch the would mean war. the party had 1. it clear that German violation of Czech sovereignty conquest was frustrated. Hitler’s plan for a short war of platform. suicide at the end of the war. Britain. with great reluctance. he had scrapped the War Ministry and taken over supreme command of the armed forces himself. as a humiliating defeat for the British and French. to see Hitler occupation. 29 . as long as France the Hitler government in 1938. hoped to use his influence to bring about a negotiated settlement as part of his strategy of “appeasement” of Germany.

was appointed first “Reich Protector”. Germany march into Prague during the German army units to prepare to occupy the occupation on  15 March 1939. including the famous Skoda 30 . took the train to Berlin to seek Hitler’s advice. The Czech president. Emil Hácha. the Slovak RIGHT: Emil Hacha. thereby provoking the separating Germany from Czechoslovakia. the Czech government complied. On 12 January 1939. Jozef Tiso. and to concede the right to build a motorway across Czech land. where Hitler encouraged him to call the Slovak assembly together. fled to Vienna and then to Berlin. separatists. Major Czech businesses. after Hermann Göring had painted a vision for him of German bombers over Prague. German occupation. orders were issued to to Hungary in southern Slovakia. territorial concessions were made ABOVE: German troops up. which then declared independence on 14 March. Constantin von Neurath. in March 1939. while the Hungarian army seized control of some Slovak provinces. At six o’clock in the morning. He was claim for independence. A lmost as soon as the ink was dry on the Munich greement. while Slovakia won its “protection” of the Czech state send troops into Slovakia. The leader of the Slovak “independence”. It was only a matter of time before invasion was the breakdown in relations between the remaining Czechoslovak area was broken the Czechs and the Slovaks: in March. President government in Bratislava refused to abandon its of Czechoslovakia. Hitler told his foreign minister. On 30 October. ABOVE: German The isolation of Czechoslovakia after Munich commemorative medal with a bar for Prague awarded also encouraged its other neighbours to join to all those who took part in the search for spoils. The immediate trigger for the actual dependency. Poland in the re-occupation of the demanded the cession of the Teschen region and Sudetenland. on 2 November. The Czech compelled to invite German Prague government to declare martial law and lands became a Reich Protectorate. the Germans collaborated with the Slovak separatist movement. the Czech areas were declared a German protectorate and the former German foreign minister. he invited Germany to occupy and “protect” Czechoslovakia. In the Slovak areas.World War II THE OCCUPATION AND BREAK-UP OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA 30 OCTOBER 1938 NOVEMBER 1938 OCTOBER 1939 Poland occupies Vienna Awards Czech university 15 MARCH 1939 Teschen region of northern grant territory in Slovakia and students demonstrate on the streets of Czechoslovakia. The Czech state was put under pressure to reach advantageous trade agreements to help German rearmament. putting pressure on the Prague government to grant independence. talking BELOW: Enthusiastic Germans remove the frontier posts on the telephone. been taken. The following day. then demanded that the Prague government Following the takeover the Czech lands. though no final decision had yet turn Czechoslovakia into a virtual German Czech army was disbanded. Bit by bit. the Czech lands were being drawn into the German orbit. Joachim von Ribbentrop that he would march on Prague and smash the “Czech remnants” when the opportunity came. German forces occupied the Czech provinces of Bohemia and Moravia. and in the early hours of 15 March. Ruthenia to Prague against Hungary.

000 Czech Jews. which had not actually been invaded but forced to “invite” German occupation.000 Austrian Jews were able to emigrate before the war. helped to equip 15 German infantry divisions and four armoured divisions for the coming conflict. RIGHT: Model 24 standard- March. When war convinced him that there was no room for a came. The British and French governments could do nothing to save Czechoslovakia. The Prague occupation had finally 1938–39 ended up in France and Britain. TREATMENT OF THE JEWS IN THE CONQUERED LANDS German occupation of Austria in March 1938 and the Czech lands in March 1939 brought large Jewish communities under German control. negotiated settlement and he warned that if any A number joined the RAF and fought through the nation tried to dominate Europe. on his appointment as Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia on 18 March 1939. The firm was taken over by the Germans in 1939 and German control. and 35. The Occupation and Break-up of Czechoslovakia armaments complex. Czech military intelligence officers who came to Chamberlain offered the historic guarantee of Britain also played an important role in the British Polish sovereignty in the House of Commons on 31 counter-intelligence programme. A prompted by warnings from the security services Czech armoured brigade of 5. RIGHT: Jewish shops in the Slovak capital of Bratislava destroyed the day before German occupation of the Czech areas of the country. ABOVE: Hitler greets leaders of the German community in Prague on 15 March 1939 in the Hradcany Castle following German occupation. The occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia tore up the short-lived Munich agreement. 31 . and Czech military supplies worked for the German army throughout the war. of an imminent German occupation of Poland. A few days later. Slovakia was made an independent pro-German state under Tiso and remained a close ally down to 1944. Other countries were reluctant to issue visas since there had already been a steady stream of refugees seeking asylum from National Socialism. The Czech crisis had paved the way for the issue Czech pistol. Jewish professionals were sacked and forced to abandon their possessions if they sought exile abroad. Britain would Battle of Britain. final countdown to war. BELOW: Constantin von Neurath. former German Foreign Minister. but the decision to incorporate non-German peoples in the new German empire CZECHS IN THE prompted Neville Chamberlain on 17 March to SECOND WORLD WAR make a powerful speech condemning German Many Czechs who fled from German occupation in action. were brought under direct BELOW: An aerial view of the vast Czech Skoda armaments works. To his right stand Himmler and the head of the Reich Security Service. Thousands of small Jewish businesses were closed down or sold to “Aryan” owners.000 men was formed and later fought in the north-west Europe campaign. the skilled Czech workers took up jobs in industry or as mechanics in the British armed forces. Those who remained were almost all exterminated. Major Jewish businesses and shareholdings were seized to secure Austrian and Czech industry for the German rearmament effort. There were four squadrons of Czech resist “to the utmost of its power”. one bomber and three fighter squadrons. airmen. 14 March 1939. Reinhard Heydrich. Around 130.

In February 1938. Hitler appointed him Foreign Minister. Unknown to the West. and the British and French began to explore the possibility of using the Soviet Union to pressurize Hitler into good behaviour. intense dislike of the English. Sir Reginald Plunket-Ernle-Drax. to his left is Admiral over the demarcation of Poland. After exploring the possibility of a trade agreement. with Marshal Voroshilov. He was tried before the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945–46 and sentenced to death. but the failure of Britain (1893–1946) and France to secure Polish co-operation to allow the Red Army to cross Polish soil could not be A former champagne salesman. the Soviets ABOVE: The British military trusted neither side. dragged into a European war. In the centre of the picture is Soviet Ambassador BELOW: Joseph Stalin greets von Ribbentrop during negotiations Ivan Maisky. whose conquest was by the Führer’s wish to have someone he could planned for late August 1939. Stalin had decided that the became the National Soviet Union could avoid war more easily by Socialist Party’s expert reaching an agreement with his rival dictator and on foreign affairs after bitter ideological enemy. who left most major decisions to Hitler. By then. start negotiations Greece. On 17 April. In these concurrent sets of negotiations. leader of the mission. JOACHIM VON Between 12 and 21 August. signalled the possibility of agreement. When the Western powers mission to Moscow leaves from finally sent a delegation to the Soviet Union in Cannon Street station. Ribbentrop was a vain but ineffectual guarantee that the Soviet Union would not be personality. Adolf Hitler. August. Stalin wanted a dominate. the Soviet Union proposed a Triple Alliance which would guarantee the remaining states of eastern Europe and give the promise of military assistance if any of the three states were to be attacked by Germany. negotiations. Early in August. but on 25 May Chamberlain did at last agree to begin negotiations. the German Foreign Minister. I n 1939 both the Western democracies and Germany began to look to the Soviet Union as a source of support in the unstable international situation. Romania and to begin tentative Soviet officials. Ribbentrop overcome. LEFT: The Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov signs the Non- Aggression Pact in Moscow late at night on 23 August 1939. despite his regime’s strident anti-Marxism. In 1936. By 11 32 . von Ribbentrop. the German Ambassador in Moscow was authorized on 30 May to begin negotiations for a political alliance. 1933.World War II THE MOLOTOV–RIBBENTROP PACT 13 APRIL 1939 30 MAY 1939 2 AUGUST 1939 12 AUGUST 1939 28 SEPTEMBER 1939 Britain and German Ribbentrop Anglo–French German–Soviet 23 AUGUST 1939 France give guarantees to ambassador in Moscow advised makes direct contact with Mission arrives in Moscow to Treaty of Friendship signed. The West dithered. Hitler had also decided to open up links to the Soviet Union. London on 5 August 1939. the two sides discussed RIBBENTROP military co-operation. there was little prospect of agreement. a choice conditioned his next intended victim. he was appointed Ambassador The two dictators had a common desire to to London. but he was avoid conflict with each other: Hitler needed generally snubbed or ridiculed and developed an Soviet neutrality to be sure of isolating Poland.

The German–Soviet ABOVE: Molotov arrives in Berlin to be greeted by von Ribbentrop (far left) on 12 November 1940 for Pact reverberated round the world.” he (1890–1986) had told his commanders on 22 August. food and raw materials for Germany. Hitler now dismissed any danger of Western MOLOTOV intervention. A few weeks an argument remorselessly. was “enemy number one”. he said. ABOVE: A Soviet goods train with food and supplies for Germany Lithuania and a share of Poland for Germany. just like being among “old party comrades”. A dour.” Stalin was pleased as well. for Communist Party politician who was the Soviet Union had avoided war and might. Joseph of a European war. With the planned Polish invasion only a week away. Estonia. To Stalin the pact was working individual. After a few hours of heated discussion. February 1940 and January 1941 the Soviet Union supplied oil. part of the favoured he hoped. the treaty was ready and late at night on 23 August. Latvia and parts of Poland and Romania for the Soviet Union. he became later. and on 17 August a draft non-aggression treaty was ready. be able to pick up the pieces after a inner circle around European conflict and then impose communism Stalin. The talks proved inconclusive. for Hitler hammer) because of his reputation for driving home it was a piece of cynical calculation. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact August. Hitler appealed to Stalin in a personal letter asking him to allow Ribbentrop to travel to Moscow and sign the treaty. 33 . Stalin agreed. Under trade agreements made in Hitler was delighted by the pact because he August 1939. standing ready to be unloaded. it was signed in the presence of a smiling Stalin. grain and raw materials. believed that Britain and France would not dare to defend Poland without Soviet help. hard- on Europe in its aftermath. Stalin in 1949. one of the longest survivors of his following the Soviet–German pact. his counterpart Molotov had indicated a similar willingness. A secret protocol divided eastern Europe into spheres of influence: Finland. to blame the war on British imperialism. In 1930. but returned to office after Stalin’s death he was expected to support the pact with the fascist enemy and and finally retired from public life in 1962. Foreign Minister to try to keep the Soviet Union out as he later told his propaganda chief. Communism. “I saw Molotov was a Soviet them at Munich. he told his party leaders that he would turn Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars (or prime minister) and in March 1939. he adopted the revolutionary name Molotov (meaning a necessary piece of diplomatic realism. “My enemies are little worms. negotiations on a possible extension of the agreements reached in 1939. A separate trade agreement also secured generous supplies VYACHESLAV of oil. He was removed from office by ABOVE: The American Communist leader Earl Browder at a rally Goebbels. It was. Ribbentrop flew to Moscow and found the capital decked with swastika banners. Like Communists everywhere entourage. ABOVE: A poster by the Egyptian cartoonist Kem showing Hitler and Stalin in an uneasy three-legged race. was appointed against the East when it suited him.

using three days later a massive attack with 400 bombers as it had been before 1919. Prip Glogau X XXX XXXX XIX XXXX et XXXX A XIII LODZ HOEPPNER PRUSY Bug 8 Dresden XXX XXX Radom BLASKOWITZ XIV M a r s h e s XI Breslau Chelm N XXXXX XXX XXX XXXX UKRAINIAN Elb Y XXXX IV XV KRAKOW e 10 XXX REICHENAU VII la tu Gleiwitz Katowice XXX Vis XXXX Prague Od VIII CARPATHIAN Krakow er Jaroslaw PROTECTORATE XXXXX XXX XXX OF BOHEMIA SOUTH XVII XXII Gorlice Lwów RUNDSTEDT Tarnopol AND MORAVIA XXX nie D Brünn XXXX XVIII ste r 14 LIST S L O V A K I A Final Polish pockets of resistance German-Soviet demarcation line. The air force commander. city supervized by the League of Nations to allow dive-bombers and fighters. Poland still used cavalry armed with lances and sabres which were no match for modern German equipment. he assumed that the Poles would Polish capital. begin. Heavy rich industrial areas of Silesia. the German was not a conflict Hitler had initially expected. postponed for five days. Kutno GUDERIAN 9–10 Sep.000 incendiaries set ablaze the Jewish ghetto. After signing the pact with the Soviet Union.5-million-strong German army. smoke from the fires made it difficult to aim. to move forward in the September 1939 was the culmination of a first test of what came to be known as blitzkrieg or plan codenamed “Case White” which had lightning war. Baltic Sea Gdynia Königsberg LITHUANIA XXX 14 Sep. almost one million strong. Brest-Litovsk Pinsk Cottbus XXX Lodz XXX surrenders 27 Sep. frustrated at not getting his small war in 1938 against the Czechs. supported by September 1939. Warsaw. The Polish destroyed or damaged 50 per cent of Warsaw’s buildings for the loss of only three aircraft. He argued to the doubters in Berlin that Britain and France would protest but would not intervene. It was the first time 7. to become a German city this new form of swift battlefield attack. A pretence at last-minute negotiation in the final days of August was designed to make it seem as if Germany had a legitimate cause for war. 34 . though in fact the SS – the elite National Socialist security force – planned to stage a frontier incident to make it look as if the Poles were the aggressors. The order went out for into Poland on 6 the 1. 30 September 1939 ABOVE: A Polish mounted brigade in 1939. T he German invasion of Poland on 1 more than 1. return of Danzig. Agreement. Hitler. which had been army.500 aircraft. and to hand back the modern weaponry. had been tried out. I EAST XXX Danzig XIX PRUSSIA GUDERIAN Allenstein G XXXX Grodno XXXXX 4 Marienwerder XXXX Stettin NORTH KLUGE 3 XXX XXXXX BOCK Chelmno KUECHLER XXI BELORUSSIAN E XXX II Slutsk Od XXX Lomza e Vis Torun Bialystok Wart III t Berlin r R a P O L A N D ula Küstrin XXXX XXXX Frankfurt Poznan POZNAN POMORZE XXX XXXX XIX P r i p e t Warsaw MODLIN M Bzura River. decided to punish the Poles by seizing the areas by force. The small Polish air force of around 400 the city. He five Panzer divisions of fast-moving mobile Richthofen. Wolfram von be drawn into the German sphere of influence. a troops grouped around 300 tanks. An attack by LEFT: German tanks Germans wearing Polish uniforms on the frontier and armoured vehicles cross a bridge over a station at Gleiwitz on the night of 31 August/1 river as they advance September was the signal. Polish. repudiates Anglo- non-aggression pact of 1934 staff talks on military treaty signed. In the vanguard were Warsaw. Hitler demands the draws up its plan for a city of Memel to Germany. German Silesia in the south aimed towards the Air Force was ordered to begin the bombing of After Munich. but was overwhelmed by the Germans’ striking some bombs fell on German troops in the north of The Poles refused any concessions and Hitler. The war against Poland assault from East Prussia in the north and As German forces closed in for the kill. and given to Poland after a plebiscite in 1919. THE BOMBING first been drawn up by the German armed forces The German plan was for a two-pronged OF WARSAW on Hitler’s orders in April. wanted to “completely wanted them to readjust the status of Danzig.World War II GERMANY INVADES POLAND 5 JANUARY 1939 MARCH 1939 22 MARCH 1939 28 APRIL 1939 28 APRIL 1939 13 MAY 1939 25 AUGUST 1939 26 AUGUST 1939 Polish state visit Polish Army Lithuania cedes Hitler German-Polish Franco-Polish British–Polish German invasion 1 SEPTEMBER 1939 to Berlin. resisted bravely. Poland access to the sea. German Naval renounced by assistance German War. Hitler was certain that the risk was much reduced. On 22 September. cousin of the famous “Red Baron” First World War air ace. supported by eradicate” the Polish capital. power.

the Polish forces there surrendered on 27 September. including three million Polish Jews. shot in the back of the neck. 5.000 Polish troops went into Soviet Polish armies. Jews were victimized from the start and in November 1940 they were forced into a sealed ghetto in the city. had been uncertain whether to act. who began the systematic killing of all Polish intellectuals. By the end of the war. Air power played an important part in Germany’s rapid victory. had been killed.000 went into captivity. more than six million Poles. tightening a noose around the encircled Some 230. which sealed the partition of Poland. On Hitler’s orders thousands of Polish 13. Germany invades Poland BELOW: A sqadron of German Ju87B dive-bombers over Poland.000: the first test of the intelligentsia. the German–Soviet Treaty of Friendship. The following day. German and Soviet commanders met to decide the demarcation line between them. Warsaw. granting Warsaw to the area occupied by the Germans. THE RED ARMY ABOVE: Polish 7. based on the German Mauser 98K. officer corps. 28 September. the Poles 70. A new agreement was reached. Stalin force suffered 564 aircraft destroyed or damaged. but pressured Within a week of the start of the campaign by the Germans.000 men. Hitler had sent special “action squads” (Einsatzgruppen) manned by security agents and SS men. including more than half the Polish Warsaw and the fortress of Modlin to the north. One million German forces were 40–65km (25–40 miles) from Soviet troops occupied the eastern provinces. Behind the German armies.000 Polish soldiers escaped across neighbouring borders but 694. 35 . rearmed German forces was a complete success. priests and politicians were murdered.92mm INVADES POLAND WZ 29 rifle. though the German air influence in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. ABOVE: German troops raise a German flag over a ruin in the Westerplatte area of Danzig which surrendered on 7 September 1939. Red Army forces began to roll across the Soviet-Polish border to occupy areas of eastern Poland agreed as the Soviet sphere of planes was eliminated. nationalist politicians and government elite in a pattern that was to be repeated across Europe in the grim years of German occupation. and all Polish resistance ended by 28 September. he finally agreed. On 29 November. Around 100. 13 September 1939.000 of whom were taken to the forest of Katyn in April 1940 and murdered by a but following the heavy bombing of the capital. Poles were officially made Soviet citizens. A final Polish stand was made at captivity. The German forces had lost some BELOW: Polish civilians executed by German soldiers during the conquest. On 17 September.

World War II BRITAIN AND FRANCE DECLARE WAR 6 FEBRUARY 1939 13 FEBRUARY 1939 14 AUGUST 1939 5 SEPTEMBER 1939 Chamberlain Joint Anglo-French Franco-British Roosevelt declares 3 SEPTEMBER 1939 pledges in House of Commons to military staff talks begin. It turned out to be a false alarm. They hoped to restore a free Poland when had pledged Britain to defend France.m. official programmes covered evacuation of 1. a repeat of the First World War friend of Hermann Göring. but there too most had returned home by the start of 1940. militarily. LEFT: An artillery headquarters on France’s eastern border in January 1939. Britain and France were speaking than the air-raid sirens set up in the mobilizing. British and French governments promised to help Britain’s decision to go to war was almost the Poles when war came. The plan was activated on 1 September 1939 but only 40 per cent of those eligible took up the opportunity and 60 per cent of these had returned home by January 1940.75 million. children and mothers prepared for evacuation cellars or doorways. They expected to face a three-year flurry of activity. No sooner had he finished Danzig?”. 36 . France and Germany for the mass evacuation of children and mothers from the vulnerable major cities. Although the gas. though right-wing groups stuck posters the same day. In Germany hundreds of thousands were moved from the frontier zone after 3 September. A t 11. reluctant to leave his office but was finally The British public steeled itself for the coming persuaded to go down into the shelter prepared conflict “like the glassy sea when a hurricane for him. on announced over the radio from 10 fascism. delegation arrives for talks an embargo on arms sales to the fighting support France in Moscow on powers. 3 September necessary. and from the war was over and planned to hold tight on the March the British and French military worked western front. by the bombing of German cities.15 on Sunday morning. The French ultimatum expired six hours later than the British at 5. possible Three- Power Pact. germ warfare and fire. if be separated from France by negotiating a deal. Neville Chamberlain was away from the threatened cities. was in which German resistance would be sapped despatched to London to see if the British could by economic blockade. As early as February. By August. A Swedish businessman and war of attrition. In Britain. on a war plan so that they could make advance In the last days before war there was a sudden preparations. ration-books were already being capital let out their mournful wailing noise.00 p. In BELOW: A newspaper vendor in Paris carries news of the British 1939. 3 September 1939. Birger Dahlerus. initial panic reflected the profound fear that the Intelligence sources confirmed that German new war would be won or lost by bombing with armies were moving into position. the British Prime Minister France. wrote the journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. Chamberlain do so. with two million more expected to arrange private evacuation. Throughout the year French and British forces prepared for a war seen increasingly as inevitable. All distributed to local authorities and millions of over southern England people dived for bunkers.000 volunteers helped to organize the exodus and reception of the evacuees. opinion rallied to the idea of confronting declaration of war on Germany. EVACUATION Preparations were made before the outbreak of war in Britain. Over 100. food shortages and. they privately agreed inevitable once German forces had crossed the that assistance was useless and made no plans to Polish frontier. Downing Street that Britain was once again at up on the walls of Paris asking “Who Will Die for war with Germany. but the comes”.

37 . at 5. A Conservative politician. She campaigned (1869–1940) with the Peace Pledge Union Born into a family of Birmingham screw against war in 1939 manufacturers. who found no one at the German Foreign Office except for Hitler’s interpreter. he came to realize that Hitler could never be satisfied with concessions and prepared for war. Sir Nevile working and successful politician in home affairs to write a regular Henderson (centre) talking with Field Marshal Hermann Göring at but is remembered as a failure in foreign policy Letter to Peace the National Socialist Party Congress on 7 September 1938. Australia and New Zealand declared war the same day. In France. his reputation as a reforming Minister of Health in the 1920s and a successful Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1931–37. Sir Nevile Henderson.00 p. His reputation suffered from not confronting Hitler sooner. At the last minute. BELOW: Neville Chamberlain broadcasting to the nation. Edouard Daladier. resulted in war. on 3 September by the British Ambassador. Mussolini tried to intervene as he had at Munich. An ultimatum was delivered to Germany at 9 a. and asked in harsh tones. who at the end turned to his Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop.m. Paul Schmidt.m. though willing to consider sensible proposals. There were no bands. He became prime minister in May 1937. six million men were in the process of mobilization. Britain and France declare War His mission was a blind. no songs. but could not abandon their commitment to Poland and to each other. The American Ambassador watched French troops leaving Paris: “The men left in LEFT: During the 1930s “absolute” silence. but the British and French governments. but he was always sincere in his strong desire for peace. and announced the state of war over the radio on 3 September 1939. the author Vera Brittain would not accept that any war NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN was worth fighting. he made the war.. A year because of his attempt to “appease” the dictators Lovers throughout later it was his task to hand over the ultimatum from Britain which in the 1930s. The British ultimatum ran out at 11 a. South Africa and Canada followed shortly after on 6 and 10 September respectively. after the German attack. and India.” but only pacifists like “self-control and a quiet courage”. Neville Chamberlain was a hard- and continued ABOVE: The British Ambassador to Germany. and tried to secure a “grand settlement” of European affairs in order to avoid the threat of a second world war. British while Germany attacked Poland. He was an early enthusiast for radio and newsreel talks. to whom he gave the solemn document. In 1939. would both have preferred peace. Chamberlain and the French premier. were not prepared to allow Germany to occupy Poland. Schmidt hurried over to the Reich chancellery to read the ultimatum to a silent Hitler. “What now?” War could no longer be avoided. intended to confuse the BELOW: Crowds watch as cabinet ministers pose for photographs outside 10 Downing Street on the day Britain declared war.m. RIGHT: Londoners run for shelter minutes after the British declaration of war on 3 September when the first (false) air-raid alarm was sounded.. the French later. steering the British economy out of the slump.

when in fact the shells had been fired by Soviet artillery. very few aircraft. The Finns could mobilize FIELD MARSHAL CARL a maximum of only 13 divisions to defend the country: no tanks. Stalin gave the final order for a campaign against Finland. Thousands of volunteers launched four armies. however. on skis. ABOVE : A group of Swedish and American volunteers for the Using this incident as an excuse. From 1931. The Finnish government refused and after the last meeting on 9 November. 9th and 14th chose to fight against the Soviet threat to Scandinavia. the Winter War also began with a faked attack: the Soviet Union claimed that the “Mainila shots”. into force. he became President of ABOVE: A disabled Soviet tank and a pile of Soviet dead during Finland and succeeded in keeping Finland out of RIGHT: British the Soviet–Finnish war. has not been agreed. After supplied with Lenin’s 1917 revolution. Finns refuse. the Finnish capital Helsinki found itself under bomb attack. Mannerheim led the anti- fast boat. On 30 November. Empire.745. war against Finland. and 1. Communist forces in Finland and imposed a harsh shaped sleds “White” terror on Finnish communists once an filled with independent Finnish state had been established. Commissar for Defence. Carl Mannerheim joined the Russian army and became a successful cavalry officer. Finland was also asked to cede territory close to the Soviet city of Leningrad so that the Soviet Union could establish new military bases and make the country’s second most important city more secure. In 1944. Latvia signed on 5 October and Lithuania on 11 October. Like the German war on Poland. have (1867–1951) the advantage of experience in fighting in winter The child of a noble Finnish family at the time weather.000 tanks against the Finnish defences. military “aid”. Dressed in when Finland was still part of the Russian tsarist white suits. the 7th.World War II THE SOVIET-FINNISH WAR 18 AUGUST 1939 17 SEPTEMBER 1939 29 OCTOBER 1939 13 MARCH 1940 7 MAY 1940 Soviet Molotov assures Red Army ordered Soviet-Finnish Voroshilov 30 NOVEMBER 1939 negotiators Finns that their to begin planning ceasefire comes sacked as Soviet —12 MARCH 1940 offer Finland economic and neutrality will be respected. and almost GUSTAV MANNERHEIM no anti-tank weapons. 38 . the Baltic states lay in the Soviet sphere of interest. Estonia was forced to sign a treaty which allowed the Soviet Union to station troops there. The official Soviet figure was 48. were a Finnish provocation. Stalin Finnish army move to the front in 1940. turning all three states into virtual Soviet protectorates. he was chair of the Finnish Defence ammunition Council and he took charge of the Finnish defence against the Red Army in 1939 after arguing with the government that it would be better to give in rather than fight. 8th. Under the final terms of the German– Soviet agreements of 1939. (and later the 4th). On 5 October. The Soviet regime was confident that Finland would be conquered as easily as Germany had overcome Poland. Volunteer Force badge. a view that was to prove a costly miscalculation. named after a border village. T he “Winter War” waged by the Soviet Union against neighbouring Finland was the first major test for the massive Red Army since the Russian Civil War in the early 1920s. The immediate cause was the Soviet search for greater military security in the Baltic region. The exact number of Soviet casualties the post-war Iron Curtain bloc. On 28 September. They did.

who during the Russian Civil War. They were popularly known forces sank to new depths. to disable the tank treads. Some Finnish machine-gunners even suffered nervous collapse from the strain of killing row after row of Russian soldiers who ran head-on at defensive positions with no cover and no white camouflage suits. which.200 armoured vehicles and 2. into the snowy landscape. and by February the Red Army had brought up substantial reinforcements and was trying to refine its battle tactics. When the fighting stopped. The Red Army attacked the Mannerheim defensive line across the Karelian Isthmus for a month. 1. and sometimes to disable them. Stalin did no more than take the areas of territory he had first requested. He survived all and supplies.000 ABOVE: A group of Finnish soldiers in 1939 on wounded. The Finns lost 900 men. when hurled against tanks and armoured vehicles. For a small area of Isthmus and a number of islands in the Baltic Sea. the former including British and metalworker Kliment Voroshilov worked on Stalin’s military staff Americans.000 dead.000 Russians until overwhelmed by sheer numbers. They also invented bottles filled with a deadly chemical and petrol mix that they christened “Molotov cocktails”. BELOW: Houses destroyed by the Soviet air force in Finland during the Winter War. The Finnish army of 150. and armed with the deadly “Suomi” Stalin’s purges and emerged in 1953 as President of the USSR. To fight against tanks. They used primitive tactics which allowed the Finnish defenders to mow down whole regiments of attacking infantry while well- directed artillery fire disabled the tanks.000 aircraft.000 men lost 24. Faced with imminent defeat.923 dead and 43. ignoramus. the larger Soviet force was harried and ambushed by the Finns. the Red Army was annihilated. Perhaps impressed by Finnish bravery and fighting skill.000 and 270. but the Soviet dead numbered 27. On Finland’s eastern frontier. who regarded him as a military alongside the Finns. The Finnish campaign finally persuaded even Stalin that Voroshilov was incompetent and he was sacked shortly after it.500. could inflict damage sufficient to slow them down. The Soviet-Finnish War LEFT: Danish MARSHAL KLIMENT VOROSHILOV Volunteers badge. which came into force on 13 March. An early member of the Russian Bolsheviks. the Red Army had failed to break through the final Finnish line of defence. but he was too close to Stalin’s inner circle for anyone to risk challenging him. In 1925. There was a limit to what the Finns could do. One heroic Finnish force of 32 men still held off 4. a post sub-machine gun. In the fighting at Suomussalmi in December and early January. moving in and out of the was expelled from the League of Nations for her woods noiselessly and then disappearing back act of naked aggression. the Soviet force numbered 30 divisions. to be replaced by Semyon Timoshenko. By early March. themselves more than a match for an enemy that vastly outnumbered them. the Finns sued for an armistice. he was appointed Soviet Commissar for Military and against the Russian Naval Affairs (from 1934 the Commissar for Defence). 3939 . He was invasion of Finland disliked by many of the generals. Soviet losses are estimated at anywhere between 125. who moved quickly and silently. There was a marked disparity in air strength between the Finns improvised the use of logs and crowbars the two sides. with very little military volunteered to fight experience. and the Soviet Union as “ghost troops”. (1881–1969) Danes were among many nationalities. Finnish soldiers proved he was forced to relinquish in 1960. The international reputation of Soviet skis with gas masks.

after a Unknown to Langsdorff. Raeder told to Germany. and the Graf Spee’s captain. The German Navy High Command wanted no repeat of the disaster of the First World War. being hit by splinters from a 200-mm (11-inch) shell from the Graf Spee on 13 December 1939. British naval force Naval Rating series of naval disasters. This would bring him a cheap the British and French fleets. He realized told a small British escort force would be leaving how weak his force was in 1939 when faced with on 10 December. Adolf Hitler ordered BELOW: Damage to the director tower of HMS Achilles after two German “pocket” battleships. GROSS. whose name now adorned Langsdorff’s ship. he sank or captured nine merchant ships but the wear and RAEDER (1876–1960) Erich Raeder was Commander-in-Chief of the tear on the ship’s less effective diesel-powered German navy at the start of the Second World engines meant that a lengthy return trip to War. He was tried “G” had been formed under Commodore Henry aboard the Admiral at Nuremberg and sentenced to life imprisonment. LEFT: The German pocket battleship Graf Spee on fire after being scuttled in the estuary of the River Plate. was under strict orders not to engage enemy warships. In 1943. The ships had been built in the early 1930s when Germany was still restricted to vessels of 10. to begin intercepting and destroying British merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean. 40 . ABOVE: Damage to the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter after the 80-minute battle with the Graf Spee on 13 December 1939 which disabled the ship. but recognized that orders and find a weak British naval target to under the Third Reich he could fulfil his dream of destroy. The Allies combined had 22 battleships and 83 cruisers. which manages to send an emergency Atlantic. He was not an enthusiast for Hitler. he left office. O n 26 September 1939. Deutschland and Admiral Graf Spee.World War II THE BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE 21 AUGUST 1939 30 SEPTEMBER 1939 2 DECEMBER 1939 Graf Spee and Graf Spee sinks its Graf Spee sinks Doric 13 DECEMBER 1939 Deutschland set out into the first ship. Star. where he was rebuilding a powerful German navy.000 tons. when a squadron under Admiral von Spee. Graf Spee.ADMIRAL ERICH Between September and 9 December. 17 December 1939. Raeder joined the navy in his departure Langsdorff decided to disobey his 1894 and rose rapidly through the ranks. message before sinking. a post he had held since 1928. He sailed for Montevideo. Born in the Germany became necessary for refitting. Before port city of Hamburg. Germany only victory and assure a triumphal homecoming 3 pocket battleships and 8 cruisers. ABOVE: The cap his commanders that they should know “how to worn by a German die gallantly” when the time came. had been defeated off the Falkland Islands. but served only nine years before his release. The job of the pocket battleships was to destroy trade by what was called “merchant raiding”. Hans Langsdorff. They were designed to maximize effective firepower despite the weight restriction and Graf Spee mounted six 280mm (11-inch) guns. not to fight the Royal Navy.

took the light cruisers Ajax and Achilles – the latter glory. set charges and sailed the Royal Navy’s equivalent 13 December. ABOVE: Captain Hans Langsdorff with the crew of the Graf Spee on a tugboat in Buenos Aires. the German ship spotted the British ship out to sea where. He was knighted and made a Rear Admiral. But the Britain’s first wartime victory and one of the few Churchill. He ordered the crew was First Sea Lord. First Lord of the Admiralty. it blew up. then wrote a suicide note accepting full Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean outgunned. Langsdorff shot himself after his arrival. the mouth of the River Plate. and 17 December 1939. The Battle of the River Plate was worked well with (11-inch) shells from the German guns. with a manned largely by New Zealanders – northeast while his commanders all won high decorations. Pound light cruisers badly damaged by the large 280mm Japanese in 1942. Harwood Harwood was the one who returned home to Sea Lord in 1939. Langsdorff realized that When war broke out. December 1939. In a little over an Winston Churchill went to Plymouth to welcome tumour. sinking at once. While the heavy cruiser Exeter ensign. developing brain to attack from the other side. 4141 . tracking Anxious that a stronger Royal Navy force was POUND (1877–1943) down the Graf Spee in an area as vast as the South approaching and pressed by the Uruguayan Atlantic was extremely difficult. The Battle of the River Plate Harwood to hunt down the merchant raider. he shot himself. ADMIRAL SIR DUDLEY to send out a signal with its position. Harwood decided at once to engage blame for the disaster. Even Reluctantly. Admiral Dudley Pound Harwood decided on 9 December to make for the his position was hopeless. BELOW: Winston Churchill. In 1943. force. 1940. hosts a lunch on 23 February 1940 at the Guildhall in London to honour the victors of the Battle of the River Plate. but on instinct authorities to leave. when Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway. and often hour of firing. Langsdorff ordered full steam ahead. He joined the navy in 1891. RIGHT: Funeral of the German dead from the Graf Spee in the harbour of Montevideo. determined British attack produced 20 hits on pieces of action throughout the so-called Phoney his health forced him the Graf Spee which left her in no condition to War which stretched from September 1939 to April to resign and he died shortly after. and served as a captain at only too late discovered that he was engaging Langsdorff ensured that his crewmen were the Battle of Jutland one heavy and two light cruisers rather than the interned in Argentina. Early in the morning of to leave the ship. where they went to be interned on 18 December 1939. which was later sunk by the at loggerheads with his admirals. Uruguay. promotion to First moved west to draw the German fire. Laying out his battleship’s Fleet in 1936 before the Graf Spee. He became small escort vessels he had expected. at 8. Langsdorff broke away and made off though one doomed merchant ship had managed for Montevideo in neutral Uruguay.45 in the evening on of commander-in-chief. Though the Axis. Argentina. pursue the enemy or even to finish off the Exeter. Although in poor health. Exeter was crippled and the two the damaged Exeter. which was sympathetic to in 1916.

PARATROOPERS German forces undertook the first invasion by paratroopers on 9 April when they were flown in Junkers Ju52 transport aircraft and dropped over airfields at Oslo and Stavanger. emptive strike on his northern flank. Five major coastal towns were secured on the first day of the invasion. Operation including the newly launched heavy cruiser “Weserübung” began on the morning of 9 April. boarded the Altmark and for the smaller port cities on the long Norwegian rescued the British sailors. Blücher. They secured the airfields quickly and German transport planes began to land vital equipment to allow the German forces to consolidate their grip in southern Norway and seize the Norwegian capital. D uring the early months of 1940. whose job was to to the real danger of British intervention. but it alerted Hitler organized 10th Flying Corps. ordered the mining of Norwegian surprise and succeeded within days in seizing coastal waters. French premier. despite the loss of a large part of had already decided on 2 April to launch a pre. Vian was ordered not to intervene. Hitler ordered planning to begin for Operation “Weserübung”. capitulate in Norway. replaced by Paul the invasion following its murder Polish officers in Vidkun Quisling Islands. The French government advocated the possible military occupation of the ore-producing areas. A large flotilla of of London on 9 April 1940. the possible occupation of Denmark and Norway. U-boat. Reynaud. the surface fleet and numerous smaller vessels. The successful deployment of airborne forces was to be tried again with great success a few weeks later in the German invasion of Belgium. On 5 February 1940. 42 . the captain of the British destroyer HMS Cossack. The Allies explored the possibility of cutting Germany off from her essential supplies of high-quality Swedish iron ore by mining Norwegian waters. coup in Oslo. government. but Hitler most of Norway. The stakes were raised when Philip Vian. In early April. The town of Kristiansand was heavily bombed on the first day. Royal Navy from intervening. They were supported by a specially received by the British public.World War II THE INVASION OF NORWAY 28 FEBRUARY 1940 13 MARCH 1940 20 MARCH 1940 2 APRIL 1940 5 APRIL 1940 9 APRIL 1940 18 APRIL 1940 9 JUNE 1940 9 APRIL— British intelligence secure a German Treaty of Moscow ends Daladier resigns as Hitler issues final order for Soviet security men Norwegian fascist leader Allies occupy the Faroe Norwegian forces 9 JUNE 1940 “Enigma” machine from a wrecked the Soviet- Finnish War. The exploit was well coastline. planning the forest of launches in February. which was sunk by Norwegian shore BELOW: German soldiers gather on a beach on the western coast of Norway on 9 April 1940. Oslo. ships made for the Norwegian capital. both sides eyed Scandinavia as a possible area for military action. and but he disobeyed orders. The German navy began to explore the idea of occupying Norway to protect the mineral resources and provide it with a springboard for attacks against Allied shipping in the North Atlantic. found the German tanker Altmark anchored in Norwegian waters. Katyn. The German ship carried 299 British prisoners captured from ships sunk by when two divisions of German troops entered ABOVE: News of the invasion of Norway hits the streets of the City the Graf Spee. Winston Churchill. as First Lord of The German campaign took the Allies by the Admiralty. To avoid offending the Norwegian Denmark almost unopposed. while ferry paratroops to Norway and to prevent the Anglo–Norwegian relations reached a low ebb. which began on 8 April.

Five German destroyers then appeared outside the port and opened fire. but by 8 June. British ship on 7 June 1940. German losses totalled 3. with the Battle of France reaching its critical climax. Allied forces the same number. an Allied expeditionary force which landed at Narvik on 14 April and near Trondheim on 18 April was pinned down by German forces. On naval base. which rammed the much larger ship. batteries as it approached Oslo. two cruisers and BELOW: The Norwegian royal family was forced to flee on a the German administrators and Gestapo officials nine destroyers but remained a formidable force. Warburton-Lee was killed and his ship. damaged another and destroyed six merchant ships. the cruiser Hipper was holed by the British submarine pens can be seen to this day. The Royal in northern Norway. and was never again in the 1940 Narvik campaign a position to mount a major operation. The remains of the vast concrete 8 April. The battle around Narvik was hampered by continuous air attacks against British shipping. HMS Hardy ABOVE: British troops in northern Norway with a French Hotchkiss H39 light beached. destroyer HMS Glowworm. BERNARD ARMITAGE WARBURTON-LEE VC Warburton-Lee was Commander of a British flotilla of five destroyers ordered to Narvik on 9 April to stop a German landing. The flow of military equipment was too slow to halt the German advance and after 10 May Allied priorities lay in France. King Haakon is seen here on his triumphant return to Norway five years later on 7 June 1945 destined to rule occupied Norway. All eight German destroyers were sunk. and with the Norwegian surrender two days later. His ships arrived too late but the following morning in heavy snow he led them into the harbour where they sank two destroyers. RIGHT: British forces near the town of Trondheim on the north Norwegian coast during the attempt in May 1940 to wrest control from the German occupiers. insisted on maintaining a state of war from exile in London. carrying onboard Navy lost an aircraft carrier. King Haakon. tank. including three German forces taking part in cruisers and 10 destroyers. ABOVE: German soldiers deploy heavy artillery against Allied forces in May 1940 around Narvik. battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were ordered Trondheim turned into a major German also damaged in combat with the Royal Navy.700 men. 43 . along with the Norwegian royal family and government. German control of Norway was complete. The German navy lost ABOVE: German shield badge awarded to the a large part of the surface fleet. despite the destruction of most of the covering German naval force. blew up and sank. which the Allies captured on May 28 but abandoned 11 days later. The new fast Hitler secured the supply of Swedish iron ore and aboard the oyal Navy’s HMS Norfolk. However. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Allied forces were evacuated. and by 3 May was compelled to evacuate from the Trondheim area. however. The invasion of Norway BELOW: Narvik Harbour showing sunken German supply ships following the successful Royal Navy raid on the German destroyer force on 13 April 1940 by the battleship Warspite and nine destroyers.

German towns. she famously told September 1939. Churchill was not the first choice had sufficient time in a crowded political life for of the Conservative majority in Parliament. and urging him to be post he held at the beginning of more tolerant and approachable. The conflict. at Dunkirk. and in September 1939 Chamberlain invited him back into the cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. but his family. it was CLEMENTINE Chamberlain who took the blame when the war CHURCHILL (1885–1977) went wrong. and during the Second World War chaired the Red Cross Aid for and the trades unions would work with. whatever the odds. Clementine was a staunch and loyal partner to a man who seldom was needed. He came to as much as ambition. the same as kind as you used to be”. taken forcefully. predominantly autobiography and history. and he campaigned on issues that were far from popular. On 27 June 1940. During this time he wrote extensively. and his did the full scale of Churchill’s leadership abilities determination to fight on. wartime authority. He was regarded as an unsuccessful Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1924 and 1929. Only while he was in office symbolize British resistance to Hitler. the First World War. He was flamboyant. including his famous Life of Marlborough. 44 . Though often in Winston’s LEFT: Churchill stands outside shadow. and followed his own instincts as much by Cecil Beaton in 1940. He There were many reasons why Churchill’s had always harboured the ambition to be a great parliamentary colleagues were dubious about war leader but during the 20 years since the end him. with US President coastal bombing of exceptional forces trapped shall never Roosevelt. meaning a successor as Prime Minister granddaughter of aristocracy. Winston Churchill married Clementine strongly against Chamberlain’s handling of the Hozier after a whirlwind courtship. Churchill had experienced unpredictable – a larger-than-life personality who increasing political decline and isolation and had spent a political lifetime making enemies. His reputation as a warmonger and reactionary were out of step with the mood of pacifism and appeasement which prevailed up to Munich and even beyond. intemperate and of the First World War. Although Churchill oversaw the disastrous Norwegian campaign. seated at his desk in No 10 Downing Street. N o figure so dominates the early history his choice as Britain’s wartime Prime Minister to of the Second World War as Winston succeed Neville Chamberlain came through luck Leonard Spencer Churchill. He was first elected to Parliament in 1900 as a Conservative.World War II CHURCHILL TAKES OVER 3 SEPTEMBER 1939 5 OCTOBER 1939 7 APRIL 1940 15 MAY 1940 22 MAY 1940 26 MAY 1940 4 JUNE 1940 9 NOVEMBER 1940 Churchill appointed Churchill begins Churchill gives Churchill Emergency Operation Churchill Neville 10 MAY 1940 to the Admiralty. finally emerge. switched to the Liberal Party in 1904 and then back to the Conservatives in 1924. He expressed himself ABOVE: One of the most famous photographs of Churchill. as political common sense. She organized canteens for munitions he was a figure that the opposition Labour Party workers in the First World War. waters. she played a major part in encouraging the Admiralty building in his ambition and in supporting his role as wartime London’s Whitehall on 17 leader. a five-year confidential correspondence the order to lay mines in Norwegian and the War Cabinet approve the Powers Act passed in Britain. On 9 Russia programme. giving Churchill “Dynamo” launched to rescue British declares in House of Commons “We Chamberlain dies. surrender”. made him into a legend in his own lifetime. two weeks him that his brusque and hostile manner was after his appointment as First alienating his colleagues. Churchill had strong views on empire and hated communism. He was opposed to making concessions to Gandhi’s Indian nationalists and demanded that Britain rearm as fully as possible to meet the likely threat from Hitler. Churchill was a powerful political figure nonetheless. telling him “you are not Lord of the Admiralty. and the public mood then swung In 1908. and in the 1930s found himself in the political wilderness.

Chamberlain remained a firm supporter of Churchill until his death in November. while the Lords greeted his appointment Scots Fusiliers. “I felt as if I end. whom Chamberlain would have preferred the leader of a nation defeated in France and was recalled to London. waiting for Halifax Although there were some British politicians to speak. the silence was broken when Halifax the day of his appointment Churchill never announced that he did not feel he could cope with wavered in his determination to defeat Hitlerism being a war leader. the day of his resignation. Lord Halifax. second from right. 45 . The sign was first used by English archers in the Middle Ages to taunt their French opponents who used to cut off the middle fingers of English prisoners to prevent them drawing a bow. account that he said little. one day before German armies attacked in on 13 May. he went off to the Western Front expecting to be made a General but was forced May. With almost nothing to ABOVE: Neville Chamberlain and his wife walk through St. stands with officers of the French 29th Division at Nieuport in Belgium. and to rally British society to fight the war to the he wrote later that at that moment. Edward. running office together with the Foreign Secretary. Churchill recalled in his post-war threatened with invasion. ABOVE: Churchill gives the famous V for Victory sign to a crowd outside the Sheffield City Hall in November 1941. do for much of 1915. who favoured a compromise with Hitler. He was in the front line. Churchill takes over ABOVE: Churchill. Finally. and that all my past life British war effort that moulded the Churchill had been a preparation for this hour and for this legend. he first took up painting. BELOW: Winston Churchill side by side with the British Foreign Secretary. becoming Minister of Munitions in July 1917. both contenders to succeed Neville Chamberlain in May 1940. there was no more than a ripple of to accept a Colonel’s commission with the Royal the west. Churchill was called to Chamberlain’s applause. when he Halifax. Churchill was to see active service. The public forgot his chequered past and trial…”. from Finally. Churchill found himself daily risks. Following the disastrous campaign against the Turks for the Dardanelles. Churchill had to accept a humiliating demotion. When Churchill arrived in the Commons rallied to his summons. It is this defiance at a critical moment in the was walking with destiny. Within weeks. Lord in silence. CHURCHILL IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR Churchill began the First World War as he was to begin the Second. James’ Park in central London on 10 May 1940. Churchill was left unopposed. which became one of the great passions of his life. as First Lord of the Admiralty. This was the last time as his successor. from January to May 1916.

Belgian and French armed during Germany’s Blitzkreig of the West. it required total air superiority to be effective it. He was Commander of numbers of medium bombers. the famous by the Junkers Ju87 dive bomber and large Blitzkrieg strategy. the 1930s pioneered fast mobile warfare Guderian’s Panzer divisions broke across the spearheaded by the use Meuse River on 13 May and. large GENERAL German formations of armoured divisions. German officer who in Under the command of General von Kleist. Curlew off the to enter Belgian resignation of Neville from which to attack coast of Norway. fortifications were weakest. rush for the coast in the hope of encircling and 46 . He was appointed ABOVE: Despite the imminent Dutch surrender and the firing Inspector-General of Armoured Troops in 1943. considered virtually (1888-1954) impassable by the French High Command. but fell out with Hitler.974 to 7. heavily HEINZ protected by fighters. where the French Maginot Line through a captured Belgian town.000 homeless. forces into the Low Countries to halt the German advance. The Western plan was based on a rapid movement of forces into Belgium and the Netherlands to counter the expected German attack. territory. German fighter and bomber forces were outnumbered on paper by the Allies (3. The balance of forces between the two sides favoured the Western Allies in army divisions (144 to 141). Unknown to the Western Allies. He won spectacular victories in the rather serious hitch at Sedan. The French front collapsed of red “abort” flares by Germans on the ground.254 to 3.445). Dutch resistance crumbled and within a few days Belgian. and led the 19th whole French front by driving a powerful wedge Panzer Corps during the invasions of Poland and between two French armies. defending the rest of France and mainland Britain.562). unhinged the Mobile Troops by the late 1930s. heavily supported of armour. After German forces attacked the Netherlands and seized the key Belgian fortress of Eben Emael with the first successful airborne LEFT: A French gun firing at the advancing Germans assault on 10 May. chief-of-staff of the 2nd Army. Chamberlain.World War II GERMANY INVADES IN THE WEST 15 JANUARY 1940 10 MAY 1940 10 MAY 1940 11 MAY 1940 27 MAY 1940 Belgian Winston Churchill British troops occupy Luxembourg A German aerial 10—27 MAY 1940 government refuses permission becomes Prime Minister of Great Iceland to prevent the Germans from occupied by German attack sinks the British cruiser for Allied forces Britain following the using it as a base troops. artillery pieces (13. May 1940. Lacaille.378) and tanks (3. During the spring. “There has been a the breakthrough at Sedan which opened up the French front. as learned during the Battle in November 1939 but bad weather prevented of Britain. forces. killing 800 and making a further and German commanders began the successful again in March 1945. 78. Rotterdam was then Chief of Army Staff until Hitler dismissed him carpet bombed on 14 May. turned into a rout. German military planners as it was slow and prepared a campaign based on a rapid defeat of cumbersome. Hitler had wanted to invade in the West However. and stood poised for an historic breakthrough. British and French forces were in retreat. but both the French and British chose to keep large air forces away from the battlefield. 16 May 1940. The rapid German advance was based on a number of daring strategic strokes and the miscalculation of the Allies. Allied forces by striking with armour and aircraft through the heavily wooded Ardennes sector of BELOW: German motorcyclists advance the front.” reported Colonel Russian campaign in 1941. O n 10 May 1940 German forces launched BELOW: The Junkers Ju87B “Stuka” a series of swift operations against was the most famous of the German dive bombers and used to devasting effect the Dutch. had by 12 May mustered GUDERIAN in the Ardennes forest.384 to 2. The “hitch” who sacked him in December. Allied convoys. the Allies attempted to move during the defence of the Maginot Line. General Hutzinger’s France where his forces played a critical part in 2nd and General Corap’s 9th.

Germany invades in the West

LEFT: Tank barriers in the
airborne landing,
Maginot Line. France spent
Moerdijk XXXX
10 May
Wesel nine years and three billion


Essen Francs building this line of
Duisburg XXXXX Ruhr
defence only for it to be almost
completely bypassed by the

Antwerp Albert xxxx

l Nazis, who instead invaded by
e G E R M A N Y

BEL Ghent

XXXX XXXX way of the Low Countries and


Calais 6

Maastricht REICHENAU the Ardennes forest.

Watten au
XXXX Brussels
Es Aachen
Boulogne Eben

GORT Hannut xx
21 May 1 e 9


Charleroi Sambre
XXX Arras
Cambrai XXXX
Abbeville XXX 2
WEICHS RIGHT: Men of the Royal Fusiliers
N s man a Bren gun position at the

1 10
St. Quentin E
16 front near Saint Francois-Lacroix,
21 May Sedan LUXEMBOURG 3 January 1940. By May 1940

F R A N C E Luxembourg
there were 394,165 members of


the BEF on the French/Belgian

Sa a
Se 2


border. 237,319 of these were


6 2
employed in front line duties.

Front lines, with date Axis forces Allied forces

Often regarded as the commander who lost the
Battle of France in 1940, General Gamelin was in fact
a successful and innovative soldier, who helped to
modernise the French army in the 1930s and prepare
it for the conflict with Germany. He was commander-
in-chief of French forces in May 1940 when the
Germans invaded. His plan to move French mobile
forces rapidly into the Netherlands to stop the
German advance fatally weakened the French line
opposite the axis of German advance. He was sacked
on 19 May as the Allied front crumbled.

ABOVE: General Rommel, Commander of 7 Panzer Division, and his staff, plot their way through France, May
1940. They were known as the “Ghost Division” due to the speed with which they attacked.

destroying all the remaining Allied armies in the hold up the German advance. The same day the LEFT: A mother leads her
pocket. By 19 May Guderian’s tanks had reached French premier, Paul Reynaud, told the French children to safety having
been made homeless by a
the Channel coast at Abbeville. parliament that only a miracle could save France
German attack, Belgium,
A small number of counterattacks by French from defeat. As the noose tightened around the May 1940.
and British forces held up what was close to trapped British and French forces in northern
becoming a foregone conclusion. On 28 May, France, plans were made to try to hold the line
after a brave defence of western Belgium, of the River Somme, where more than 20 years
the Belgian king surrendered. The before some of the bloodiest battles of the First
Netherlands had capitulated on 14 May, World War had been fought. On 23 May the
following a fierce air bomb attack on British military Chiefs-of-Staff decided that
the Dutch port of Rotterdam. the war in France was lost and prepared to
The rapid German advance abandon their ally. On 27 May British forces
created panic in the French began to evacuate from the northern
leadership. British reinforcements French port of Dunkirk. France was
were slow to arrive and the bulk forced to fight on alone.
of British air power remained in
Britain to defend against a possible
German air assault. On 16 May Winston
LEFT: German Army
Churchill flew to Paris where he was told marching compass used in
that there was no French reserve left to the movement west.


World War II

20 MAY 1940 26 MAY 1940 27 MAY 1940 3 JUNE 1940 4 JUNE 1940 19 JUNE 1940
27 MAY— German army
reaches the
The surrender
of Calais.
German air
force bomb
of French

4 JUNE 1940 Channel coast
of France.
officially launched
to evacuate
Paris killing
250 people.
from Dunkirk. and Polish
soldiers from
British soldiers south-western
from France. France.

s German forces pressed forward into BELOW: British forces line up on the beach at Dunkirk waiting to be evacuated.
France they opened up a wide gap
between the British Expeditionary
Force in northern France and the bulk of the
French army to the south. By the fourth week
of May, German thrusts had also separated the
BEF from the crumbling Belgian army, which
capitulated three days later. There existed a very
real danger that the entire British force would
be encircled and captured, but on 23 May von
Runstedt halted the armoured forces, and the
following day Hitler, uncertain about the strength
of the French army to the south, concurred. The
German armour stopped in front of a network
of water-courses surrounding the area around
Lille and Dunkirk now occupied by the BEF
and a substantial number of trapped French
divisions. This pause allowed a rough perimeter
defence to be established by the Allies. On 26
May, the British government ordered Lord Gort,
the BEF commander, to evacuate as many troops The fighting retreat begun around 21 May BELOW: Motor vehicles on the quayside at Cherbourg
during the evacuation, 13 June 1940.
as he could from France. The evacuation was was among the fiercest action of the campaign.
masterminded by Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay, The troops holding the British line at Arras were
who later, as Naval Commander, organized ordered to “fight to the last man and the last
the shipping for the D-Day invasion. Given the round”. When German attacks resumed on 26 THE OTHER
codename Operation “Dynamo” – after the small May, every mile of ground was contested. Under a
dynamo room in the Dover cliffs used as the hail of bombs from German aircraft, an estimated
Even as Operation “Dynamo” ended, there were
operational base – the saving of the BEF became 850–950 small ships and larger naval and
more than 100,000 British troops still stationed in
one of the great legends in Britain’s war effort. merchant vessels plied back and forth, carrying northern France, and as French resistance crumbled
British troops between Dunkirk and the southern they fell back on the ports. On 13 June, 11,200 men
British ports. In addition to Royal Navy vessels were evacuated from Le Havre on the north French
coast; 27,000 from St. Nazaire on 17–18 June. In
and large steamers, there came lifeboats and
total around 273,000 more British, French and
trawlers. The Port of London Authority sent nine Polish soldiers and airmen were evacuated to Britain
between 13 and 25 June, a total not far short of
the number saved at Dunkirk. On 17 June, a single
German plane succeeded in hitting the overcrowded
Lancastria in St-Nazaire harbour. The ship keeled
over and only 2,477 of an estimated 6,000 crew and
evacuees were saved. This was the worst disaster in
British maritime history.

ABOVE: A British anti-aircraft gun abandoned at Dunkirk, June
ABOVE: Officers of the Royal Ulster Rifles awaiting evacuation 1940. Most of the equipment of the British Expeditionary Force
at Bray Dunes, about 8km (5miles) from Dunkirk. had to be left behind in France.



BELOW: Shipping was an easy target for the German air force. Here the French destroyer
FIELD Bourrasque is sinking off Dunkirk loaded with evacuees.

John Standish
Vereker, Viscount
Gort, was born into
an Irish aristocratic
family. He served
in the Grenadier
Guards and became a battalion commander in 1917.
After a long army career, he was appointed Chief
of the Imperial General Staff in 1937. He held that
office until September 1939, when he was sent
to France to command the British Expeditionary
Force, where he was responsible for organizing
the evacuation from Dunkirk. He later became
Governor of Malta during the siege of the island,
and was created a Field Marshal in 1943.

tugs drawing barges behind them. Fortunately, BELOW: French soldiers captured when the German army entered Dunkirk after the British evacuation, 4 June 1940.
British fighter aircraft were able to reach
Dunkirk from British bases and kept up regular
sorties against German units, though 177 British
aircraft were lost. When the weather was clear,
German aircraft exacted a heavy toll: on 1 June,
three destroyers were sunk and Ramsay ordered
sailings only at night.
During the eight days of the evacuation,
an estimated 338,000 troops were rescued
including 110,000 French servicemen, most of
whow m were saved only on the last two days
after Ramsay was ordered to send back the big
ships to rescue non-British forces as well. A
mixture of British and French units continued
to defend the pocket, and for many of them,
including the 51st Highland Division, forced
to surrender in mid-June, evacuation was not
possible. Some 8,000 British soldiers went into
captivity. On the evacuation beaches discipline
was hard to maintain and panicking soldiers
were sometimes killed or beaten to keep order,
while British forces also shot French soldiers
suspected of spying or betrayal. On 27 May, a
group of the Royal Norfolks was caught by the SS
“Death’s Head” Division, commanded by General
Theodor Eicke, former commandant of Dachau,
and 97 of them were murdered in cold blood.
The Dunkirk evacuation was both a victory
and a defeat. It showed how important was
British naval power and it also provided a taste
of the conflict between the two air forces that
later dominated the summer and autumn of
1940. German aircraft losses during the Battle
of France were higher than in the later Battle of
Britain. Yet Dunkirk did mean an ignominious
end to Allied efforts to defeat Germany on land.
Almost all the British army’s equipment was
abandoned or destroyed, and a new army had ABOVE: Troops arrive back at
to be rebuilt over the course of the following Dover from Dunkirk, 31 May 1940.
In total around 228,000 British
years. “Wars are not won”, Churchill remarked
forces were rescued in nine days.
on 4 June, “by evacuations”.


World War II

10JUNE 1940 14 JUNE 1940 16 JUNE 1940 19 JUNE 1940 20 JUNE 1940 1 JULY 1940
Italy declares Paris falls to Premier Paul German Japan forces French parliament

4—17 JUNE 1940
war on the German Reynaud army reaches France to votes Marshal
France and military. resigns. Atlantic coast agree to Pétain special
Britain. at Brest. Japanese powers, bringing
naval vessels the Third Republic
in Indo-China. to an end.

he surrender of Belgium and the British BELOW: French infantry surrender to the advancing German army in June 1940. Hundreds of thousands of French POWs were later made
evacuation from Dunkirk left France to work for the German war effort.

fighting almost alone against the
German advance. General Maxime Weygand,
who succeeded General Gamelin on 19 May,
organized an improvised defensive line along
two rivers, the Somme and the Aisne, which
had witnessed much of the fighting in the First
World War. The German army reorganized into
two major armoured spearheads led by von Kleist
and Guderian, and attacked the Weygand Line
on 5 and 9 June. After a few days of very fierce
fighting, the German forces reached the eastern
edge of Paris. The capital was declared an open
city, and on 14 June the German army entered
almost deserted streets.
The French government had fled first to Tours,
where Churchill flew on 11 June to try to rally
French resistance, then to Bordeaux. In the days
before the German arrival, thousands of Parisians
fled by car, train or on foot in what became known
as l’exode, “the exodus”.
Following the breakthrough to Paris, resistance to surrender piecemeal, but by 22 June French
RIGHT: A French
began to crumble despite the existence of resistance towards the Germans was over. anti-tank mine.
large units of the French army and substantial On the Italian-French frontier in the south,
numbers of aircraft not yet defeated. German however, hostilities continued. Mussolini declared
armoured forces pushed forward at high speed, war on France and Britain on 10 June, anxious MARSHAL
reaching Brest on the Atlantic coast by 19 June, not to miss any advantages he might gain from a PHILIPPE
Nantes by 20 June and as far as Bordeaux by 25 peace settlement. Eleven days later, the 22 Italian PÉTAIN
June, when the armistice, sought by the French divisions on the Italian-French frontier, totalling
government on 17 June and signed five days later, 300,000 men, were used to attack the southern
finally came into effect. In the east of France, the French defences where they were held up by only To many
Maginot Line was penetrated in several places six French divisions of approximately 85,000; Frenchmen
Marshal Pétain
while German forces swung south to encircle the French strength had been greatly reduced
was both a hero
what was left of the Second French Army Group following the redeployment of General Olry’s and a villain. In the
under General Prétalat. French forces were forced forces to the north to face the German threat there. First World War
After four days of fighting, the Italians had gained he commanded
the defence of the
almost nothing in the face of entrenched defences
French fortress of
in difficult terrain. The Italian forces lost 1,258 Verdun and was hailed in 1918 as one of the victors
dead and 2,631 wounded in the campaign; only over Germany, for which he was rewarded with the
20 French soldiers were killed, and 84 wounded. title Marshal of France. In 1940, the ageing hero who
had been ambassador in Spain in the 1930s and from
On 24 June, an armistice was signed, ending May 1940 vice-premier, was called upon to bolster
what had been a brief, pointless and inglorious French morale in the crisis weeks of June 1940. On
campaign. The battle to the north cost the French 16 June, as French resistance collapsed, he became
prime minister and called for an armistice. He
an estimated 90,000 dead and the loss of 1.9
established a new authoritarian government in the
million men as prisoners of war; German losses small town of Vichy in central France from which his
were 29,640 dead and 163,000 wounded. regime took its name. He was forced to collaborate
For other Frenchmen the war continued beyond with the Germans, including in the campaign against
the Jews, and at the end of the war he was arrested
the armistice. On 6 June, the French premier, and later sentenced to death. He died in captivity on
ABOVE: A French Char B tank in action during the Battle of Paul Reynaud, had appointed the young General the Île d’Yeu.
France, May 1940. Charles de Gaulle as Under Secretary for War.


The Fall of France


Abbeville B BELGIUM A
English Channel

Cherbourg Dieppe BOCK RUNDSTEDT Mainz
19 June XXXX Maginot

Germans occupy 4 XXXX Line
Le Havre 16

Channel Islands, 9 2 1

Nothing so symbolized German humiliation at the 30 June Se Verdun
Caen ine Metz

end of the First World War as the railway carriage Brest Avranches
Paris Strasbourg

in the small French town of Compiègne where 19 June Nancy XXXXX

Rennes Troyes XXX
German delegates were compelled to sign the Lorient
Chartres 2 XXXX
XXX Épinal
armistice that ended hostilities on 11 November Lo
Orléans ir
1918. When Marshal Pétain asked for an armistice St Nazaire

from the Germans on 17 June, Hitler insisted that it remnants of
Nantes F R A N C E Dijon Besançon Army Group 2
should be signed in the same place as in 1918. The Nevers surrender, 22 June
French General Charles Huntzinger led a delegation XXX SWITZERLAND
to meet Hitler on 21 June, and the armistice was La Rochelle KLEIST
signed the following day in the railway carriage. Its XXXXX Geneva
Lyon Venice
24 articles were dictated by the German side rather (remnants) 20 June
Bay of Biscay 21 June Milan
than negotiated. The armistice came into force capital of new XXXX Po
on 25 June following a second armistice signing in French Vichy state XXXXX Turin
Bordeaux (22 divs)
Rome to bring Italian-French hostilities to a close. 4 Valence
21 June Bologna
(remnants) ALPS Genoa
V I C H Y F R A N C E (6 divs)
KLEIST Italian occupied Florence
after 22 June France, 1940–43

Marseilles Mediterranean Sea

5 June Armistice line, 22 June
Frontlines 13 June boundary between German
17 June occupied and Vichy France

BELOW: Hitler standing at the Trocadero
in Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower, during
his only visit to the captured city, on 28 June
1940. He was said to be delighted that Paris
had been surrendered with its architecture
undamaged by bombing.

ABOVE: The French SE MAS 1935 sub-machine gun. Ordered for
mass production in 1940, the gun, designed five years earlier, only
reached the French army in small numbers before the armistice. It
was later used by the Germans and the Vichy regime forces.

BELOW: German troops parade
through Paris following the
occupation of the French capital,
which was declared an open
city on 13 June 1940 to avoid
bombing attacks.

ABOVE: General Charles de Gaulle seated at his desk in London,
c.1940. He escaped from France during the evacuation and was
recognised by the British government as leader of Free French
forces on 28 June 1940. In 1940 he took part in an attempt to
capture Dakar in West Africa from the Vichy regime.

He wanted to continue the fight and on 16 June
encouraged Churchill to offer France a union of
the two countries which he did with the backing
of his cabinet. The French government refused,
but de Gaulle smuggled himself out of France in
an RAF aircraft and in London on 18 June made
an historic appeal to a “Free France” to continue
the fight against the German enemy. De Gaulle
and the small number of supporters he gathered
in England formally established the Free French
forces on 7 August; they numbered only 2,240
officers and men. The newly formed Vichy
government of Marshal Pétain declared them to be
traitors but they formed the nucleus of what was
to become a large and effective fighting force later
in the war.


which was to be for what such an order would look like. rest of the city. propaganda across occupied Europe to show that Germany had to share rule with the Italian regime Germany was resisting “Jewish Bolshevism” and in the former Yugoslavia and Greece. killing of into Reich. T he German conquest of much of Europe surrendered in September 1943. the military wing IRELAND OSTLAND K I N G D O M furthest Axis R E P U B L I C S of the Nazi Party’s elite SS organization. as the capital of a new empire to rival that patchwork of different forms of political association of ancient Rome. SWITZ.World War II GERMANY’S NEW ORDER 3 OCTOBER 1940 23 OCTOBER 1940 16 JULY 1941 3 OCTOBER 1941 10 JUNE 1942 11 NOVEMBER 1942 5 OCTOBER 1943 19 MARCH 1944 The Jews of Spanish leader Hitler orders Hitler declares 340 Czechs Vichy France Germany absorbs German forces 1940—1945 Warsaw are forced into the ghetto which is Franco refuses to join the Axis after meeting Hitler. the Netherlands. Minsk into USSR war. those defeated states allowed some scale reorganization of the region. Bulgaria 21. 1942 SERBIA A BULGARIA Italian occupation. Norway.000 I Occupied by Germany. More than 200. on the extension of German garrison cities would govern the vast Russian military power. Romania. The object of the New Order was to re-centre the There were no clear German plans before 1939 politics of the continent on Berlin. the destruction. Heydrich.000. Europe followed no clear lines. Romania. Albert brief five years of existence it remained a confused Speer. but when Italy “Jewish international capital”. The (Belgium. played an important role in spreading Union. 1941 FRANCE C R OAT I A BANAT ROMANIA Hungary supplied 22. known by the degree of autonomy under German supervision term “General Plan East” (Generalplan Ost). The conquest of Bulgaria and the new puppet states of Slovakia the western Soviet Union laid the way for a large- and Croatia).000 Europeans from Berlin Warsaw western and northern G E R M A N E M P I R E Alsace-Lorraine BELGIUM GENERAL Kiev Stalingrad Europe had joined the absorbed into Germany Paris BOHEMIA GOVERNMENT REICHSKOMMISSARIAT Waffen-SS.000 by Hitler in Berlin on 3 October 1941 at a time people and whose dome was to be seven times larger when he believed the Soviet Union was close to than that of St Peter’s in the Vatican. H U N G A RY Among Germany’s VICHY Transnistria to allies in eastern Europe. Romania T PORTUGAL S PA I N Nov. but hatred of SYRIA ALGERIA (Vichy France communism or hostility to (Vichy France) Crete Cyprus until 1941) Malta the Jews also played a part. the territories of the western Soviet Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment in Hitler’s cabinet. sealed from the resistance. By the end of the advance London NETH. and those remaining areas directly ruled by German political or military authorities (Poland. savage repression of European the launch of the New Order in Berlin. including 800 F R A N C E & MORAVIA SLOVAKIA UKRAINE from neutral Switzerland. The whole enterprise depended. like creation of a colonial system was planned. Italian alpine territories and port of Trieste occupy Hungary. 1942. an estimated 152. In the east. in which Napoleon’s European empire. 52 . Denmark and surplus population was to be driven eastwards France). A triumphal route was planned or occupation administration. In southern Europe. these areas were also opened the way to the construction of taken under direct German control. L Rome Istanbul 1940–43 Y former Yugoslavia Many were attracted by ALBANIA jointly occupied T U R K E Y the idea of fighting on Sardinia what appeared to be the Mediterranean Sea G R E E C E Sicily winning side. RIGHT: Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945). are killed in Lidice in revenge for occupied by the German army. start of expulsions from the area. and in its redesigned by Hitler’s favourite architect. N O R WAY FINLAND (pro-Axis state) Leningrad U N I O N O F EUROPE’S SS Atlantic Ocean North SWEDEN Moscow S OV I E T All over German-occupied and allied Europe.000 Europeans joined during the war.000. what was popularly called the “New Order”. Serbia and Greece). MONTENEGRO 54. propaganda U N I T E D Sea recruitment campaigns were launched to encourage local REICHSKOMMISSARIAT S O C I A L I S T DENMARK volunteers for the Armed SS (Waffen-SS). Black Sea volunteers. The programme to through the centre of the city which would end create the German New Order was finally announced at a vast People’s Hall with a capacity of 200. German Empire Italian Occupied RIGHT: Dutch recruitment The German New Order Neutral poster for the German Waffen German Occupied Axis Satellites SS. Minister for the Baltic states. but there was a The process of constructing this empire began in division between those areas that became allied 1940 with the dismemberment of Poland and the or associated with Germany (Hungary. countryside while an army of labourers produced The reorganization of German-dominated food and raw materials for the German master race.

the end of the war was tried and executed as a traitor. Most prominent was the giant German holding company the Reichswerke “Hermann Göring”. its height. Germany’s New Order LEFT: Walter Funk (1890–1960) was chosen by Goering as Minister of Economics in MAJOR VIDKUN QUISLING February 1938. The New Order represented an extraordinary ambition. European states contributed around camps. while an estimated 20 million others worked on German orders in the occupied and BELOW: A hanging in German-occupied Yugoslavia. A racial hierarchy was imposed which saw northern Europeans as honorary racial “Aryans”. When Germany collapsed in 1945. Thousands more disappeared with foster-parents in Germany. Poland and the Soviet Union. Blond-haired and blue-eyed German occupiers for acts children were taken from their families and placed of sabotage and resistance. the National Union attempt during the war to build Party. but placed the Latin races and the Slav races lower down the racial scale. 53 . At ABOVE: A driver and “death cart” in the Warsaw Ghetto. “Russia”. economic exploitation and a murderous racial policy. German domination rested on military power. system based on a common currency. by the end of 1944. where it would disappear from starvation or disease. ‘Enough’. His name has engineers and experts to run the empire. As early as July 1940. the New Order disappeared without a trace. His ambitions were regarded cautiously by the German Commissioner for Norway. the organization had a workforce of more August 1942. who would provide the administrators. minister by the German authorities. “will be our India. or sent to one of the into concentration camps special children’s homes set up to produce model under the notorious “Night “Aryan” children. The German authorities and German businesses took over the major industries of much of the conquered area. The Vichy regime was one of many New Order the German Economics Minister. become a synonym for collaboration with the enemy. which bought up or expropriated the heavy industry of Austria. Josef Terboven. seven extermination began of all the million foreign workers were labouring in Germany Jews in New Order Europe. and in these two Major Vidkun Quisling (whose real name was Abraham Jonsson) was roles played a key part in the the founder of the Norwegian fascist movement. was rounded up and deported to the extermination centres in the east or murdered by security men and soldiers. Although the movement had only limited support he launched a a European economy centred coup in Oslo on the day the Germans invaded and was then made prime on Germany. Walter Funk. allied lands. Although it has sometimes been likened to an early experiment in European union.” At the core of the New Order was a system of BELOW: A French Anti-Semitic poster of 1942 announcing economic exploitation. German race officials scoured the occupied areas of the east looking for people of German ethnic origin and shipped over 600. In January 1939 he became President of the (1887–1945) Reichsbank. Hitler was reported as saying. German victory would have produced a radically different Europe from the one that emerged in 1945. around five million Europeans had been screened for their racial profi le and in many cases recommended for “Germanization”.000 of them back to the Reich. In the spring of 1942 a programme of mass one-third of the cost of the German war effort. The Jewish population of Europe and Fog” Decree. Over the course into ghettos and transit of the war. From 1940 than one million and assets four times larger than onwards Jews were herded those of any other German business. Thousands of Europeans The Germans extended their racial policies were murdered by the over the whole area. By the end of the war. with Berlin and Vienna as the twin commercial and financial centres of the continent. Czechoslovakia. He was deeply hated by many Norwegians and at Germans. but on 1 February 1942 he was finally made Minister-President of Norway and embarked on a programme to make Norway conform to the remainder would work as virtual slaves for the the fascist model. the German mark. At the same time. governments to encourage anti-Jewish policies based on pre- announced the creation of a new European economic existing prejudices.

These were probing attacks designed to LUFTFLOTTE Saint-Cloud St Malo 3 Dinard Paris lure Britain’s RAF Fighter Command into combat SPERRLE Dreux F R A N C E Dinan and to destroy ports and communications. RAF based at Fowlmere in Cambridgeshire. but the reality was very different. By mid-August. RAF that fought in the confident that Fighter Command was on its knees squadrons were “scrambled” to intercept them. when air attacks by KESSELRING Abbeville German fighters petered out. Winston Churchill told GROUP Church Fenton the House of Commons that “the Battle 13 Manchester Hull SAUL Liverpool of France is over. “to overpower the English air force”. more than at the start of the battle. It was the aerial Debden 11 North Weald HOLLAND duel fought out over the southern counties of Pembury Filton Stanmore PARK Hornchurch Nijmegen Y GROUP Box Uxbridge Britain that became the Battle of Britain. The main attack No. German attacks E Cherbourg Atlantic Cambrai began on 5–6 June. of one vote. but after it was over. By and he ordered a final blow. Fighter Command had an operational strength of 672 Spitfire and Hurricane fighters. O n 18 June 1940. and continued intermittently over June Caen Beauvais Laon and July. Sheffield Kirton-in-Lindsey Scotland and North Sea Britain is about to begin”. airfields. including bomber aircraft. Between 12 August and 6 September. Somaliland.World War II THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN 10 JUL 1940 3 AUG 1940 13 AUG 1940 25/26 AUG 1940 27 AUG 1940 2 SEPT 1940 4 SEPT 1940 7 SEPT 1940 15 SEPT 1940 German air JULY— force begins Italian armies “Eagle Day” launches The RAF bombs Berlin. issued on 1 August. Ocean G Montdidier France.19 Squadron. Air Fleet 2 under the command of General Albert LEFT: Shoulder Hugo Sperrle began a sustained attack on the Kesselring and Air Fleet 3 commanded by General badges of British airfields. cities. Fighter Command losses totalled 444 aircraft between 6 August and 2 September. Here pilots of Battle of Britain. before the final defeat of Rouen LUX. German losses were over 900 for the whole month. begins. when the air assault began to intensify English Channel Berck-sur-Mer LUFTFLOTTE Arras 2 R and ended it on 31 October. radar station Luftflotte headquaters group headquaters bomber airfield in-chief Hermann Göring order an intensified airfield (sector station named) Luftflotte boundary group boundary dive-bomber airfield campaign following Hitler’s directive. 10 London N BRAND Eindhoven There were no clear dates for when the battle Middle Wallop Kenley Rh Southampton Biggin Hill Antwerp Tangmere ine started and ended. all but two of them against the bases of No 11 Group led by Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park. the full scale of the assault. Omer BELGIUM Cologne official Air Ministry pamphlet dated it from 8 Plymouth M Lille Brussels August. Göring was BELOW: When the approach of enemy ‘planes was reported. The raids against radar stations were not sustained and only three of Park’s airfields were put out of action and then only temporarily. there were 53 main attacks on airfields. high civilian casualties. I expect the battle of (Northern England. by early September the figure was 738. The German side assumed that the RAF was close to extinction. switch to bombing Blitz on Britain attack on London with convoys. are September 1940 was scheduled for Eagle Day (Adlertag) on 13 delivered by lorry to their waiting aircraft at the height of Fighter Command the battle. Only headquaters fighter airfield in August did the German air force commander. Over the following four Northern Ireland) U N I T E D Digby Watnall months. an A St Eval Warmwell Calais Portsmouth St. On 23 August. to conserving RAF 54 . the German air force attempted to destroy GROUP Wittering the RAF and undermine British military capability Birmingham 12 LEIGH-MALLORY to an extent that would make the German invasion Duxford K I N G D O M GROUP Amsterdam of southern England a possibility. supply depots and radar stations in Commonwealth and Empire pilots southern England. US Congress approves “Destroyers for bases” Hitler announces The German Major German OCTOBER 1940 attacks on Channel invade British the German attack of conscription by a majority deal signed with the US. had become a August. Air Marshal Hugh Dowding. though poor weather on that day blunted multinational force. Great attention had been paid by the Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command.

In 1945.” he disguised the reality of a rising graph of German fighters were tied to protecting the radio operators in direct contact with the aircraft. it had already been planned on was clear to German commanders that they could supporter of Hitler’s National Socialist the assumption that Fighter Command had been not maintain the levels of attrition they were Party in the early 1920s and head of destroyed. As population prior to invasion. was a well-known pilot from the switch is often attributed to Hitler’s desire to tactics were designed to maximize the damage to the First World War who briefly commanded the get revenge for RAF attacks on Berlin on the night the attacking force and by the end of September it famous Richthofen Squadron following the death of the “Red Baron”. He gained Southampton. The Battle of Britain BELOW: The Supermarine Spitfire became the symbol of Britain’s struggle in the air. His qualification. he was wounded at the Battle of the Somme and subsequently joined the Royal Flying Corps. After 1918. (1893–1946) Messerschmitt Me109 fighters. Sergeant Josef Frantisek. two of the attack. and ended up as Allied air commander. South-East Asia in 1945. He became an enthusiastic of 25/26 August. July 1940. attack London and other urban centres. he scoring Czech Battle of Britain was put on trial as a war criminal ABOVE: A still from the camera-gun film of a Supermarine Spitfire and on the night before his planned Ace. 55 . the day that has HERMANN GÖRING bomber fleets. Although was always advance warning of attack. The switch in emphasis ABOVE: Interior of the Sector “G” Operations Room at the RAF Winston Churchill famously told the House of suited Fighter Command. and became 1588 as one of the legendary moments in Britain’s one of Hitler’s right-hand men. where he organized the air defence of the island. AIR VICE MARSHAL SIR KEITH PARK (1892–1975) One of the key roles during the Battle of Britain was played by the New Zealand airman Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park who commanded No. and then took the brunt of the German attack in the autumn of 1940. Park was a shrewd tactician who watched German operations carefully and adjusted the tactics of his own force to maximize the damage done to incoming German aircraft. Hitler’s speech on 4 the battle went on. he flew with Polish Squadron have just bombed the Supermarine aircraft factory at Woolston. His flexibility and tactical imagination were vital qualities in winning the air battle. 26 September 1940. In the first week a sudden change in German tactics. 11 Group. He was later posted as air officer commanding Malta in 1942. 15 October 1946. the German air force lost 298 aircraft. escorted by large numbers of been celebrated ever since as Battle of Britain Day. It was now possible to base at Duxford. When started the bombing.733 aircraft on the was forced to flee abroad after the failed Hitler Putsch of 1923. British aircraft and pilot supply. An artillery officer in the Great War. After his return he became a The conflict has gone down in British history Party deputy in the German alongside the defeat of the Spanish Armada in Reichstag of 1928. The attack of attacks. based at Biggin Hill in Kent fly in formation. slower and more vulnerable bombers and so less At the beginning of September. His squadrons organized the air defence of the Dunkirk pocket. Mark I as it attacks a formation of Heinkel He 111 bombers which execution. On the extreme right are the so few. Cambridgeshire. while behind the operator third from left. British Hermann Göring. committed suicide. he was made commander military past. of the newly created air force. The callsigns Commons on 20 August that “never in the field of attack the bombers as they approached London of the sqadrons operating out of Duxford are visible on the wall human conflict was so much owed by so many to in large numbers and on their return. 17 “victories” in 28 days. German air force for the loss of 915 of their own. Here a group of Mark 1A Spitfires from No. there came free to combat British fighters. REICH MARSHAL on the RAF was much reduced and German with 60 losses on 15 September. 303. September 1940. he became a career RAF officer and in 1940 was posted to command No. it was the German air force that September promising revenge was a propaganda suffered levels of loss of aircraft and pilots that stunt designed to make it look as if Britain had became in the end impossible to sustain. 11 Group. training pilots and building reserves. Fighter Command. in south-eastern England. Fighter the Party’s paramilitary SA until he Command inflicted losses of 1. strength. to destroy Britain’s military Though hard-pressed in August and September. Squadrons 310 failure was the first major reverse and 312 were Czech fighter for German forces and contributed squadrons although the top to his political decline. were directed to Thanks to the survival of the radar chain. In 1935. On 2 September. Göring ordered phase suffering. there The commander-in-chief of the German air force. At the cost of only 443 pilots. and in 1940 promised Hitler that LEFT: The badge awarded he would smash the RAF prior to to Czechoslovak pilots on a German invasion of Britain. 610 Squadron. and economic capability and demoralize the Fighter Command never came close to collapse.

000 Italian troops in Abyssinia in June 1940. Prince Amedeo Umberto of Savoy. They confronted a diffuse British Empire force. Commander-in-Chief Sudan. but in Kenya. town of Moyale was recaptured on 18 February by a small force designed to stimulate an 56 .World War II THE EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGNS 13 SEPTEMBER 1940 28 OCTOBER 1940 3—13 FEBRUARY 1941 11 FEBRUARY 1941 28 MARCH 1941 19 MAY 1941 Italian army invades 5 AUGUST 1940 Egypt with five Italian forces invade Greece First battle of Keren in norther Ethiopia. and Oxford who enjoyed fox-hunting and spoke English with an impeccable upper-class the British had cracked the Italians’ codes and accent. He assumed the title of Duke of Aosta in 1931 on immediately. like Slim. numbering 40. In the first days of the British–Italian war. By November 1940. a famous First World War general. In the 1920s. but campaigns with attacks on the Sudanese towns recognized the limitations of what could be done. He commanded all Italian forces in the war in East Africa. Battle of Cape Matapan. 200. He withdrew with some of his troops to a mountain fortress at Amba Alagi where he surrendered on 18 May 1941.000 men. The frontier to Aden. he joined the Italian air force and took part in the pacification of the Senussi could read their plans and deployments almost tribesmen in the Italian colony of Libya.000 of them colonial troops (askari). the most modern aircraft in the theatre. By the end of the year. was to become a famous name in the later campaign in Burma.000 troops in Sudan. British Somaliland shortly In the south. composed mainly of African recruits. and a force of 25.000 supported by 100 mainly antique aeroplanes.000 entered British Somaliland. After the heaviest fighting of the campaign in the mountainous region around Keren – where Italian forces held out for 53 days – Platt’s army broke LEFT: Italian Arab cavalry through. supported by two Indian divisions and a special unit known as Gideon Force made up of Abyssinian resistance fighters led by Major Orde Wingate. East Africa. was Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of Italian East 6. A product of Eton African air force squadrons. The full offensive was launched on 19 January by Lieutenant General William Platt. W hen Italy declared war on Britain on 10 June 1940. up reinforcements from India. Mussolini hoped to be able to use the opportunity presented by Britain’s preoccupation in Europe to mop up British territory in North and East Africa and create an enlarged Italian empire. which was to be the base THE DUKE OF AOSTA (1898–1942) for an invasion of Italian East Africa. There were 326. on the Arabian coastline. a force under the the death of his father. In October. and in 1937 took over Italy’s command of Brigadier William Slim began the new Ethiopian empire. the Third Duke of Aosta. who. the Gold fighters. At this point. Italian forces occupied a number of towns on the border with Sudan and Kenya. reaching the Eritrean coast at Massawa during the Italian capture of by 8 April. compelling an evacuation of British Empire troops by 19 August to the British territory of Aden. General Alan Cunningham had 77. the Italian armies halted. 9 August 1940. Nigeria. Prince Amedeo became an artillery offi cer during the First World War. 20 July 1940. against northern Abyssinia. supported by 244 mostly obsolete aircraft and 866 artillery pieces. including A cousin of the King of Italy. Victor Emmanuel III. 6 November.000 Europeans. British launch attack from Kenya Italian navy defeated at Italian surrender in —16 MAY 1941 divisions but stays close to the frontier. there were 9. from Albania. into Italian East Africa. He died of of Kassala and Gallabat. ABOVE: Bombs exploding among hangars and buildings of the Coast (Ghana) and South Africa. supported by six South Africa from 1937 until its conquest by British Empire forces in 1941. capturing the latter on tuberculosis in a British POW camp in Kenya in 1942. General Cunningham launched before the withdrawal of British Commonwealth forces a two-pronged attack from Kenya. including an giving the British commanders time to build Italian base at Asmara during a raid by five RAF Vickers Wellesley invaluable squadron of South African Hurricane bombers.

BELOW: Aircrew of No. African troops from British Empire territories in both East and West Africa were mobilized for the campaign. joined by a seaborne invasion force from Aden For an area almost as large as Western Europe. and suffering from ill health. The bulk of British Empire supplies and with no hope of reinforcement. The prevented any threat to the Suez Canal area from Italian commander. Small groups of Italian soldiers continued greatly outnumbered. who entered his capital again on 5 May 1941. amalgamating units from very British naval power made it impossible to send different parts of Britain’s African empire into a supplies or reinforcements. For British regions of the country and these were gradually commanders. Sudan. the which had landed on the coast on 25 February.100 casualties killed and wounded. the Duke of Aosta. but following the tough battles in Operation Crusader in November 1941. proclamation announcing the return of the Emperor Haile Selassie.000.000 prisoners and suffered only 500 casualties.000 mules and horses. The inland city of Harar was old-fashioned or ineffective: many artillery shells captured in late March and Cunningham’s force. but into Abyssinia. the attack was a remarkable For some 3. this was a vital area to secure for it forced to capitulate by November 1941. Although The British Empire victory was emphatic. September 1941.47 Squadron RAF change into flying suits outside their huts in Kassala. There remained more effective supply routes and complete large pockets of Italian forces in the mountainous dominance at sea and in the air. there. Italians had only 6.200 vehicles. 13 February 1941. ABOVE: Soldiers of the King’s African Rifles during the British advance into Italian Somaliland. he BELOW: Men of the King’s African Rifles at the Wolchefit pass forces attacked on 11 February along the African surrendered on 19 May. he had lost five years before.700-mile) trek into Somaliland and Abyssinia in less than eight weeks of successful campaigning. he was sacked and spent the rest of the war in home commands. 28 coastline into Italian Somaliland. He was the Commander-in-Chief in Palestine during ABOVE: Heavily armed with captured Italian weapons. for not only Division to link up with the move northwards were their secret intelligence codes broken. during which he took 50. retreated the south and ensured that the long route to the to the region around the northern mountain Far East would not be threatened by any enemy city of Amba Alagi. short of weapons and presence in eastern Africa. in spring 1941 during the attack on Italian-held Ethiopia. Italian forces following his triumphal entry on 5 May. Mogadishu was captured on 25 February Allied forces captured 420. Italian forces of the port allowed the 11th (East African) had suffered many disadvantages. 50. little fuel and reached the capital Addis Ababa on 6 April. the were fighting for a cause for which they had little Emperor Haile Selassie was restored to the throne stomach against an enemy with higher mobility. he became briefly famous for leading his troops on a remarkable 2.000 enemy troops by the 23rd (Nigerian) Brigade. Italian equipment was single fighting force. 57 .300-km (1. He was posted to North Africa in August 1941 to command the newly formed Eighth Army. collecting surrendered arms from Italian soldiers after the end of one pocket of remaining Italian resistance in Ethiopia. success. The East African Campaigns GENERAL ALAN CUNNINGHAM (1887–1983) General Cunningham was Commander-in- Chief of Empire Forces in the East African colony of Kenya when war broke out with Italy. were left over from 1918 and failed to detonate. Above all. The younger brother of the British fleet commander Admiral Andrew Cunningham. where. Ethiopians gather in Addis Ababa to hear the the three years before the creation of Israel in 1948. fighting until November. Abyssinian revolt. and the possession and killed an estimated 12.

This was to be a last resort if a political solution could not be found. indefinitely. Operation “Sealion” to retirement by the 1930s. on 22 July. he was chosen at the outbreak of the Second World War to succeed now became a serious option. The speech was a celebration of German victory and Hitler made it clear that ABOVE: A fighting column from the South Wales Borderers in a he would discuss terms “as a conqueror”. Hitler made a peace offer in the German Reichstag. Hitler concluded. Shanghai for use on other to protect oil interests. by the government that the war would continue. peace but Churchill was irrevocably committed to July the German press were officially informed including the ill-fated British intervention in the fighting on and that became the official position. Liverpool. but on 23 old school who served in every conflict in which British forces fought from the Boer War onwards. Close Hitler’s speech was almost disregarded. On 7 July.” Joseph Goebbels. “We are very close to the end of the war. He was appointed to command the Home in June. Hitler preferred a political solution and thought the idea of an invasion of Britain “very hazardous”. German forces occupy Romania Hitler postpones “Sealion” SEPTEMBER 1940 landing in England. but he training exercise in Bootle. He misjudged Polish strength commander-in-chief. told his staff on 23 June. be Britain’s choice.World War II OPERATION “SEALION” 27 JUNE 1940 16 JULY 1940 9 AUGUST 1940 13 SEPTEMBER 1940 7 OCTOBER 1940 12 OCTOBER 1940 16 JULY—19 German air force proposes Hitler issues “Sealion” British garrison pulled out of Italian army enters Egypt. a brief rebuttal by Lord Halifax. If war continued it EDMUND IRONSIDE would. directive. Hitler’s Propaganda Minister. the invasion of the south-eastern coast of England. though it soon Gort as Chief of the Imperial General Staff. German leaders assumed that Britain would see sense and find a way to end a conflict that could no longer be won. 16 August 1940. whose begin military action. ABOVE: Civil defence forces digging tank traps on a golf They were detected by the British and then attacked by course in 1940. fronts. destroy the British Empire. German leaders found the William Edmund Ironside was a soldier of the some political circles of reaching a compromise British position hard to understand. The German navy. Russian Civil War at Archangel in 1918–19. the armed forces were instructed to begin preliminary planning for a possible invasion and on 16 July Hitler finally approved War Directive 16 for Operation “Sealion”. ABOVE: Trainload of German mines for the invasion of Britain. had in 1939 and German strength in 1940 and was replaced at the height of the Battle of France on been among the first to suggest invasion to Hitler 27 May. evoking At Hitler’s headquarters. Grand Admiral Raeder. the Foreign (1880–1959) In Britain there had been talk since late May in Secretary. remained hesitant over recommending a Forces for the expected invasion of England but he had a poor professional relationship with Churchill and was finally retired for good in the midst of making extensive preparations to reform the home army and to repel the expected invasion. a role became clear that there were many barriers to its in which he tried to pressure the government to operational feasibility. T he defeat of France and the expulsion of British forces from mainland Europe presented Hitler with a quite unexpected opportunity. Bomber Command. All over the FIELD-MARSHAL also assured the British that he had no desire to country soldiers prepared for the threatened German invasion. On 19 July. but he decided in early July to explore both possibilities. 58 .

The Royal Navy’s major base in the bleak anchorage He commanded army at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. to be reinstated on 22 September. On 7 September. Royal Virginia killed herself on On 30 August. commit suicide with forces had done only against light resistance in their car exhaust if the Germans landed. 59 . The destruction of Only in late October was the signal “invasion the RAF was a priority without which invasion improbable” sent out to units. Operation “Sealion” RIGHT: General Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt was THE ROYAL NAVY AT Commander-in-Chief West for the planned SCAPA FLOW invasion of England. make “Molotov cocktails” from beer 28 March 1941 during an Air Force had been defeated. Belgian and Dutch coasts and intensive training On 12 October. to be used for the attack of depression. the invasion date was bottles at a base in Yorkshire. The invasion plan was for six divisions been disastrous but would have been politically from the 9th and 16th armies to invade on a unfortunate. At a meeting on 14 September.5cm) gun during a practice shoot at Culver Point Battery. between the Essex coast and the Severn Estuary. supported by preparations were complete. Hitler announced that although would then move rapidly inland. The armies undefeated. Defeat would not have September. On the German side. there were mixed feelings The tentative date set for a landing was 15 about the risk of invasion. The base was attacked later opposed the Allied on 14 October 1939 by a German submarine that landings in Normandy. Scapa Flow was out of effective range of German bomber and dive-bomber aircraft. the preparations were ordered Barges and small boats were gathered from all to be scaled down and the invasion shipping was over occupied Europe to ports along the French. the full alert undertake “Sealion”. the invasion of the German air force. He proposed a review two line running from Gravesend to Portsmouth. In Britain expectation expected German invasion. The weekend of 14–15 ABOVE: German infantry and marines preparing for Operation “Sealion” at the French port of St Malo. a fact Isle of White. which made it an ideal area to concentrate the main units of the September was widely regarded as the most likely fleet. BELOW: Sappers of 211 Field Park Company. Hitler finally ordered “Sealion” in beach assault undertaken over the summer. Fear of the Royal Navy and Bomber Command kept up a relentless attack the failure to dent British air power rendered LEFT: The English on the invasion ports which added to the many invasion impossible. broad front from Hythe in Kent to Newhaven and with British forces at full alert and the RAF Rottingdean on the Sussex coast. with no clear sign that the Royal Engineers. date and as troops moved into position along was prepared for large-scale intervention.2inch- (23. On 19 September. and then at great cost in shipping losses. After this efforts were made to make the base more secure and the attacks were not repeated. of invasion marked the whole of September. air power and the Royal Navy. off the north groups in the invasion of Scottish coast. Hitler ordered a sustained novelist Virginia Woolf and her husband difficulties of organizing a large-scale maritime air attack on British cities in case the British Leonard planned to invasion. the codeword “Cromwell” was issued to all units to be on full alert. days later for possible landings on 27 September and after capturing London to a second line or 8 October. to be dismantled. something that the German armed government could be terrorized into surrender. The battleship HMS Royal Oak was sunk with the loss of 833 lives. Norway. September 1940. the coast they were ordered to sleep with their that encouraged Admiral Raeder to tell Hitler on 14 September 1940 that the risk was too great to boots on. was regarded as too risky. managed to evade the defences. dispersed from the vulnerable North Sea ports. 24 August 1940. to reach a preliminary Britain was too risky. switched to 20 September. hazardous cross-Channel operation against British was dropped. was a permanent threat to any Poland and France and German invasion plans. but the situation had not improved. When nothing happened. During the invasion crisis the Royal Navy ABOVE: Royal Artillery gun crews run to man a 9.

The attack on 7 September. and all conducted in daylight.000 incendiary bombs Peenemünde. one of 79 stations used as deep shelters. tactical air power in support of the army. there were London. 18 of them against London. He favoured invasion plans were suspended in mid-September. Omer B E L G I U M Cologne M Plymouth Portsmouth Wissant 1228 687 Lille Brussels Arques Rh Berck-sur-Mer ine English Channel R Tramecourt Arras Abbeville Crécy-en. He became Operations Chief in February 1938 and a year later Chief of Staff. and on 16 September committed suicide on 18 August 1943 at Hitler’s Göring ordered the new phase of city bombings headquarters in East Prussia after the heavy ABOVE: The London Fire Brigade at Eastcheap in the City of bombing raid on the rocket research station at to begin in earnest. in August 1. The 350 German bombers who attacked 15 at the outbreak of the docks in east London two days later initiated the First World War and rose to be a lieutenant what became known in Britain as “the Blitz”. clash for the first time in desert war. was the first to be carried out in response meteoric rise through to Hitler’s orders issued on 5 September to destroy the fledgling German air force. 258 civilians had been killed. military and supply systems of the the German army aged capital. and from early October 1329 U N I T E D Belfast Newcastle 440 152 I R E L A N D Manchester Hull 578 593 Liverpool Sheffield Hamburg 1957 355 North Sea Nottingham Bremen 137 Birmingham Coventry ser 1852 818 Y Amsterdam We K I N G D O M Soesterberg Cardiff N 115 Th Nijmegen Bristol am es Gilze-Rijen 919 London Eindhoven A Southampton 18.World War II THE GERMAN BLITZ ON BRITAIN 22/23 AUGUST 1940 28 AUGUST 1940 7 SEPTEMBER 1940 21 SEPTEMBER 1940 6 FEBRUARY 1941 20 FEBRUARY 1941 10/11 MAY 1941 7 SEPTEMBER First bombs fall of central London. 35 major air assaults. A heavy attack took place on Liverpool Hermann Göring on 1 on 28/29 August. 8 1–5 major air raids October 1940. but once the secret. on London. Struggling to keep the bombers at bay and on cities would force Britain to negotiate and subject to growing criticism. German leaders hoped that the attacks September 1940 following failure in the Battle of Britain. Jeschonnek finally make invasion unnecessary. He had joined the industrial. Unsupportable loss rates forced the German air force to switch Glasgow to night bombing. when he joined the air service. Andre-de-l'Eure Paris Villacoublay Dinard St Malo F R A N C E Dreux Orly ABOVE: Londoners shelter in Aldwych underground station.075. Liverpool suffers serious attack. The first (1899–1943) attacks on the London area began on 18/19 August Hans Jeschonnek was and on central London on the night of 22/23 appointed Chief of the Air Force Staff by August. Several More than 10 major air raids 647 Bomb tonnage dropped Luftwaffe bomber base 6–10 major air raids per city were hit during the Blitz causing heavy casualties. T he heavy bombing of British cities began with an attack on London on 7 September GENERAL 1940. February 1939 after a however. by 1917. Permission given for Londoners to shelter HItler orders attacks on ports. British and German forces 1. By the end of 1940 around 20. Frankfurt Ponthieu Cambrai Atlantic Cherbourg E Rouen Rosières-en-Santerre LUX. Up to 5 October. First major raid on London. He then The German plan was to degrade Britain’s returned to army duties and joined the German capacity to wage war and to undermine the air force in September 1933 when it was still war-willingness of the population.400 killed in final large raid 1940—16 MAY 1941 in the Underground system. Ocean Beauvais Montdidier G Caen Clermont Evereux Laon St.000 Antwerp 647 (71 major raids) Calais St. In July. but the attacks assumed a more directly political argued for terror attacks against British cities in purpose. 60 . had been dropped on the capital. Bombing had been conducted HANS intermittently against ports and other military JESCHONNEK and economic installations since June.

785 heavy and light anti-aircraft guns in the responsible for Civil Defence measures – had summer of 1940.000 people though these too were of limited effectiveness. During the campaign German raid that provoked the widest publicity was that “rocket gun” on aircraft also used navigation systems known as on Coventry on the night of 14/15 November 1940 the South West X-Gerät and Y-Gerät but these too became subject which killed 554 people. he recruited 74. The German Blitz on Britain GENERAL SIR FREDERICK PILE (1884–1976) A career artillery officer who rose to the rank of major in the First World War. The River Mersey is visible to the left of the wide range of major cities on nights when the photograph. It was on that night that the symbolic and passive defence. After the war he took up a business career. Frederick Pile was a gifted organizer and a keen modernizer. Britain was more. the Liver Building in the centre. The most famous day of the Blitz but did little serious or long-term damage to the the Blitz came from accidents to crews flying was the night of 29 December when a large part of British economy or military effort. The Blitz was more effective as the battle wore on but found evacuation and the distribution of gas masks. which major attacks against other cities the total was was attacked for 57 days in a row between 7 11. also directed at most British ports and industrial it difficult to locate the bombers without By 1940. In the major raids on Coast. He reorganized Britain’s anti-aircraft defences. to increasingly effective jamming. to Plymouth (which was RIGHT: General effectively until British scientists found ways to heavily bombed between 21 and 23 April 1941). including rising above the flames and smoke. 1. The bombing killed 43. The government made many concessions. expanded the supply of guns and shells and when labour shortages took men away. There were bomb shelters – named after Sir John Anderson. 61 . in The Blitz was concentrated on London.000 women into the anti-aircraft ranks. around 2.5 million cheap Anderson sophisticated detection devices. heavily bombed on the night of 14/15 November 1940. there were by more than two million volunteers of the photograph was taken of St Paul’s Cathedral 16 squadrons of night fighters which became Air Raid Precautions organization. he was appointed commander of the Anti-Aircraft Command. until 16 May 1941. from Belfast in Northern Ireland. which included the use of parts of the London Underground network as improvised air-raid shelters. the only senior commander to do so in the British army. weather conditions permitted.500 searchlights. to beams known as Knickebein which worked Glasgow in Scotland and. and over 4. After a brief period in Egypt. The the City of London was destroyed by 136 German The British response focused on both active passive defences were organized country-wide bombers. 1944. destroyed in February 1945. long distances in poor weather conditions. The air units were instructed to attack specific targets and they were helped in this by a system of radio navigation centres. LEFT: A wrecked bus standing in the ruins of Coventry. civilian casualties were high and in many of the most heavily attacked cities there was an exodus from the threatened area and evidenceof demoralization and rising crime levels. rather than less. The city became a symbol for the horror of the Blitz and later established close links with the German city of Dresden. and domestic morale stiffened as the Blitz continued.800 tons. Nevertheless. A high proportion of German losses during until 10 May.800 tons of bombs were dropped. The (right) watches the firing of Britain’s December 1940. London. he returned in 1937 to command the London 1st Anti- Aircraft Division. a post that he filled throughout the war. determined to continue to fight. When it finally ended in May 1941. 18. German aircraft attacked a ABOVE: A panorama of the city of Liverpool after heavy bombing raids in 1940. He played an important part at the War Office between 1928 and 1932 in planning the mechanization of the armed forces. September and 2 November and then regularly and destroyed or damaged one million houses. On 28 July 1939. been produced for householders and in every city deep concrete bunkers were constructed or cellars and underground facilities converted. By May 1941. Sir Frederick Pile jam the German beams during November and Southampton and Portsmouth in the south.

Saburo Kurusu. while dangerous transformation of the world order. but it only served to confirm the involved dangerous and lengthy voyages. when he was deposed by foreign minister. he chose the German alliance in 1940 out efore the outbreak of war in 1939. ADMIRAL MIKLÓS HORTHY DE NAGYBÁNA (1868–1957) An admiral in the Austro-Hungarian navy during the First World War. Japan and Italy were united by the Anti. were sent ABOVE: The formal signing of the Pact in Berlin. as it was Germany in November 1936. The treaty was of his fear of communism. all three in a common cause. The German–Soviet Pact of August others if they were attacked by a third party not send scarce raw materials from Asia to Europe 1939 placed a severe strain on relations between already at war. Never a real enthusiast for close links B with Hitler. The Pact sealed the creation of the later wartime Axis. centre is the army minister General Hideki Tojo who was a strong advocate of the Pact. Joachim von Ribbentrop and the soon to be Spanish only on 17 October 1944. 27 September ABOVE: Japanese. Count Ciano and Saburo Kurusu all seated. to relations with the Soviet Union. the intervention of the German army and imprisoned in Germany. to communism but also a mutual commitment Japan was free to construct a New Order in eastern The Pact was supposed to lead to closer to revising the existing international system in Asia. This clause was inserted as a threat and military equipment and industrial goods the three states. 62 . code.World War II THE TRIPARTITE PACT 23 NOVEMBER 1936 22 SEPTEMBER 1940 25 SEPTEMBER 1940 25 NOVEMBER 1940 7 JANUARY 1941 1 MARCH 1941 15 JUNE 1941 Romania signs the Japanese forces American intelligence Japan and Japanese plan Bulgaria joins the Croatia accedes 27 SEPTEMBER 1940 Tripartite Pact. This proved a difficult trade and declaration of war on the Allies on 10 June 1940. Serrano Suner. negotiated in Tokyo but signed in Berlin on 27 Comintern Pact. All three pledged to come to the aid of the collaboration and some effort was made to their favour. Japan hoped the so-called “Yanagi missions” which carried an agreement was negotiated between the three to be able to use the Pact as a bargaining counter the military goods between Japan and Europe states which cemented the “Axis” and linked with America. German and Italian diplomats toast the signing of the Pact on 27 September 1940 at a reception in Tokyo. The Tripartite Pact. Britian and the United States. such as the process for turning coal into fuel oil. Pact. cracks the Japanese “Purple” diplomatic Germany sign the Anti-Comintern Operation “Z” for an attack on Tripartite Pact. begin occupation of northern Indo-China. and joined a year later called. Seated left to right are the Japanese an authoritarian rule on the country which ended Ambassador. In the 1940 with Adolf Hitler. signed between Japan and September 1940. They shared not only common hostility a New Order created by Germany and Italy. the Italian foreign minister Count Galeazzo Ciano. to the Tripartite Pact. Horthy led the Hungarian and Romanian forces in 1919 that toppled the brief Communist regime in Hungary of Bela Kun. following Italy’s to the United States and was not intended to apply back to Japan. Horthy had himself declared “Regent” of Hungary in January 1920 in place of the exiled Habsburgs and imposed ABOVE: An informal discussion during the ceremonies surrounding the signing of the Tripartite Pact. Germany. but a year later. confirmed that Europe was the sphere for Western view that the three states were intent on a by Italy. Japan hoped to get advanced German scientific secrets but some of the most important.

The Pact was extended over the following months to include German allies in Europe. for fight the United States in December. in October 1940. 24 November 1940. GENERAL Union wanted for continued collaboration. but was released in 1955. Mussolini nevertheless failed to German negotiators held out the possibility to warn his ally of the invasion of Greece. New Orders began in earnest in 1941 with the (1886–1975) the German side was non-committal. The three states gambled that and again from 1941–45. and was the Soviet Union could easily be accommodated Japanese attack with declarations of war against Japanese ambassador in Berlin from 1938–39 in the three-way division of the world. Brenner Pass. already well-advanced. and a possible free hand in Iran. already closely tied to Mussolini. tied they would win: Japan would keep America away He also played an like Romania to German trade agreements. Hitler sits Germany by trade and military agreements. joined the Pact on 1 March 1941. both Germany and Italy followed the Pact in 1936. 63 . on German policy. Here. map of the world. There was almost no military or strategic collaboration and no high-level staff committees like the Western Combined Chiefs of Staff. Although He helped to negotiate an invasion of the Soviet Union in the late spring Japan attacked America and was not the victim of the Anti-Comintern of 1941. and Germany would keep the Soviet important part in arranging the signed on 25 March but two days later the regime Union away from Japan while they all carved out Tripartite Pact in 1940. The Vichy French authorities visited Berlin on 12 November 1940. Hitler was content to allow Mussolini to expand in the Mediterranean and Africa and for Japan to tie down the British and Americans in the Far East. On 23 November Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and later fought with Germany against the USSR. finally from Europe. Yugoslavia. the Soviet Union of joining the Pact as one of ABOVE: Japanese forces advance through the Indo-Chinese port Europe’s revisionist states and when Molotov of Haiphong. After the war he was tried in the Far East war crimes trials and sentenced to life BELOW: Romanian “Iron Guard” fascists parade through Bucharest on 6 October 1940 past the Romanian premier General Ion imprisonment. Antonescu. confirmed his plans. Hungary joined on 20 November 1940 and ABOVE: German–Italian collaboration was sealed in summit meetings between Hitler and Romania and Slovakia. Hitler realized that there was no way aggression. Molotov invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany and A Japanese army officer who returned to Moscow and shortly afterwards Hitler its allies in June and the Japanese decision to became a diplomat with close links to Germany. His diplomatic messages sent back to Tokyo were intercepted by Allied intelligence of Regent Prince Paul was overthrown by the new imperial regions and remodelled the political and became a very useful source of information army. there were were forced to accept the stationing of Japanese troops in the LIEUTENANT some discussions about what price the Soviet French colony along the Yunnan–Haiphong railway which had been used to supply Chinese forces in their war with Japan. HIROSHI When Molotov indicated that the Soviet side OSHIMA sought control of the Turkish Straits and of bases The effort to build the European and Asian in Bulgaria. with Mussolini and Ciano in a meeting at the signed on 23 and 24 November respectively. The Tripartite Pact only in the last months of the war. and young King Peter took to the throne. Bulgaria the United States. but on most major strategic or military decisions the three states acted independently.

Originally British fleet in November 1940 and March 1941 scheduled for Trafalgar Day. from Albania.World War II NAVAL WAR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN 9 JULY 1940 13 SEPTEMBER 1940 28 OCTOBER 1940 11 NOVEMBER 1940 20 NOVEMBER 1940 30 MARCH 1941 JUNE 1940— HMS Warspite damages Italian Italian forces invade Egypt. Britain acted to pre- empt any prospect of Vichy France handing over its vessels to the Axis. under the command of Admiral James Somerville. Vichy France broke off diplomatic relations and made a brief ABOVE: The Short Sunderland Mk 1 flying boat which spotted attack on Gibraltar in retaliation. but the threat the Italian fleet on a flight from Scaramanga in Greece on 27–28 of the French fleet was effectively removed. responded to driven home by two operations conducted by the the revived plan enthusiastically. air support in Mediterranean. ABOVE: An aerial reconnaissance photograph of the damaged compromised by the use of submarines and who arrived in September 1940 at Alexandria warships at Taranto on the morning after the attack by the Fleet Air Arm on the base. The effectiveness of surface vessels was carriers’ commander. When British requests were refused Somerville opened fire. Force “H”. or Italian control of French ships. The first operation. although some French naval units were in British territory. W hen the war opened in the Mediterranean in June 1940 the balance of forces between the Marina Italiana and the Royal Navy was strongly in Italy’s favour. Of the two carriers available only Illustrious It was the brainchild of the Mediterranean fleet took part since HMS Eagle had been damaged by BELOW: The most powerful Italian MERS-EL-KEBIR battleship. was sent to the French naval base at Mers-el-Kébir to negotiate with the French commander for the destruction. Rear-Admiral Lumley Lyster. Under the terms of the Franco–German armistice the French fleet was to be immobilized under their supervision. 64 . was an attack by naval launched a war against Greece. He had and merchant shipping during the war. via Malta and Cyprus to the naval base at Alexandria and the Suez Canal in the east. on board the carrier. on the southern coast of the Italian peninsula. it was which effectively neutralized any threat posed by postponed until 11 November because of a fire the large Italian surface fleet. played After the French defeat in June 1940 the fate a central role in of the powerful French fleet was a source of the Battle of Cape anxiety for the British. On 3 July 1940 all French ships in British ports were seized. handing over or immobilization of the French naval forces stationed there. Italy needed to be able to control the sea in order to ship supplies and military resources to its North African empire. which was to be the take-off point for an attack towards the Suez Canal. warships at Taranto. be protected by effective air cover. Alexandria without loss after the Battle of Matapan. who did not want German Matapan. This lesson was Admiral Andrew Cunningham. aircraft. 12 November 1940. In the already prepared a contingency plan for just Mediterranean the traditional heavy battle fleet such an attack when he had been a captain in the was exposed to permanent danger unless it could Mediterranean in 1938 and the Fleet Commander. Vittorio Veneto. British attack a greater sense of urgency. both of which took a heavy toll of naval aboard the carrier HMS Illustrious. destroying the battleship Bretagne and damaging a number of other ships. and a Royal Navy group. which gave a aircraft on the major Italian naval base at Taranto. Italian army begins invasion of Greece British aircraft destroy Italian HItler offers Mussolini German Cunningham’s fleet returns to MARCH 1941 battleship Giulio Cesare. 21 October. The Royal Navy needed to be able to interrupt Italian supply lines while at the same time keeping open its own routes from Gibraltar in the west. March 1941 and made possible the Battle of Matapan. In the interval Mussolini codenamed “Judgement”.

two of each wave instructed to there was no effective air cover. was a direct result of the war in Greece. and both were avoided. The major new battleship Vittorio Veneto was unscathed but she was damaged in a second operation against the Italian fleet mounted four months later. Good reconnaissance had given warning of barrage balloons and protective netting. Nevertheless the cruiser Pola and a number of smaller Italian ships were sunk and the operation to interrupt British convoys defeated. Naval War in the Mediterranean bombing. but very effective in the absence The slow bi-planes proved very of air defence. drop flares to illuminate the area and then attack the port installations. The in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s battle again highlighted the importance of air Mediterranean Fleet. This was a lesson not lost on the BELOW AND ABOVE: The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean. The Italian battleship was hit by a confirmed following Taranto. in March 1941. He was an acting Admiral until his rank was power at sea. The two waves seriously damaged three battleships for the loss of two aircraft. but was able to limp away to safety. The second engagement. open cockpits. The Royal Navy could break Italian codes and were warned in advance of the Italian move. The Italian fleet never again sought a fleet encounter. torpedo in the second wave of attack by Albacore torpedo bombers. Confused intelligence combined with Admiral Cunningham’s reluctance to mix his battleships with the air pursuit of the Italian fleet resulted in losses less severe than they might have been. German pressure on Italian forces to interrupt the flow of British supplies and reinforcements brought a reluctant Italian naval high command to plan an operation around the battleship Vittorio Veneto to surprise and destroy an escorted British convoy to Greece. The attack was undertaken by Fairey BELOW: Fairey Swordfish Mk 1 torpedo bombers on a training Swordfish torpedo bombers. and the war against the Royal Navy was now conducted by aircraft and submarines. the Battle of Cape Matapan. The Italian navy immediately ordered all units to withdraw to safer harbours on the more distant western coast. Commander- battleships converged on the Italian force. Taranto was a rehearsal for the The inset photograph shows the ship under attack from the German air force. of the German aircraft in the Mediterranean in 1941 led to a sharp increase in shipping losses. Convoys were BELOW: Admiral Sir Andrew suspended and a mixed force of carriers and Cunningham. Japanese navy. The stationing later devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. old bi-planes with exercise from Crail in Scotland. 65 . Two waves of 12 and nine aircraft effective against targets where were launched.

FORCE outnumbered the two poorly equipped mobile 5–7 Feb. would open up supply routes Bir el Gobi Halfaya C Y R E N A I C A XX Nibeiwa Mersa to their beleaguered forces in East Africa. the group penetrated behind Axis lines. of Cape Matapan. 1941 16 Sept. The five divisions of the Italian 'Combe Force' blocks Long Range Desert Group WEST. under the terms Akh XXXX Timini el Benghazi el 10 Gazala British advance of the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian treaty. where it suffered heavy losses before being transferred to the Italian campaign. 66 . 1940 stationed air. forces concentrated in the colony of Libya – more 22 Jan. advance. RIGHT: Australian troops of the 7th Australian Division march towards Bardia on 6 January 1941 during the rapid advance along the Libyan coast. Not MALETTI Matruh Beda Fomm Italian advance. than 236. LONG RANGE DESERT GROUP (LRDG) The Long Range Desert Group was formed in June 1940 by Captain Ralph Bagnold at the start of the North African campaign against Italy. Italian fleet defeated at Battle —9 FEBRUARY 1941 Lend Lease plan to Congress. greatly retreating Italian Army furthest Italian (LRDG) start operations El Haselat at Beda Fomm.000 – would be used to threaten the dar 4 Jan. 1940 O'CONNOR Autumn 1940 El Agheila divisions available for the defence of Egypt under n the command of Major General Richard O’Connor.World War II OPERATION “COMPASS”: DEFEAT OF ITALY IN NORTH AFRICA 23—25 SEPTEMBER 1940 6 JANUARY 1941 19 JANUARY 1941 19/20 JANUARY 1941 22 JANUARY 1941 7 FEBRUARY 1941 28 MARCH 1941 7 DECEMBER 1940 British naval forces attempt to seize Dakar. E G Y P T si o furthest British advance. Britain had begins. all of which engaged in forms of unconventional and covert warfare. it Mediterranean Sea seemed certain that the large Italian XX Derna captured. led by General Mario Berti. if achieved. The LRDG was transferred to fight in the Dodecanese Islands in September 1943. 1941 De Egyptian territory. Qat The Italian failure to press forward into Egypt British advance Italian retreat gave British Empire forces time to consolidate LEFT: Gloster Gladiator fighters of the Royal Australian Air Force flying over the mobile operations room on a landing ground near Sollum in Egypt used during Operation “Compass”. They were part of a broader movement encouraged by Churchill from the summer of 1940 to set up battalion-size units of special forces – which came to be known as Commandos – to work behind enemy lines. to the Italians in Libya. Capture of Tobruk. 10th Army. In addition to the LRDG. DES. as well as the Special Boat Section. 30 Jan. 1941 British position in Egypt where. Control of XX Bardia Soluch XX 7 El Adem 62 XX Sidi Barrani the Suez Canal was the Italians’ final objective. L I B Y A Italian forces advanced 95km (60 miles) into s pre 7 Feb. naval and land forces. W ith the outbreak of war between captured. X COMBE 13–16 Sept 1940 XX 63 Sofafi XX 7 until 13 September did Mussolini order the Italian FORCE XX Gulf of Sirte Agedabia Maddalena 4 IND army forward. but they were later joined by British and Rhodesian volunteers. Jeb Tobruk GRAZIANI Mechili XX Acroma 1 8 Dec. Surrender of Benghazi. provided intelligence and carried out acts of sabotage against enemy supplies and airfields. Capuzzo 64 Msus Bir Hacheim XX 2 LIB 6 AUS which. there were three Commandos raised in the Middle East. The group consisted at first of New Zealanders. 1941 6 AUS captured. Roosevelt announces his Hitler agrees to send military air British offensive opens in East Africa. XX Ft. 1941 Italy and Britain on 10 June 1940. in Western Desert. Driving in specially converted trucks. and then dug in along a tara defensive line from Sidi Barrani on the coast.

symbol to show they have been captured by Australian forces. 67 . In the 1920s. and on 22 January Tobruk was captured. The Italian army under Marshal Graziani BELOW: British Commonwealth troops arrive in the Libyan town was pulled back to the defence of Tripolitania. On 8 December. Commander -in. succeeded in cutting off their line of escape. Reinforcements had to be transferred to the Balkan campaign in an effort to stem the Axis assault on Greece. of Benghazi. After the death of Italo Balbo in June 1940. during the assault German reinforcements arrived to shore up on Bardia. the Indian 4th decorated for valour and became in 1918 the youngest colonel in the Italian army. A long trek across the desert by 7th Armoured. where the first Chief Middle East. After from the rear. the western province of Libya. However. the Libyan port of Bardia fell on 4 January. inhabitants. and those who returned to Tripolitania needed BELOW: Port installations burning in Tobruk. empire in Africa had suffered defeats from which the town. He served only a pursued a wide sweep towards the port of Tobruk. the Italian war effort never effectively recovered. After stiff fighting. around 30. where thousands of Senussi prisoners died in Italian concentration defensive line while the 7th Armoured Division camps. and was Minister of Defence in Mussolini’s “Social Republic” in 1944–45. while British Empire forces pressed on to El Agheila. until by early February almost all of Cyrenaica was in their hands. in discussion with the Commander Western Desert Forces.000 surviving an assassination attempt on 19 February 1937. The rapid success of the commanded Italian armies in Libya. British Empire forces pushed on rapidly. tried in 1948 and along the coastline. After a brief conflict the Italian army surrendered on 7 February. General Archibald Wavell.000 Italians were taken prisoner. extensive re-equipping. The Italians broke and over 38. He was arrested in 1945. who arrived on 5 February at Beda Fomm near the coast of the Gulf of Sirte just half an hour before the retreating Italians. Italian tanks are in the foreground with a white kangaroo Over 40. front back.000 became prisoners during the operation. he introduced harsh repression. Operation “Compass”: Defeat of Italy in North Africa and to absorb the new supplies of Matilda tanks and other equipment arriving from Britain. Graziani prisoners were taken. 24 January 1941. for some 2. 4 January 1941. With MARSHAL RODOLFO GRAZIANI the permission of the Commander-in-Chief (1882–1955) Middle East. In six months the Italian ABOVE: A column of Italian prisoners-of-war captured during two days after British and Commonwealth troops had captured the attack on Bardia marching to an army base on 6 January 1941. 29 December 1940 under the curious gaze of the BELOW: General Sir Archibald Wavell (right). where their attack came to a halt. while the 7th Armoured again sentenced to 19 years for collaborating with the Germans. He commanded Italian forces in Somalia at the time of the invasion skirted round the Italian line and attacked it of Ethiopia and was appointed Ethiopia’s first governor in 1936–37. denying the enemy a vital supply base. and after defeat in Operation the eastern Libyan province of Cyrenaica. He fought as a young officer in the Italian-Turkish Operation “Compass” – to try to push the Italian war of 1912 and in the First World War was wounded a number of times. few months of his sentence before being released.000 British Empire casualties. Over 130. O’Connor Rodolfo Graziani began his military career serving in the Italian East undertook a risky large-scale raid – codenamed African colony of Eritrea. General Richard O’Conner. He remained loyal to Mussolini after the collapse Australian 6th Division pursuing Italian forces of Italy in September 1943.  Italian resistance.000 Allied troops had routed an army eight times their size. Lt. where he was reluctant to fight the raid encouraged O’Connor to move on to invade British with a largely unmodernized force. the “Compass” he resigned. which left behind only a light force in North Africa. he commanded Italian forces during the pacification of Division infiltrated the loosely-held Italian Libya.

the Italian crisis was an unwelcome diversion. most Berchtesgaden for talks in February 1941. For Hitler. T he Balkans played very little part in the BELOW: Italian forces in action against the Greek army. He was tried as a war criminal in 1948 for atrocities committed in the Balkans under his command. army resisted and with British air support drove back the Italian forces 80km (50 miles) into BELOW: Hitler welcomes the Yugoslav prime minister. During this period he approved an order for killing 100 hostages for every German soldier killed. on invasion of Yugoslavia. He commanded German troops in Austria after the Anschluss and was appointed a general in April 1939. Bulgaria agreed to allow the passage of German troops. By early January. FIELD MARSHAL WILHELM LIST (1880–1971) Wilhelm List was one of the most successful of the commanders in Hitler’s new German army. while Hungary and Romania joined the Tripartite Pact in November 1940. Tobruk. preparing to invade the Soviet Union in late spring the next year. and was promoted field marshal in July 1940 as a reward. The Greek fearlessness under fire. Mussolini decided to present his fellow dictator with an Italian triumph by invading Greece. and he became Commander-in-Chief South East until October 1941. surrender signed in Belgrade. On 28 October.World War II GERMAN INVASION OF YUGOSLAVIA AND GREECE 28 OCTOBER 1940 29 JANUARY 1941 27 MARCH 1941 10 APRIL 1941 13 APRIL 1941 18 APRIL 1941 23 APRIL 1941 Italy invades Greece Greek prime Hitler decides Rommel begins Soviet-Japanese Yugoslav Greek king and 6—27 APRIL 1941 on pretext of Greek aggression. On 4 November 1940. the growing interest of the Soviet Union in extending its influence at the expense of Romania and Bulgaria forced Hitler to increase German political authority and military presence in the region. He was transferred to the Eastern Front. to Albania in December 1940. His 12th Army successfully seized Yugoslavia and Greece in April 1941. Known affectionately as “Tiny” because of his bulky body. commander of the New Zealand across the Albanian-Greek frontier. At the height of this initiative. he had a reputation for Italian against four Greek divisions. The German leader hoped to get support from Yugoslavia for German military action in the Balkans and the of southern Albania was in Greek hands. Minister Metaxas dies. 68 . siege of Allied forces in Non Agression Pact signed. government evacuate to Crete. Zwetkowitsch. 1941. He told none of his Axis partners of his intention and the attack was completely unprovoked. He led the German 14th Army during the Polish campaign and the 12th army in the invasion of France. Italian forces attacked LEFT: Major General Bernard Freyberg. Strong diplomatic pressure was maintained on Bulgaria and Yugoslavia to retain them in the Axis sphere of influence. Yugoslav signature of the Tripartite Pact. but served only four years of a life sentence. His failure there led to his dismissal in September 1942 and he retired from military life. where he commanded the assault on the Caucasus in summer 1942. Despite plans for a quick victory. he ordered the armed forces to prepare Operation “Marita”. led W Force in Greece. a German invasion of Greece. pitching six Expeditionary Force in the Middle East. German forces were stationed in Romania from September 1940 to safeguard German supplies of oil from the Ploesti oilfields. Italian troops proved a poor match for the early stages of the Second World War but determined Greek resistance.

to the new threat from Germany. as German inflicted a humiliation on both his Italian ally and the death of two Germans. the Greek and ordered an extended campaign against both British Empire forces became divided. After the war the date organized major resistance from the mountain strongholds of the country. Despite his imitation of aspects of fascism. On 18 April. who had returned only recently from exile after a long period of republican rule. south coast of Greece by a Royal Navy force. suspended parliament and inaugurated a dictatorship of the “Third Hellenic Civilization” on 4 August. Despite stiff resistance. and on 6 April launched a the RAF sent substantial forces to Greece. Just On 19 April Hitler agreed that Croatia could be independent as German forces moved forward to begin the under Ustaša rule. a coup in Belgrade resulted in the new Yugoslav government repudiating across the “Metaxas” line on the Greek-Bulgarian the Tripartite agreement with Germany.When a general strike was threatened in the late summer of 1936. On 23 April. German. some to Egypt. On 8 and 10 April. The rapid Soviet Union. assault on Greece. General Metaxas was chosen as prime minister by the Greek king. but the Greeks failed to pull back their forces on the northern ABOVE: A detachment in Banya Luka of the newly formed frontier with Bulgaria to a better defensive Croat militia recruited from the fascist Ustaša movement. For Hitler. but its impact was Empire and Greek troops were evacuated from the overwhelming. they devastating air attack on Belgrade. W Force. In Greece. part of the SAS. This was the and central Yugoslavia. Metaxas declared martial law. General Tsolakoglu The Yugoslav campaign was improvised in signed the Greek surrender. German Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece GENERAL IOANNIS METAXAS (1871–1941) In April 1936. an accord was reached on 23 February for a British Empire expeditionary force to help the Greeks resist the Italians. some Hungarian and Italian armies attacked northern to the island of Crete. he was determined to retain Greek neutrality after the outbreak of war and was sympathetic to the British cause. formed in 1942 to carry out raids on German occupied Greece. though British forces had been based on the islands of Crete and Lemnos since October 1940. Metaxas rejected it. was declared a national holiday as Okhi (“No”) Day. while 50. reaching Belgrade by second time in less than a year that British forces 12 April. Metaxas died in January 1941 but lived long enough to see Greek forces humiliate the Italian army. leading a small Greek nationalist party which was hostile to parliamentary rule.000 were overwhelmed by the German air force. killing 17. losing people. Hitler border. Secret ULTRA decrypts of German messages sent using the Enigma machine alerted the British ABOVE: Badge of the Greek Sacred Squadron. its by the German army. the diversion army of over one million men having inflicted had secured his right flank for the invasion of the just 151 dead on the German forces.000 British a remarkably short time. Metaxas was a successful staff officer from the First World War who turned to politics in the 1920s. A fresh Italian offensive on 9 March with 28 divisions was again halted with British assistance. The murder of civilians in Serbia paved forces poured down from southern Yugoslavia and his British enemy. limited reserves. Yugoslavia capitulated had been compelled to abandon mainland Europe following the mutiny of the Croatian units. while pressure on Yugoslavia eventually produced agreement on 25 March 1941 to join the Tripartite Pact. Serbian partisans later 1940. composed mainly of British Empire forces from Australia and New Zealand. the way for atrocities in the USSR later in the year. position as the British commanders wanted. while Field Marshal List’s 12th Army 209 aircraft from the Middle East Command’s assaulted Greece and southern Yugoslavia. 69 . arrived in Greece on 7 March. George II. When Mussolini presented an ultimatum on 28 October ABOVE: German troops advance into a Serbian village in April 1941 during the rapid conquest of the country. Although Yugoslavia and Greece. protected Romanian oil supplies and ABOVE: German soldiers executing 18 Yugoslavs in Pancevo after defeat of Yugoslavia doomed Greece.

New Zealand and Greek troops which numbered around 35. 70 . substantially more than the attacking force. He was the first field commander to LEFT: The commander of the British Commonwealth forces on Crete. boarding a Junkers Ju52 transport plane at a Greek Pirgos Mediterranean Sea airfield before flying to Crete on 20 May 2600 evacuated. a British-born New Zealander with a reputation for fearlessness. “exemplary terror” against plans to attack the Soviet Union. assistance. XI Fliegerkorps. partisans. a Ba X 2 1 2 3 7 1 2 2 NZ 5 X Suda Sud night NZ 10 II 28/29 May X AUS C XXXX NZ 4 CREFORCE X Rethymnon FREYBERG R AUS 19 Heraklion (Candia) X Miletos 14 LEFT: German E from Maleme. 21–22 May XXX 21–27 May XI 20 May STUDENT III III II 7 Sturm (–) 7 3 Sturm 1 (–) II Sea of Crete glider WELCH Khania II II 20 May 4000 Kastelli Maleme III II Galatos Marines y evacuated. heavily protected by the German air force. The one advantage was never used in an invasion role again. Lt General Bernard Freyberg. They were commanded by Lt General Bernard Freyberg. Freyberg enjoyed was ULTRA intelligence information. watches the German advance from his dugout. The German force took very heavy casualties and communications equipment. 1941.World War II THE GERMAN CONQUEST OF CRETE 27 APRIL 1941 30 APRIL 1941 2 MAY 1941 10 MAY 1941 20 MAY 1941 31 MAY 1941 2 JUNE 1941 20 MAY—3 Athens falls to the Germans. Australian. III 5 Mtn II German convoy intercepted III 100 2 (Mtn) 6 Mtn by Royal Navy. W ith the expulsion of British forces from mainland Greece. but was brought back in 1939 and commanded the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Mediterranean theatre. Italian forces invade British Pro-Axis government Rudolph Hess flies German paratroopers General Student orders Hitler tells Mussolini of his JUNE 1941 evacuate the Peloponnese. tanks or May 1941. in Iraq calls for military on a “peace mission” to land on Crete. Rethymno. 28 May paratroopers of the Palaikhora Sphakia T 5th Gebirgs (Mountain) Melampes E Division. Operation Mercury was prepared at great speed and was based around the deployment of Germany’s elite paratroop force. He was retired from the army in 1937 on gorunds of poor health.000. ABOVE: German paratroopers and Ju52 aircraft over Crete. He ordered the rapid capture of Crete. Though large in numbers. the force lacked adequate artillery.000 soldiers landed at Malme. Hitler was anxious to complete the campaign by capturing the island of Crete which would otherwise remain a potential base for air attacks on the German flank or against oil targets in Romania. German advance and airborne landings British and commonwealth retreat Chania and Heraklion. On that morning 28–31 May 3. just three weeks after the expulsion of British Empire forces from southern Greece. Egypt. The defenders of Crete were a mixed force of British. Britain. The campaign was launched on 20 May.

and later became Governor-General of New Zealand. even though Crete had been a significant victory completing German domination of Europe. a small number escaped Total casualties were 6. German air superiority was gradually achieved Royal Navy evacuated most of the garrison. Britain denied a Greek application for his extradition to stand Hitler was disillusioned at the high level of losses trial for atrocities against Greek civilians. into the hills with the Cretan exceeded losses for the whole and Freyberg’s forces were pushed back to the partisans or found small ships of the Balkan campaign in south of the island. May 1941. allowing operations and Student ended the war as Commander Army Group Vistula in May 1945. Maleme mass airborne assaults again. Retimo and Heraklion. aided by Cretan the main force had left. His forces were largely confined to ground fell to a determined German assault. forces deployed on Crete had increased from 9. of whom 1. was a pyrrhic victory. Parachutist Badge. BELOW: A series of three photographs taken by a German airman of RIGHT: denying valuable resources the sinking of HMS Gloucester off Crete. to the imminent invasion of the Soviet Union. Student was freed on medical grounds but lived on to the age of 88. The aircraft were destroyed during the operation.698. he developed an interest in Kurt Student’s paratroopers descended on 20 May. with damage to 17 other vessels. The German conquest of Crete be given this secret intelligence. the For the German forces the conquest of Crete and the Royal Navy lost three cruisers and six last ship leaving in the early hours of 31 May.653 alone almost all from air attack. Fliegerdivision 7. but Kurt Student was never again trusted by Hitler. After the war.700 British Empire dead. numbered 3. LEFT: Wounded soldiers disembark at an Egyptian port after evacuation from Crete. after an attack by German bombers of XI Fliegerkorps stationed in Greece. which on the opening day of the operation to 17.000 were from Navy force with the loss of around 5. By 26 and Crete were subjected to regular bomb attack. By 23 May. He was promoted to Inspector casualties. 22 May 1941. not upheld. General Freyberg was not given an independent command after Crete. An airman in the First World War.000 men. with small pockets holding to take them to Egypt after April. He disposed GENERAL KURT his forces around the three key airfields on the STUDENT (1890–1978) north coast at Maleme. Freyberg reported that he could no longer of the 3. Kurt Student is usually regarded as the founder of modern paratroop but the force was spread very thin. German most of whom went into German were from Student’s XI Fliegerkorps. gliding during the 1920s which he used when developing Germany’s first they faced fierce resistance and suffered heavy airborne unit. The battle hung in the balance for several guerrillas whose attacks provoked a savage series ships plying back and forth between Alexandria days. 71 . he was tried by the British in May 1947 German transport aircraft to bring in General for war crimes and though found guilty on three counts the verdict was Julius Ringel’s 5th Gebirgs (Mountain) Division. which indicated the precise date of the German attack.500.500 captivity.000 men were left behind. which Student had ordered as during the initial paratroop assault and Student reprisals against partisan attack. On 21–22 May. 31 May 1941. was forced to give way to Ringel for the conquest of the rest of Crete. British ships took German heavy losses from German aircraft stationed in Greece. but after a parachute battalion under of Airborne Forces later in 1938. reinforcements from Milos was mauled by a Royal May. But hold the island and over the next four days the the Royal Navy. This was Britain’s fourth major evacuation in a year of fighting. Around 5. and in 1940 his men played a key role in the invasions of Norway and Belgium. but he did lead the New Zealand Corps in Italy. When General forces. His plan for the invasion of Colonel Bernard Ramcke landed on either side Crete backfired with heavy losses and Hitler refused to let Student use of the airfield on the morning of 21 May.352. ABOVE: Two British ships burning in Suda Bay in Crete. 2. The German dead destroyers. Almost 200 transport out in Retimo and Heraklion. a German convoy bringing of reprisals against the civilian population. in 1938.

which had been through ULTRA intelligence and from Swedish intercepted by the Royal Navy in the Denmark Strait. He was not an enthusiast for Hitler. but the first two were damaged or under repair and the Tirpitz was still engaged in trials before full commissioning. The German navy. anxious not LEFT: The end of the to be sacked like his predecessor.000-ton Bismarck. VICE-ADMIRAL GÜNTHER LÜTJENS (1889–1941) After joining the Imperial German Navy in 1907. had reservations about its feasibility but he obeyed commands to the letter. and her design reflected this. by Royal Naval destroyers. launched on 14 February 1939 and commissioned on 24 August 1940.000 tons of Allied shipping.World War II SINKING THE BISMARCK 15 APRIL 1940 10/11 MAY 1941 15 MAY 1941 18 MAY 1941 27 MAY 1941 British London hit by US takes over Bismarck and Bismarck sunk 24—27 MAY 1941 intelligence crack part of the heaviest air raid of the war leaving Vichy French ships in American ports. The ship was intended as a convoy raider in the Atlantic. Prinz Eugen sail for the Atlantic. codenamed Operation “Rhine Exercise”. In June 1940. and was never seen to give the Hitler salute or to wear swastika insignia. the war showed that the traditional role of naval vessels had been subverted by the arrival of air power. raiding Allied shipping around Dunkirk. but in the end Bismarck left on 18 May 1941 accompanied only by the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. ll the evidence from the first 18 months of She was named after Prince Otto von Bismarck.500 dead. He worked for a shipping firm after the war before rejoining the slimmed-down German navy in 1921. The most up-to-date and largest German battleship was the 41. he was promoted to Fleet Commander of German battlecruisers and led Gneisenau and Scharnhorst on the Atlantic shipping raid in early 1941 which sank 115. Vice Admiral British battlecruiser HMS Wilhelm Marschall. however. The original force would have been a formidable fleet. for disobeying orders. Vice Admiral Lütjens. persisted with plans for a large battle fleet and failed to build the aircraft carriers which were now essential to give surface ships effective protection. the architect of German unifi cation in 1871. and in 1937 was promoted to Rear Admiral and Commander of Torpedo Boats. Günther Lütjens became the young commander of torpedo boats on the Flemish coast in the First World War. 1. Hood on 24 May 1941. The commander of the operation. was planned to include the battlecruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst and the new battleship Tirpitz. He was the first to sight the Bismarck as she emerged into the Denmark Strait. Suffolk. The break-out into the Atlantic. A BELOW: Adolf Hitler attends the launch of the Bismarck on 14 February 1939 at the Blohm & Voss shipyards in Hamburg. 72 . He was one of three senior ABOVE: Able Seaman Alfred Newall aboard the cruiser HMS officers to protest against the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938. where he again commanded torpedo boats. In 1933. Enigma Code. After accurate fire from The British were forewarned of the break-out Bismarck. with a broad beam to cope with heavy seas and large fuel tanks. the ammunition stored on Hood exploded and the ship sank at once. He commanded the small Bismarck force in May 1941 and was killed on board the battleship on 27 May. he was given command of the light cruiser Karlsruhe.

which was duly which fired three at the Bismarck shortly before intercepted by the British. but the pursuing battleship but 100 of more than 2. Bismarck had also been damaged: the forward radar was not operational and the fuel tanks were leaking. Ark Royal saw combat off Norway. sudden turn by Bismarck confused the pursuers and contact was lost. but a breakout into the Atlantic. HMS Norfolk. further a slow and listing target and. and at 6. The final sinking is usually attributed ABOVE: A Fairey Swordfish returns to the aircraft carrier HMS Ark – against Lindemann’s advice – on sending to the torpedoes of the destroyer HMS Dorsetshire Royal after making a torpedo attack on the Bismarck.. but Lütjens obeyed his instructions not to engage heavy enemy units and insisted on moving on. that evening a Admiral Raeder’s gloomy hope. Hood had been hit by accurate German gunfire. with the loss of all BELOW: The break-out into the Atlantic. Prinz Eugen made off into the Atlantic while Bismarck made for the French coast at St Nazaire for ABOVE: An aerial reconnaissance image of Bismarck essential repairs.m. BELOW: The Bismarck on fire on 27 May 1941.m. Captain Lindemann aboard Bismarck wanted to pursue and destroy the Prince of Wales. On the morning as an unequal struggle with the Royal Navy. expressed when Swordfish torpedo-bomber from the carrier Ark war broke out. Sinking the Bismarck and Norwegian sources. bombarding slowing down and disabling Bismarck. and Prinz Eugen in a Norwegian fjord before their The British shadowed the battleship. but contact was not made until 23 May.000 crewmen. accompanied by the battlecruiser Hood commanded by Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland. at 10. testimony that the days of traditional fleet destroying the bridge and eliminating the ship’s engagements were now in the past. forcing her to reduce speed to 20 knots. of 27 May. Only Lütjens’s insistence command. Planes from the Ark Royal crippled the enemy battleship. gave a clue to the the ship sank. it was one aircraft that succeeded in King George V moved in for the kill.000-ton ship was the first of Britain’s carriers to have an integral flight deck. Recent Bismarck is photographed from the deck of the heavy cruiser King George V miscalculated the position and research of the wreckage and the testimony Prinz Eugen. detected them. The ship was spotted by a Spitfire reconnaissance aircraft near Bergen. For the rest of 1941 the carrier protected Mediterranean convoys to Malta until she was damaged by a German submarine. the German ship drew closer to air cover and of survivors have suggested that the German destroyer assistance from France. a Catalina flying-boat of Coastal Command enemy. But on 26 battleship was scuttled rather than sunk by the May. U-81.00 a. The force was shadowed until heavier British ships became available. the British battleships Rodney and In reality. when the German units entered the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland and a radar-equipped heavy cruiser. just after 9. blew up and then sank in three minutes with the loss of all but three of the 1. photographed from HMS ARK ROYAL one of the Royal Navy vessels shadowing her last hours. Early in the morning of 24 May 1941. 73 . a half-hour radio message. This was the third ship to bear the name Ark Royal and the second aircraft carrier.418 crew. at the sinking of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kébir and during the naval war against Italy in 1940. the 22.m. The end of Bismarck epitomized Grand spotted Bismarck and at 9. Within minutes. She was serving in the Mediterranean as part of Force “H” in May 1941 when she was alerted to the presence of Bismarck and went in pursuit.m.00 p. 19–23 May. Here the ship’s whereabouts.00 a. Launched in April 1937. The attack damaged the rudder and steering and sealed Bismarck’s fate.. which had also sustained serious damage. that his men would understand Royal succeeded in scoring a hit that jammed the “how to die gallantly” in what he always viewed rudder and steering equipment. on 13 November 1941 and sank the following day while being towed to Gibraltar.39 a. the new British battleship Prince of Wales arrived.

Planning was undertaken On 5 December. or “steel”. These ideas formed the background of his decision to settle accounts with the Soviet Union once and for all. decisive role in the early victories. and in 1904 sided with Lenin and his “Bolshevik” faction. Tripartite Pact. A new set Hitler’s war in the west to extend its influence in well prepared – “visibly at their zenith” – while the of frontier defences. US will be “the great arsenal of to attack all neutral shipping – Yugoslavia – renounces the flies to Britain to broker peace. Unable to defeat the British June 1940. and he ordered active preparations for The Soviet leadership was divided on the threat and make it impossible for the United States to invasion to begin. behind him. Franz Halder. his headquarters chief. then compelling Romania to hand over 1940. inadequate preparations were The Soviet Union had taken advantage of for May 1941. This was the area designated as “living space” (Lebensraum) for the German master race. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel. he adopted the political pseudonym Stalin. threat. The four Panzer groups of the German army played a dominated the Soviet war effort. but because Stalin insisted. the army chief of staff. The more immediate roots of the German-Soviet conflict lay in Hitler’s view of the international eastern Europe. wanted to launch an annihilating attack on the Molotov’s desire for Soviet bases in Bulgaria and Red Army was at “an unmistakable nadir”. first occupying the Baltic States in ABOVE: Hitler in conference with senior army leaders in July situation in 1940. remove Britain’s last potential ally. emergency. Hitler played a central role in planning and preparing operations. he headed the State Defence Committee and of Operation “Barbarossa” on 22 June 1941. posed by Germany. Hitler thought German forces were made to meet the German onslaught. supplying Britain. By the 1930s. He joined the Russian Social Democrats. led by the same General for a massive three-pronged invasion of the whole too involved in the war in the west to risk a Paulus who later surrendered at Stalingrad. Molotov was invited to Berlin military leaders together and announced that he to try to gauge the extent of Soviet ambitions. Hitler’s deputy. on 31 July 1940 Hitler called his In November 1940. Such a move would Union posed an immediate strategic and military in a matter of weeks. an ambition laid down in War Directive 21 for Operation “Barbarossa” signed on 18 December 1940. After the German invasion. that Hitler was over the autumn months. He died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1953. Empire and anxious about the nascent threat of the territory of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. built along JOSEPH STALIN (1878–1953) Joseph Dzhugashvili was born in the small Georgian town of Gori. he approved the military plans right up to the day of invasion. stands on Hitler’s right. He became Commissar for Nationalities and in April 1922 was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. unlimited national frozen in the US. where he first came into contact with underground Marxist organizations. intervene in Europe. the United States. democracy”. Academically successful. Hitler once remarked. H itler had since the 1920s thought that a natural area for German imperial expansion lay in the agriculturally and raw-material rich territories of the western Soviet Union. Hitler argued. Soviet western frontier and timetabled the attack two-front conflict.” He also displayed a visceral hatred of “Jewish Bolshevism” which he thought menaced European civilization and threatened the degeneration of the German race. he earned a place in a local seminary. he had used his power base to assume an informal dictatorship over the party.World War II HITLER TURNS EAST 9 DECEMBER 1940 29 DECEMBER 1940 30 JANUARY 1941 27 MARCH 1941 10 MAY 1941 27 MAY 1941 14 JUNE 1941 18 DECEMBER 1940 First British offensive in the Roosevelt pledges that the Germany threatens Coup in Belgrade Rudolf Hess. All the Soviet Union the following spring “to smash the Turkey confirmed Hitler’s view that the Soviet military planners assumed the war could be won state heavily in one blow”. In 1912. Only in 1941 did Stalin become Chairman of the Council of Commissars ABOVE: German tanks approaching the Soviet border in Poland in the weeks before the launch (premier). “will be our India. Roosevelt declares German and Italian assets —22 JUNE 1941 Western Desert begins. the son of a cobbler. “Russia”. 74 . He was in exile in Siberia when the Russian Revolution broke out and returned to play a part in Leningrad before the Bolshevik coup in October 1917. the Stalin Line.

across the Soviet frontier. On the eve General Staff in September 1938. Only on 19 June did the order go out to begin camouflaging airfields and most were unconcealed by the time German aircraft attacked. the largest to Hitler produced a nervous collapse in the light frontier forces would hold the invaders up invasion force ever assembled. He was part of a the new frontier in Poland and the Baltic States. assault. 75 . RIGHT: German Infantry Assault badge in silver. When Axis forces in the Stalin did think that Germany early morning of 22 June smashed might risk war at a later date. surprise BELOW: A gas-mask drill in the Ukrainian city of Kiev. including the original plan to invade in May and the modified decision to postpone until 22 June. The initial date for a May attack was A talented staff officer during the First World War. but out of 33 divisions planned for redeployment to the western areas.100 aircraft 1942 and retired from army life. Soviet strategic planning Axis divisions. order a stealthy mobilization. it was awarded to infantry troops for all manner of combat including hand-to-hand combat in an assault position. including an estimated 3. but his warnings were ignored. Hitler turns East modernize Soviet forces. of the “Barbarossa” campaign. he ended the war in Dachau concentration camp.000. the Balkans and the Soviet for several weeks while the bulk of the Red Army Soviet divisions with 3 million men. there were 153 group of senior officers who explored the idea of overthrowing Hitler in 1938–9.000 tanks against 4. Romania supplied two campaign.3 million reconciling his duty as an officer and his hostility was based on the idea that if an enemy did attack. lessons of 1939 and 1940 about the power among all the army units and were poorly After the war he worked for the US Army Historical of fast mobile armoured divisions organized to oppose a concentrated Division on their studies of the German war effort. but often disagreed with Hitler’s strategic mobilized in the rear and then prepared for a Soviet aircraft and tanks outnumbered the Axis judgments. A committed Communist. Arrested in July own territory. defence association. He remained in his post through the invasion of France. major army groups on the southern front. but the difficulty of was unfinished by 1941. Despite strict instructions from Hitler to keep all preparations secret and to pretend that the invasion of Britain was still a priority. Hungary. Only in May did the new army chief of staff. changed to 22 June to allow for final preparations Franz Halder was appointed Chief of the Army after the intervention in the Balkans. On paper Union.000 allied troops. Stalin dismissed it as attempts at provocation by the British to get the Soviet Union to do their fighting for them. the Soviet leadership was given regular intelligence warnings of German intentions in the months leading up to invasion. He was sacked by Hitler in September hammer-blow to drive the enemy back on to his – 11. Opposed were 186 autumn of 1939. ABOVE: The Russian-born German journalist Richard Sorge. GENERAL FRANZ HALDER ABOVE: Hitler and the Romanian leader General Ion Antonescu in Munich on 12 June 1941 to seal Romanian involvement in the Romania and Slovakia as co-belligerents in the (1884–1972) invasion of the Soviet Union ten days later.400 – but they were parcelled out 1944 after the attempted assassination of Hitler. General Georgii Zhukov. Training against chemical-weapons attack was routine in the Soviet Union but wanted time to complete was almost complete and the where more than 13 million belonged to the Osaviakhim civil defensive preparations and effect devastating. Instituted on 20 December 1939. supported strongly by aircraft. Sorge supplied high-level intelligence to Moscow about the impending German attack from his base in Tokyo. only four or five were ready by the time of invasion. Little account was taken of the against 4. Germans and 650. During the preparations for “Barbarossa” Hitler succeeded in recruiting Finland. and 9.

Kherson R O MAN I A XXXX Odessa He was almost a caricature of a Prussian general. commander. 25 Aug. He then commanded Army Group AUSTRIA XXX ie HUN XXXX s te r Uman XXXXX South for the invasion of southern Russia in 1942.500 men of the garrison fought almost literally to the Hoeppner’s 4th Panzer Group had reached the last man. treaty signed in Moscow. Budapest ROM 3 pocket H U N G A RY XXXX SOUTH Rostov-on-Don but after failing to do what Hitler wanted was TYULENEV 11 Elista replaced in July and never served in command again. using four armoured (Panzer) groups to force a way through the Soviet line while the vast infantry armies followed ABOVE: German tanks prepare to attack on 21 July 1941 deep behind at their own pace. XXXX Ryazan Volga NORTH 16 Vilna Smolensk Oka von Bock was a battalion commander in the First LEEB XXXX Tula Berlin xxxx XXXX 9 Bialystok Minsk xxxx Tambov World War and rose rapidly in the inter-war years 3 pocket G R E AT E R XXXX Orel U S S R to achieve the rank of general in March 1938. mid-July Occupied by Germans. Army Group North was across Lithuania and deep into Latvia. in the south large German tanks proved much more effective because they carried Romanian forces. ROM 4 Crimea stiff. The Soviet forces fought with often suicidal determination but from the outset the German plan completely unhinged Soviet military preparations and exposed the Red Army to a looming catastrophe. The armour ploughed forward at a rapid pace. He was killed in his Heavily bombed cities Occupied by Germans. FINLAND XXXX Lake Ladoga Stockholm Helsinki FINLAND XXXXX Leningrad NORTH Tallinn Narva S W E D E N POPOV xxxx ESTONIA Novgorod XXXXX L AT V I A Pskov NORTH WEST LITHUANIA Riga KUZNETSOV xxxx Gorki FIELD MARSHAL FEDOR VON BOCK (1880–1945) Baltic XXXX Kalinin Sea Dvinsk 18 XXXXX Moscow NORTH WEST THEATRE XXXX WEST VOROSHILOV Dv i Vitebsk XXXXX 4 na TIMOSHENKO Descended from a famous Prussian military family. General 1941. though he was no supporter of National Socialism.World War II OPERATION “BARBAROSSA” 27 JUNE 1941 12 JULY 1941 27 JULY 1941 12 AUGUST 1941 25 AUGUST 1941 18 OCTOBER 1941 22 JUNE—30 Hungary declares war Anglo-Soviet mutual aid Japanese troops begin Atlantic Charter signed at Joint Anglo-Soviet Gerneral Tojo becomes SEPTEMBER 1941 on the Soviet Union. as Soviet military doctrine dictated. and Army Group B in the Battle of XXXX U K R A I N E XXXXX Prague XXXXX XXXX 1 SOUTH WEST Don France. sometimes covering 30 kilometres (19 miles) a day. which came nu RUNDSTEDT xxxx be Dni Don Stalingrad within a few kilometres of the centre of Moscow in S L OVA K I A e per Vienna Dn Uman Dnepropetrovsk ets December 1941. Centre and South. The Soviet plan to hold the attacker at the frontier was torn apart in hours and the Red Army was given no time to mobilize a large force to push the enemy back across the frontier. occupation of Indo-China. he was Kiev KIRPONOS SOUTH WEST THEATRE Da SOUTH 17 Lvov Zhitomir BUDENNY given command of Army Group Centre. Finnish inside Soviet territory. The German forces were organized in three main army groups. For the invasion of the Soviet Union. The 3. North. Each attacked on a different axis. long after German forces had moved on hundreds of outskirts of Leningrad and a few weeks later the miles into the Soviet Union. He led Army Group North in the G E R MA N Y 6 Marshes Kursk Polish campaign. a Bialystok XXXXX XXXXX CENTRE 2 XXXX BRYANSK Yelets Saratov few days before he commanded the forces that Gomel BOCK xxxx XXXX 4 Pripet YEREMENKO xxxx occupied Austria. Though outnumbered by Soviet armour. armies supported the assault. ABOVE: The bodies of Soviet soldiers killed in the determined defence of the frontier fortress at Brest-Litovsk in June and July whose capital fell on 1 July. In the far north. occupation of Iran. By the end of June. Newfoundland. Japanese premier. Placentia Bay. By 19 August. 76 . directed by a German overall radios and had close air support. T he attack by Axis armies on 22 June 1941 along the whole length of the Soviet western frontier was an overwhelming success. hard-working and arrogant. car by a British aircraft on 4 May 1945. moved towards Odessa and the Crimea.

The fast. a Soviet counter-attack at Smolensk was finally beaten off by Army Group Centre. Most of Kiev’s large Front. around 550. one pocket after another.000 Jews were murdered.000 civilians were rescued before BELOW: A woman in Odessa. but by 5 August Odessa too MARSHAL SEMYON was under siege by Romanian armies. The sheer scale and ABOVE: A 7. the Ukrainian port captured by it 650. after the early disastrous Soviet defeats and in March 1940 forced an and trapped 280. Romanian forces captured the city. New divisions were mobilized and sent to the front and as quickly disappeared.92mm German Gewehr 41 (W) brutality of the conflict also took a heavy toll of rifle used on the eastern front. Despite heavy losses and fierce Soviet resistance. Timoshenko and Zhukov succeeded in holding up the German advance at Smolensk. By 28 June. the speed and destructiveness and Vienna. In August. he became a Marshal of the Soviet moving German armour cut two pincers through Union and Commissar for Defence. Hitler’s War On the Soviet side the Axis campaign seemed unstoppable. Ukrainian capital. dwarfing anything the German army had so far experienced. Progress was slower in the south. He ordered harsh treatment for anyone who did not fight to the death. By the autumn. and by 1939 he was commander of the Ukrainian Front Army that occupied eastern Bock. Timoshenko became a commander in the The most spectacular advances were made First Cavalry Army under Stalin’s leadership during the Russian Civil by Army Group Centre under Field Marshal von War. By the end of September. Senior soldiers were arrested and shot for failing to halt the German onslaught. and Soviet losses of manpower approached 5 million killed. The Red Army purges led to his rapid promotion. armistice on the Finns. around 90 per cent of existing tank strength had been destroyed. Hitler remained confident that the Soviet Union could be broken. 77 . most of the ABOVE: A German soldier mounts guard over some of the huge forces that had opposed the attack were 650. Order 270 was published which condemned any soldier who surrendered as a traitor to the motherland.000 troops and 15. By the end of September. Most of the prisoners died of destroyed or captured. In May 1940. When the Germans invaded he was sent to organize the western front and held the Germans around the Soviet front and then closed them. Kiev. led to officers did not. 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups Poland. and on 6 September the city of Yelna was briefly recaptured from German forces. the Romanian army on 16 October 1941. exposing Moscow to the German army. The siege of Leningrad was completed and Jewish population was murdered in the Babi-Yar massacre on in the south a spectacular victory was achieved 29–30 September. Operation “Barbarossa” city was surrounded and under siege. when 1st and 2nd Panzer groups encircled the ABOVE: Soviet soldiers wait to be evacuated from the port of Odessa by the Soviet Black Sea Fleet in early October 1941. Stalin favoured the officers who had fought with him in the of the German attack. Stalin made himself Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces on 10 July and Commissar for Defence on 19 July. Eyewitnesses recall a sense disease and starvation over the winter of 1941–2. An NCO in the Tsarist cavalry.000 Soviet soldiers. Second and Third Ukrainian army groups in the long march to Budapest small local battles. Hitler instead insisted that von Bock’s forces support the attack on Leningrad and help the embattled Army Group South against General Kirponos’s South West ABOVE: Burning houses in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. widespread demoralization and the collapse of Soviet communications and supply. which had almost destroyed First Cavalry Army and Timoshenko survived his mistakes when other Soviet air power in a matter of days.000 Red Army prisoners captured in the Kiev pocket between 10 and 16 September 1941. captured by German forces in early September 1941. on 15 September and with Around 80. wounded or captured.000 others managed to fight their way out but the defeat opened the way to German Directive 35 finally gave Army Group Centre the conquest of the rest of the rich industrial region opportunity to advance on Moscow. On 6 September 1941. and finally TIMOSHENKO (1895–1970) captured in mid-October. He was appointed to command armies in the Finnish war had encircled the Belorussian capital. of euphoria at Hitler’s headquarters. Following its capture an estimated 50.000 Soviet soldiers. Although regarded as one of the best Soviet commanders. Although Soviet forces he failed in the spring offensive of 1942 against Kharkov and was not fought bravely and held up the German advance in given a major command again until August 1944 when he led the First.000 German casualties were reported. but the collapse of Soviet resistance was impossible to disguise. forming Smolensk. to the south. In early September. the attackers. Around 150. Minsk.

In 25 September.World War II THE SIEGE OF LENINGRAD 30 AUGUST 1941 19 SEPTEMBER 1941 29 SEPTEMBER 1941 19 OCTOBER 1941 11 DECEMBER 1941 12 AUGUST 1942 6 NOVEMBER 1943 Last rail link to Kiev captured by the 8 SEPTEMBER 1941 Leningrad cut by Germans. THE ICE ROAD BELOW: Russian infantry When the siege of Leningrad was imposed in cap badge. At first small boats ferried supplies. across Lake Ladoga and the narrow isthmus still in Soviet hands to the east of Leningrad. During 1942. a road of 381 kilometres (237 miles) was constructed on ice and land. now St Petersburg) was the main Zhukov to the city to organize its final defence.000 tons of supplies arrived each month. The the trap and offered additional firepower to the keep much of the population alive. Between August and October. and by 1 November objective in the “Barbarossa” campaign for and he succeeded in holding up the advance. 3. Warfare in this population and of Soviet resistance. Soviet August 1941. The first shell fell on the central zones on 4 September. On only a meagre ration for a further seven days Field Marshal von Leeb’s Army Group North. By early September. but they failed to break encirclement and isolation of the city. the defensive lines east. the German forces dug in and the was left. but when winter came the Leningrad Military Committee decided to build a road across the ice-bound lake. German armies from the south and siege began. Hitler’s object was to starve sever the remaining thin supply line. The open door allowed the driver to jump out quickly if the lorry began to sink through the shallow ice. On 20 November. were limited to a few weeks. United States. September 1941. but when the siege route across the ice of Lake Ladoga saved the than stormed to avoid the high casualties already was imposed. ensuring the survival of the ABOVE: Finnish troops in a trench north of Lake Ladoga in September 1943. male and female. to discuss course of war. Only the opening of a long and difficult decided that it should be put under siege rather remaining slim land routes. on 22 November the first trucks set out over the “Ice Road” or “road of life” as it came to be known. On 8 September. the German armies were only 11 kilometres (seven miles) from the centre BELOW: Soviet women digging tank traps in the approaches to Leningrad in the late summer of 1941. of the city. T he city of Leningrad (the old capital of and Leningrad was blockaded. One after another. there was only one remaining way to get supplies to the beleaguered city. but sufficient to established around the city were captured. razed to the ground. northern sector came to resemble the war on the Western Front in 1914–18 with static lines and heavy artillery bombardment. the last land link was severed ABOVE: A Soviet lorry on the “ice-road” built across Lake Ladoga in November 1941 to give the people of Leningrad a lifeline. The Soviet Baltic Fleet was also caught in from malnutrition and disease. Food supplies Russia. In the end. —27 JANUARY 1944 German forces. Finnish armies to the north began the progressive During August some 636. the first horse-drawn supplies were sent. an average of 150. 78 . In an effort to last rail link for the city was cut on 30 August at embattled defenders. the German Mga. armies to the east launched a rescue campaign.000 – many of them Operation “Sinyavino”.3 million remained trapped in city’s population. Stalin sent General and bombard Leningrad into defeat. the first bombs two days later. Hitler women and children – were evacuated by the the ring. Moscow. Labour duty was compulsory for all able-bodied citizens. Hitler orders Leningrad to be State of siege declared in Germany and Italy declare war on the Churchill meets Stalin in Moscow Soviet forces capture Kiev. leading to the railheads east of the town of Tikhvin. not enough to prevent widespread deaths streets. A trickle of food supplies came experienced elsewhere in fighting through city the city and the pocket of land to the north and in.

in Operation “Lubyan”. The second attack “We Defended Leningrad! We Will Restore It!” Women made up upset German plans to storm the city but failed a large proportion of the construction workforce because of the to dislodge the enemy. but the medical services collapsed. The Siege of Leningrad army pushed eastwards to capture the Russian this was able to supply the city. firing a total of 150. although under constant fire.253 civilian dead. During 1942. and the production figure may well have been over one million. the Red final campaign to liberate Leningrad. but the Red only lifted a year later. BELOW: A familiar image in Leningrad under siege. whose resistance to freezing temperatures was lowered by the shortage of food. The caption reads 19 August to 10 October 1942. 79 . In October. A road and rail link was established and. SHOSTAKOVICH AND THE LENINGRAD SYMPHONY The young Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–75) was in Leningrad when it was besieged. death toll records 632. life was primitive in never been known with any certainty because of the extreme: wooden houses were demolished the large number of refugees from the German for firewood. ABOVE: Wooden houses damaged during the German bombardment of the city are torn down and used for fuel.000 Soviet soldiers were lost in the the greatest difficulty. The death toll in the siege of Leningrad has For the city’s inhabitants. he and his family were taken out of the city to Kuibyshev where the symphony was completed. from January to April 1942.000 the front. The siege was railhead at Tikhvin on 9 November. He worked on the score of his Seventh Symphony in the threatened city and was photographed in a fire-warden’s uniform for propaganda purposes (right). Shostakovich dedicated it to Leningrad and it has been known by that name ever since. electricity supply was cut off attack housed in the city. On 18 January 1943. which had Army made several attempts to break the siege: endured 900 days of siege. It was first performed in March 1942 and both in Russia and abroad came to symbolize Soviet resistance. A Soviet couple pull a body on a sled to the municipal cemetery. In the cold winter months bodies were piled on the ground because the earth was too hard to dig. The official Soviet except for the most urgent production needs. when on 27 January 1944 Army won the town back on 9 December and the Soviet Volkhov Front pushed Army Group Leningrad continued to receive supplies. of war equipment was maintained only with Some 77.s 1942. By the end of the first winter of the siege almost anything that could burn had been used by the population. and another Operation “Sinyavino” from RIGHT: A Soviet poster by V P Serov. loss of men during the war. artillery shells during the course of the siege. North back from the city as part of a general The German forces began a regular shelling and Soviet offensive against the northern sectors of bombing of the city. the blockade was finally lifted when a Soviet force succeeded in opening an eight-kilometre- (five-mile-) wide corridor south of Lake Ladoga (Operation “Iskra”).

Operation “Typhoon” called for two massive a Klyazm Moscow XXXXX armoured thrusts north and south of the capital XXXX Mo sk WEST which would close in and encircle remaining zha 3 Podolsk va ZHUKOV Me Mozhaisk Vitebsk HOTH Soviet resistance. The Soviet name was derived from a retreating Soviet forces who had orders to leave nothing behind that the enemy could use. 30 Oct. German air force against plans to bomb Pearl Harbor.World War II OPERATION “TYPHOON” 28−30 SEPTEMBER 1941 3 OCTOBER 1941 30 OCTOBER 1941 31 OCTOBER 1941 17 NOVEMBER 1941 27 NOVEMBER 1941 10 DECEMBER 1941 30 SEPTEMBER— Massacre of Kiev’s Jews at Babi Yar. On 19 October. the a Ok BRIANSK GOLIKOV Tambov Ipu t Orel “time without roads” and the German advance Yelets Gomel a slowed. Repulse sunk in South China Sea. German commanders er Dniep HOEPPNER Rzhev-Vyazma Belev defence line considered that the Red Army had few reserves U S S R Tsna XXXX 2 Briansk left and pressed on. and destroyed at Briansk and Vyazma and over Mogilev 4 30 Oct. Smolensk Ryazan XXXXX Orsha XXXX Ok CENTRE 4 Kaluga a By 17 October. remorselessly closing the Pri 2 Kursk vice around Stalin’s capital. surrender.000 troops left out of the 800. Preparations took much of Panzer Groups join Vyazma German breakthrough reaches to form Vyazma pocket. Nevertheless. battle for the city. Fired from the back of a lorry. 1 Dec.000 prisoners taken. By 28 the Mozhaisk Line. The last line of defence. there were only 90. popular song. the XXXXX WEICHS autumn rains brought the annual rasputitsa. But by mid-October. O XXXXX n 6 September 1941. 6 Dec. Stalin made the historic decision that he would stay in his threatened capital and declared a state of siege. Stalin LEFT: German tanks and infantry on the outskirts of summoned Zhukov back from the Leningrad front Moscow during the winter to try to save Moscow. but German forces called it “Stalin’s Organ”.000 that had held the front in September. pet GUDERIAN For the Red Army the situation once again Soviet defensive lines Occupied by Germans. by 18 October German front line. gripped with panic and by mid-October much of the government machine had been evacuated to Kuibyshev.–1 Nov. large Soviet forces were encircled BOCK Tula KLUGE XXXX Germans fail to take Tula. Moscow defences. 80 . 23 Oct. Looters and ABOVE: A salvo of the famous Katyusha rockets during the battles around Moscow in the winter of 1941–2. primed with four tons of explosives. September but on the last day of the month Soviets surrender. Occupied by Germans. By early October. Soviet Union. Moscow. was strengthened with six November German forces weakened Soviet armies while Zhukov improvised were only a few miles from the centre of the Soviet capital a final defensive line 16 kilometres (10 miles) but lacked the resources to from the centre of the capital. The city was left in fl ames by spread out over a wide area. The capital became complete its capture. sn De forces had taken Kalinin to the north of Moscow 20 September Sevsk XXXX and Kaluga to the south. Hitler finally decided Kalinin Andreapol KALININ KONIEV that Moscow had to be captured to complete the defeat of the Red Army that a lg XXXX Vo Klin Moscow defence line 9 STRAUSS Rzhev Vladimir year. Kashira Elnya German Army Group Centre began its attack. the rockets. Berlin – Hitler announces the Roosevelt extends $1 billion to the Series of heavy air-strikes by Japanese High Command approve The last Itallian troops in Ethiopia British ships Prince of Wales and 14 DECEMBER 1941 defeat of the Soviet Union. threatened a catastrophe. 700. ABOVE: Battle-weary German soldiers pause in the Soviet city of Vitebsk on the path towards Moscow.

He was a tough. frustrated at at the start of the campaign in June. but in the south the 2nd Panzer army was held up at Tula and the German advance slowed. In January 1941. German dismissed the idea that the Red Army weakened by months of losses to inflict a decisive forces became weakened by long supply was capable of mounting a serious defeat. he became Chief of the General Staff. von Brauchitsch and assumed command of the distance. rehabilitated in 1953 but finally retired from public life in 1957. On 28 November. first Leningrad. Zhukov rose to become the most famous of the cluster of marshals who led the Red Army to victory in 1945. Although the By the end of the month Kalinin was recaptured. The to be National Socialist”. He ended the war commanding the First Belorussian Front in the attack on Berlin. He ordered them to die where they stood or face a firing squad. and successfully defeated Japanese forces in a small conflict at Khalkhin-Gol in 1939. while they were Soviet counter-offensive saved Moscow. barricades. fought for the Reds during the Civil War after 1917 and became a keen Bolshevik. the the German defence exacted another 444. loud-mouthed officer with a natural flair for battlefield command. and so he could run the risk of weakening his eastern front. courageous. driving the two German deaths from the Soviet side in the campaign that reduced the army to 75 per cent of its strength pincers back to where they had been in November. then Moscow. forces were short of all kinds of winter equipment for a campaign that was supposed to have finished by October.000 men to hold the front and around 500 tanks. Though Stalin urged his armies forward.000 cases of frostbite alongside other losses counter-offensive began. determined Soviet resistance prevented In bitter sub-zero temperatures the German German army himself. lines and the bitter weather. the German commanders assumed they would now seize the city. and then Stalingrad. The Soviet High Command planned a counter-offensive using forces brought from the Soviet Far East. he became a member of the Allied Control Council for Germany. the 3rd and 4th Panzer armies reached the Moscow–Volga canal only 19 kilometres (12 miles) from the centre of Moscow. Stalin had intelligence information that Japan was preparing to move south against the United States. MARSHAL GEORGI ZHUKOV (1896–1974) The son of a shoemaker from a village outside Moscow. but the Red Army was still too German attack was absorbed. On the morning of 5 December. which produced offensive. When the frosts came in late October and the armies could move forward again. German retreats.000 133. On 27 August 1942. LEFT: Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge. and was sent to stabilize one front after another. In 1946 he was demoted attack German positions during the battle for Moscow. Zhukov had 240. He became an NCO in a cavalry regiment during the First World War. was sacked in July for arguing with Stalin. Operation “Typhoon” panicmongers were shot and the population BELOW: Adolf Hitler addresses a gathering in Berlin on 4 October 1941 in the Sportpalast assembled for the annual ceremony for the mobilized to dig anti-tank ditches and rough Winter Relief Work. The reserve armies were moved into front gave way but did not collapse entirely. official news of Soviet victories was announced reserves were held back while the the German High Command on 13 December. Stalin named him Deputy Supreme Commander. 81 . determined to “educate it its capture. He announced that the Soviet Union was defeated “and would never rise again”. He went to Spain as a Soviet observer of the Spanish Civil War. around Moscow. the place in early December and. and in January 1943 he became the first wartime Marshal. Hitler sacked Field Marshal forward German units could see Moscow in the the siege of Tula lifted and Kaluga retaken. By the spring of 1942. On 19 December. German by a jealous Stalin. and on 1 August 1945 as military governor of the Soviet zone of ABOVE: Soviet troops dressed in their winter camouflage suits Berlin. where the two sides had reached a stalemate. The detected by German intelligence.

he was made Germany’s youngest Field Marshal. daring and tough and willing to share the dangers of his men. Implicated in the bomb plot against Hitler three days later. FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN ROMMEL (1891–1944) Rommel was the most famous of Hitler’s generals. By 8 April. which had been sent by Hitler to shore up the collapsing Italian position in North Africa. submarine U110. Paulus was sent to order him in person to hold Commonwealth and Empire a defensive line west of Tobruk at Gazala. the Afrika Korps. and by 31 March was ready to advance across Cyrenaica in defiance of orders from Berlin. He helped organize the German defence of northern France but was wounded in an aircraft attack on 17 July 1944. he immediately took advantage of the weakening of British Commonwealth strength caused by the diversion of resources to the Greek campaign. by convoy to prevent its surrender. he was a soldier’s soldier. 82 . Italian and German forces met at the coast and pressed on to Tobruk. encrypting machine from the German surrenders in Ethiopia at the USSR. On 24 March. A dedicated and effective commander. He was made a General in January 1941 and sent to command the Afrika Korps. and their two commanders. where the Australian 9th Division had retreated. He organized mobile Axis units into three lines of attack: the Italian armour advanced along the coast towards Benghazi. he chose suicide rather than face a trial for treason. By this time the German High Command was anxious that ABOVE: Insignia for the 7th Rommel not over-commit his forces and General (top) and 9th Australian divisions which formed part of the British. remained besieged until December. he was a champion of fast. while two German columns moved across the desert to cut off the Allied position. mobile warfare and commanded a Panzer division in the campaign in France. The campaign was an exceptional success.World War II DEFEAT IN NORTH AFRICA 28 MARCH 1941 30 MARCH 1941 22 APRIL 1941 9/10 MAY 1941 16 MAY 1941 22 JUNE 1941 24 MARCH— Battle of Cape Matapan between US takes into “protective Two divisions arrive at Tripoli Royal Navy recovers an “Enigma” Main Italian force Italy and Romania declare war on 17 JUNE 1941 Italian and British navies. he launched an attack together with the Italian Ariete and Brescia divisions against the weakly held line at El Agheila. Amba Alagi. but all attacks were repelled and the city Division guard German and Italian soldiers in Tobruk. Although ordered to behave cautiously. In June 1942. American ports. a formation set up to support Italian forces in the Western Desert. General Neame and General O’Connor. custody” Italian ships in to support the Afrika Korps. Tobruk was under siege by BELOW: Australian soldiers from the 9th Infantry 11 April. O n 12 February 1941. A career soldier who fought with distinction in the First World War on the Western and Italian fronts. This forces in North Africa. General Rommel BELOW: A gun of the Royal Horse Artillery firing at German forces on the perimeter of the arrived in the Libyan port of Tripoli to Libyan port of Tobruk during the campaign for the city in 1941. The British abandoned the defensive line in central Cyrenaica on 6 April. reinforced These were among the first Germans taken prisoner in the North African campaign. but his force was defeated in North Africa in May 1943. were captured by an Axis patrol on 7 April. command a German expeditionary force.

They co-operated closely with the Long-Range Desert Group which operated throughout 1941. He was best known for commanding a mobile unit for harassing the Italian army. He in 1941. Churchill “tank-buster” add was used in this role on all German fronts. most of it using Egyptian labour. with an airforce of the desert campaigns Egypt was virtually taken 49 squadrons and over 700 aircraft. Auchinleck over by the British: large transit and training resisted Churchill’s efforts to go over to an early centres were set up. but the possibility of political instability in the rear. In 1941–2 he commanded the 7th Support Group ABOVE: German air-force base in Cyrenaica during the campaign and was promoted Major General in early 1942. the Afrika Korps had reached Bardia and Sollum. LIEUTENANT COLONEL “JOCK” CAMPBELL (1894–1942) An artillery officer in the First World War. preferring to build up substantial water pipes laid from the Nile into the desert. The British Commonwealth counter-attack. close to the Egyptian border. Lieutenant Colonel Campbell commanded the Royal Horse Artillery in North Africa in 1940–1 in the campaigns against Axis forces. was keen to use this information to launch a counter-attack and ordered General Wavell to use new supplies of tanks and aircraft. Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft (on the ground and in the died in an accident on 26 February 1942 when his air) were the backbone of Rommel’s airborne supply system. Operation “Battleaxe”. Rommel’s forces pushed on towards Egyptian territory to end the threat from a demoralized enemy. to carry the battle back to Rommel. and represented the largest combat “Battleaxe” would bring a third defeat. Throughout theatre command in existence. delivered by the “Tiger” convoy. hard-hitting units to infiltrate and sabotage Axis installations. The British presence was accepted reluctantly by many Egyptians. oil pipelines constructed. Wavell was relieved by Churchill on 1 July and replaced with General Claude Auchinleck as Commander-in-Chief Middle East. In jeep overturned. and British commanders knew that they faced not only a formidable military foe. So successful was his leadership of these combined-arms forces for rapid incursions across desert terrain against the enemy that they were nicknamed “Jock” columns. Defeat in North Africa order was transmitted to Berlin and intercepted BELOW: A German 88mm Flak 36 gun in action in the desert war against British tanks. and by 27 May German forces had recaptured the ground temporarily lost. Wavell was under pressure to act and on 15 June launched a second counter-attack. The campaign made little headway. offensive. Having blunted the Allied attack. having recaptured almost all of Cyrenaica in a lightning two-month campaign. the foreground are Me110 twin-engined fighter bombers. Operation “Brevity”. Rommel’s forces dug in to a defensive line at Sollum. Here men of the SAS are in training for parachute jumping. 83 . which was even less successful in penetrating the Axis line at Bardia. British forces withdrew into Egypt to defend the Suez Canal. By this time. By this time the ABOVE: Afrika Korps armband. and reserves and equipment before running the new roads and air bases constructed. began on 15 May against German forces at Sollum. in defiance of Paulus. British Commonwealth forces and support troops in the Middle Eastern theatre numbered over one risk that a premature assault like “Brevity” and million men. The Afrika Korps used the 88mm anti-aircraft gun as anti-tank artillery to devastating effect. The anti-aircraft gun doubled up as a very effective and deciphered by British intelligence. BELOW: The Special Air Service was set up in August 1941 as a result of the need to create small. On 17 June.

Baghdad murder Jews and destroy troops in Iceland to replace a British garrison. might be threatened by a combination of Axis military success and pro-Axis sympathy among the Muslim populations of the Middle East. On 17 April the fi rst Indian troops arrived in Basra and two days later 400 men of the 1st King’s Own BELOW: Armed tribal warriors gather in an Iraqi village in May 1941 as part of the revolt against the presence of LEFT: An Australian-manned Vickers Light Tank Mk VI during the advance British bases in the country. the British ambassador. including Amara PAL ESTINE Allies invade Vichy Commonwealth detactment the right to station troops and two permanent air territory. T U R K E Y Diyarbekir Ardebil Tabriz Caspian Sea s rate Euph Rasht Tig ris Aleppo Luftwaffe units arrive. British leaders became anxious that the position of British interests in the Middle East. led by the military commander and former Y P T Basra Bandar Shahpur prime minister Rashid Ali al-Gaylani (1892–1965) XX S A U D I 1O IND launched a coup against the pro-British Regent Aqaba Persian A R A B I A K U WA IT Emir Abdullah in early April 1941. who arrived in Baghdad in the midst of the coup. particularly oil. When Iraq’s regency was overthrown by a military coup in early April 1941. General Dentz. Plans were discussed as early as March 1940 for possible action in Iraq where anti-British nationalism was a threat to the Mosul oilfields. Deir Ez Zor Kirkuk 17 September Luftwaffe units Homs Vichy forces arrive. urgently requested British military intervention before the anticipated arrival of German aircraft and troops. Jewish shops. known as the Golden TRANSJ ORDAN hrat es Square. British airfield secures oilfields E G Eup British army officers in Iraq. which was vital for the whole war effort in the Mediterranean. A group of anti. begin the invasion of the island of Crete. W ith German forces in the Balkans and BELOW: A six-inch howitzer firing at Vichy French forces in Beirut in the battle for the Lebanese capital during 6–10 July 1941. Rashid fled to Iran and finally to Germany Oilfields British advance Soviet advance where he remained in exile until 1958. 3 July X Hamadan HABFORCE Qum Tekrit Beirut VICHY Palmyra Abu Kemal P E R S I A THE IRAQ REBELLION Kermanshah LEBANON ( I R A N ) Damascus KINGSCOL Ramadi (neutral) Tyre Baghdad Merjuyan Invaded by Allies to Iraq had been a British Mandate under the League XX Habbaniya IRAQI secures supply lines 7 AUS X Fallujah to USSR. 11 June 1941.World War II THE ALLIED INVASION OF IRAQ & SYRIA 2 MAY 1941 10 MAY 1941 20 MAY 1941 3 JUNE 1941 11 JUNE 1941 12 JULY 1941 8 JUNE—14 British troops occupy Basra London experiences German paratroops Anti-Jewish rioters in Roosevelt agrees to station US Britain and the Soviet Union JULY 1941 and the oilfields of southern Iraq. 8 June relieves Habbaniya. XX 15 May Qazvin 1O IND Mosul Raqqa Cy pr u s Latakia Nicosia Teheran S Y R I A occupied. Vichy advance French advance Iraq advance 84 . Sir Kinahan Cornwallis. The 7th pressing forward in the Western Desert. 12 May surrender. Australian Division reached the outskirts of the city but was faced with stiff resistance by the French Commander. Operation “Sabine” was prepared for the possible transfer of troops from India to Basra. sign a mutual aid treaty in Moscow. of Commonwealth forces into Syria. the heaviest air raid of the Blitz. Following the defeat of the Iraqi army in May 1941. X FREE XX HABFORCE Vanguard force 1 CAV The Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 gave the British FRENCH Jerusalem I R A Q economic and military concessions. 18 May Iraqi forces surround Indian division bases at Basra and Habbaniya. 24–25 August of Nations but was granted independence in 1932. Rashid Ali became Kuwait Gulf prime minister on 3 April and the Regent retreated to Basra.

captured the town and moved as the Australian 7th Division. De Gaulle wanted Syria and Lebanon to be administered by the Free French and to commander of the base. launched a heavy air attack against to the principle of Syrian and Lebanese independence. The British problems for British plans for the region. near Palmyra in Syria.000 new recruits joined his forces. under the overall command of Charles de on 1 May the Iraqi army began to dig in around the Gaulle but operationally subordinate to British officers. FREE FRENCH FORCES decided to destroy the British military presence and Free French forces. British military control until its independence in around 25 German aircraft were available from Iraqi On 23 June. that combined Britain’s war effort in Europe and The forces available at the air base moved out to which had been landed at Basra during May. The rebel leader. October and on 17 January 1943 Iraq declared war The commander of Beirut capitulated on 10 July on the Axis. Fallujah on 19 May. De Gaulle lost the first argument. The Iraqi air force of 56 largely obsolete won the second. The Allied invasion of Iraq & Syria Royal Regiment flew in to reinforce the Habbaniya air base near Baghdad. an operation under the command of 1946. The advance Lieutenant General Maitland Wilson was launched what was now called Ninth Army against the risk of column was attacked by German bombers. Out of almost 6. which followed the occupation of Damascus The King’s Own (Royal was signed. but against the Vichy French in Lebanon and Syria a German thrust from the north through the Soviet reached Habbaniya on 18 May. but he them. Rashid Ali. commanding and Syrian airfields to help the rebels. and 6.  Jordan codenamed “Habforce”.000 troops. ABOVE: British soldiers on 12 July 1941 comb the ruins of the Temple of Ball. Caucasus. Lancaster) Regiment. By this time operation to secure the Middle East for the Allies. before Iraqi forces French cause.300 French RIGHT: Formation badge for the 6th Infantry Division. The help given to Rashid Ali from and the Vichy authorities signed an armistice (the bases in Syria. a rapid-movement column of 2. The Syrian garrison remained loyal to Vichy France and found itself fighting against Free French soldiers on the Allied side. from Palestine in the south and Iraq in the east. June 1941. British forces occupied Baghdad. On 30 May. and had to agree were ready. Syria and Lebanon. Air Vice-Marshal Smart. Some 32. The division was moved to Syria in June 1941 and BELOW: Following the defeat of the Iraqi army. but by 6 July and 21 aircraft destroyed. the 7th Australian Division began the battle for LEFT: Cap badge for division army abandoned the fi ght and an armistice Beirut. The Regent returned to power in on 21 June. aircraft was soon halved in strength and relentless RIGHT: A Free French fighter from the French colony of Chad bombing forced retreat from the perimeter of the mans a machine-gun in a city street during the Allied advance into base. be able to recruit soldiers from the Vichy garrison for the Free decided to fight and on 2 May. The two campaigns secured a vital area By this time Iraqi resistance was crumbling. Wilson remained in the area. which BELOW: Arab legionaries guard a landing ground beside the Iraq took part in the battle for Damascus surrendered on 30 May 1941. The aircraft were on their way from Egypt to help the besieged airfield at Habbaniya in Iraq. prompted Churchill to authorize a further troops were repatriated and Syria was placed under created to reach the air base quickly. They can be seen here gazing at the city across the Tigris River. Iraq’s five. Gladiator fighters are refuelling. as well Asia and frustrated further Axis advance. German air forces were outnumbered made against the French garrisons. for Arab snipers employed by the Vichy French regime to obstruct the British advance. BELOW: French cavalry on the march near the frontier between Syria and Palestine during the brief war with British Commonwealth forces in June and July 1941. using “Habforce” and the 10th Indian Division. under the command of Major General John Clark. Slow progress was on Baghdad. a French mandate loyal to Vichy Acre Convention) on 14 July. A relief force was organized from Trans.000 was France. Petroleum Pipeline in Trans-Jordan where a group of Gloster against Vichy French forces. played a air base to prepare to capture it. hoping that their part in the Middle East campaigns but their presence produced action would bring German support. 85 .

the Iraq. Yet Roosevelt was forced to campaign on the slogan that no Roosevelt arrived aboard the US cruiser Augusta. days after signing the historic agreement of cooperation between the USA and Great Britain. Ukraine in the south. ABOVE & LEFT: Churchill and Roosevelt. off the British. That same evening Churchill Nations. Britain’s war effort LEFT: Representatives was simply insufficient to defeat the Axis enemy. because of his disability. Vichy France. Without American assistance. The Americans wanted here presenting the President with a personal a greater commitment to an open post-war letter from King George VI. It was an emotional moment for both men. For the The site chosen was in Newfoundland. Winston Churchill. power. of the “Big Five” of the Churchill set out to seal what soon became known US. Churchill arrived by battleship. short of war. Over the next two days the two delegations argued about ABOVE: Roosevelt welcomes Churchill onto the the wording and about what was missing from USS Augusta. Cuba attack by an Axis in the north and the fascist authoritarian state in Chinese wartime and Chile. Argentina. The Prime Minister is seen Churchill’s statement. American boys were going to be killed in any foreign war to and it was here that most of the meetings took avert popular suspicion that he wanted the United States to join place.World War II THE ATLANTIC CHARTER 2 AUGUST 1941 10 AUGUST 1941 10 AUGUST 1941 12 AUGUST 1941 12 AUGUST 1941 13 AUGUST 1941 British troops Plots to stage Britain and the Hitler issues orders Pétain suspends Japanese 9—12 AUGUST 1941 occupy Basra and the oilfields pro-German coups are USSR pledge their support to Turkey to halt the move on Moscow in order to independent political activity and bans all political bombers destroy much of of southern uncovered in in the event of an capture Leningrad meetings creating a quasi. F rom 9 to 12 August 1941 the first major summit meeting of the war took place THE RE-ELECTION OF ROOSEVELT between President Franklin D Roosevelt In November 1940 President Franklin D Roosevelt was re- and Britain’s Prime Minister. and the USSR meet on 29 On the very first day Roosevelt told Churchill May 1945 to continue the discussions which would that he wanted them jointly to make a statement lead to the signing of the of long-term political aims which could be Charter of the United announced publicly. At Placentia Bay the two men came face. that Roosevelt could offer.but it to-face for the first time in the war to discuss the paved the way for a more active policy of intervention in 1941. but for Churchill the meeting had a special importance. The Atlantic Charter of retired to the ship that had brought him to 1941 paved the way for Newfoundland and drafted a five-point statement the creation of the UN which became the core of a document that came some four years later. 26 June 1945. France. Chungking. to be called the “Atlantic Charter”. future of the conflict and the extent of American assistance. China as “the special relationship”. elected for an unprecedented third term of office. the war against Hitler. resting on the arm of his son. UK. Roosevelt was seen as a vital ally in their efforts to win greater support for their war effort from the United States. 86 . His defeat of the Republican candidate Wendell Wilkie was much narrower than his victory in 1936. back on their home soils. coast of Canada. Elliot. capital.

and later the Charter of the United Nations. In Berlin aims. After the warped world view.” wrote Churchill. to begin a more active campaign of persecution The Soviet Union associated itself with the in Germany and the occupied areas. Stalin did not like the idea Germany’s enemies. In September the Churchill’s favourite film major Allies all signed the pact in London. the supplies and maintaining freedom of the seas. since the Newfoundland. Confident that battleships could defend themselves against air attack. in December 1941. ship was caught in the open sea by Japanese aircraft and sunk on 9 December. A few months later. war no effort was made to protect the smaller tantamount to a declaration of war by world Jewry sought to create a new democratic order in which such horrors states under Soviet control and freely-elected against the German people. ABOVE: Hitler and Himmler in conference. HMS Prince of Wales. Though it had not just off the coast of been Roosevelt’s original intention. 1941. also at Placentia Bay. Hitler saw the Atlantic Charter as a declaration of war by world Jewry against the German peoples. Churchill did not want to compromise the future of Empire trade. It was became known worldwide. 1945. “In all the war.” force as a means to settle disputes and reducing the level of armaments. A few days after it was published he ordered Himmler to begin a more active campaign of persecution against Jews in the Soviet Union. “I and a final clause that suggested abandoning never received a more direct shock. Poland. He saw the Charter as the of the Soviet Union being bound to respect work of American and British Jews and a day after the sovereignty of other peoples nor the the Charter was published he ordered Himmler commitment to freely-elected governments. signed the Atlantic Charter. Some claim that Hitler’s outrage at the Atlantic Charter hastened the move to extermination of the Jews. the Prince of Wales was sent to south east Asia to protect the giving open access to the world’s raw-material British Empire from Japanese attack. was world in which self-determination of peoples and one of Britain’s newest additions to the fleet. the Atlantic Charter was The Atlantic Charter. Canada. There was a vague commitment to degree of risk in crossing seas infested with submarines. with 10 massive 14-inch guns. efforts to construct a durable post-war settlement Hitler took the statement as an indication that in terms of international justice. but the battleship made the five-day crossing without incident. The principles were loosely worded and bound neither party to LEFT: Vivien Leigh anything definite. The Atlantic Charter RIGHT: A pile of human bones discovered at Majdanek death camp in the outskirts of Lublin. The Atlantic Charter was as Lady Hamilton in announced on 14 August and its terms soon the 1941 film That Hamilton Woman. the Charter became a consolidated statement of Allied war governments had to wait until 1990. 87 . It had seen action in the sinking freely-elected governments would be the central of the German battleship Bismarck and completed its refit in time for the transatlantic trip. In general the two sides agreed and on the final day an eight-point charter was finally PRINCE OF WALES BATTLESHIP signed committing both states to a post-war The battleship that conveyed Winston Churchill to the conference in Placentia Bay. by the Russian troops liberating the camp in 1944. the United States intended at some point to fight The Charter was viewed differently in Germany and counted America now firmly among Berlin and Moscow. Charter but never subscribed to it fully. would not recur. and and he is said to have on 1 January 1942 26 nations. So irritated did he become at the thought that Roosevelt might damage British imperial interests that at one point he angrily waved a finger under Roosevelt’s nose and accused him of trying to destroy the British Empire. United States had not been at war. As such its principles underlay all the later the Charter was viewed in a more menacing way. who signed the watched it repeatedly whilst on route to his United Nations Declaration which launched meeting with Roosevelt what became the UN some three years later. In Hitler’s ABOVE: Prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp. economy. There was some principles.

commander of the British 8th Army from December 1941 until he was sacked in the summer of 1942 after Rommel had succeeded in driving his forces back across the territory won in Operation “Crusader”. at Moscow. Rommel and his Italian allies created a defensive line around the towns of Sollum and Bardia. under the overall command of Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder. The army’s Western Desert Force (renamed the 8th Army on 18 September 1941) was strengthened. Zhukov launch counter-offensive where US and Britain agree that defeat of in China. While the army built up its strength. a lesson learned from German practice. Germany in the priority. 1 November 1941.000 men. ABOVE: Acting Major-General Neil Ritchie. 88 . The siege of Tobruk was lifted by 10 December. Tedder organized new tactics of close support for the army with standing fighter patrols linked by radio to army liaison units to permit quick battlefield response. so that by November 1941 it numbered 118. Bomb bursts from Axis aircraft attack can be seen in the background. British searchlights and anti-aircraft fire light up the night sky above the Egyptian port and British naval base of Alexandria. T he failure to dislodge Rommel’s Afrika BELOW: In a scene more reminiscent of the London Blitz.World War II OPERATION “CRUSADER” 20 NOVEMBER 1941 1 DECEMBER 1941 5 DECEMBER 1941 22 DECEMBER 1941 18 NOVEMBER 1941 Japan delivers a Japanese leaders Soviet forces “Arcadia” Conference warning to the endorse decision under General begins in Washington —21 JANUARY1942 USA demanding non-interference to start war against the USA. New Zealand. while the newly-appointed General Auchinleck refused to bend to pressure to attack the Axis until he could be certain of a preponderance of force. Korps from the Egyptian frontier in the summer of 1941 led to one of the few periods of static warfare in the Desert War. kept up a relentless bombing of German positions. ABOVE: An Axis petrol-tanker and trailer on fire on the road between Homs and Misurata in Libya following an attack by RAF Bristol Blenheim light bombers during Operation “Crusader”. South African and Indian forces. One officer is watching where the shells land while the other is shouting fire orders through a loudhailer. drawn from British. the RAF Western Desert Air Force. including 100 attacks on the port of Benghazi and 70 attacks on Tripoli. The Axis were outnumbered in tanks (680 to BELOW: Officers of the Royal Horse Artillery in Tobruk at the unit’s command post.

where they surrendered only after western Libyan area of Tripolitania. operation. who stabilized the African Division. again to attack Tobruk and remove the threat to The victory. to seize the on 8 December once it was clear he was outnumbered. 390) and even more in aircraft (1. to win back Cyrenaica and to lift the Soviet defeats and the onset of quick victories for siege of Tobruk. the long Axis flank. The battles during Operation “Crusader” flowed back his enemy’s true position and planned a new plan. the victor in East Africa. “Crusader”. A career soldier. but by a mixture of RIGHT: Badge of British. and then on 5 July 1941 Commander-in-Chief Middle East. 21. Lieutenant General Sir Alan Cunnigham. By this time the town was no longer defended by the Australian troops who had occupied it in the spring. Acting the 2nd South Major-General Neil Ritchie. while Allied forces entered Tobruk on 10 December. Indian. by which time he was a full general. The commander of the Allied force. commanded British forces in Norway. Rommel retreated with his undefeated Afrika “Crusader” began with mixed fortunes: Allied Korps back to El Agheila. When the moment came to attack. threatening to cut off Axis forces. British Empire and Commonwealth forces had a superiority of two to one in tanks by the time the battle started. Rommel pre-empted him by launching what German counter-attacks south of Tobruk around was to prove a devastating riposte to the apparent Sidi Rezegh produced a chaotic battlefield. He returned to India in June 1943 as Commander-in-Chief. Gazala. and then returned to Britain to head up 5th Corps. the advance in Libya was an German forces were in the process of preparing yet important morale boost for the embattled Allies. Claude Auchinleck spent almost all his military career outside Europe. meeting and exploit the fresh supplies which were landed stiff resistance. His mixed performance against Rommel in 1941–42 led Churchill to remove him from office in August 1942. After “Crusader”. Auchinleck failed to appreciate Tobruk once he realized the scale of Auchinleck’s Sidi Omar. where he was involved in organizing the Home Guard. He was promoted field marshal in 1946. proved to be a hollow one. The Italian forces were abandoned at Bardia and forth across the desert until Rommel’s decision to withdraw campaign. requested permission to retreat. the 3rd Carpathian including the Polish Carpathian Brigade. where he could regroup forces moved forward on 18 November. who by the end push through British positions east of Sidi Rezegh. North Africa. lifting at last the 240-day siege. Once these reached the garrison to break out and meet the XXX Corps as front line he prepared to push back the British it advanced west across the desert was broken by Commonwealth forces. On January fierce resistance on 2 and 12 January respectively. and Sollum. Japan in the Pacific. and at success of “Crusader”. one point Rommel ordered his remaining tanks to drive for the Nile Delta. Operation “Acrobat”. of 1941 had travelled 475 kilometres (300 miles) Auchinleck planned a major campaign. 89 . South African and Polish forces. Rommel instead retreated westwards in good order on 8 December. The attempt by the Tobruk at Tripoli in January. uncertain about his position. Operation “Crusader” FIELD MARSHAL CLAUDE AUCHINLECK (1884–1981) Apart from a short period in 1940 in Norway and then as chief of Southern Command in England. who had begun to retreat back towards ABOVE: German forces advance in the area between Tobruk and short of supplies. (Polish) Division ABOVE: An American-built Martin Maryland of the South African which formed Rommel was pursued across the territory won Air Force flies over vehicles of the 15th and 21st German Panzer part of the British earlier in the year. a post he held until ABOVE: A British Matilda tank and truck in the desert at the start of Operation 1947. thinking that enemy armour was all but annihilated. however. by now overstretched and Rommel.000 to 320). In November 1940. He was recalled to Europe as a major general. Benghazi and Mersa Divisions which have just been bombed during their attempt to Eighth Army in Brega all fell again to Allied forces. Auchinleck replaced LEFT: Badge of him with his deputy chief of staff. The XXX Corps linked up with the Tobruk garrison. he served in the Middle East during the First World War and subsequently in the Indian Army. Operation and recaptured the whole of Cyrenaica. he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in India.

and was hanged as a war criminal in December 1948. I n the early morning of 7 December – 8 December in Japan – waves of Japanese GENERAL naval aircraft with bombs and HIDEKI torpedoes attacked the major United TOJO States naval base at Pearl Harbor (1884–1948) on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. atomic bomb. He had little campaign The assault on Pearl Harbor came ABOVE: A Japanese navy Mitsubishi “Zero” fighter takes off from experience. He faced and hoped to arrive eventually at a diplomatic perimeter in the Pacific. The the US naval base at Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December strict and effective American government favoured the Chinese side 1941. General Tojo. between Japan and the United States. but was at the end of a long deterioration in relations the flight-deck of the Japanese carrier Akagi on the way to attack a hard-working. military politician. aircraft are visible pressing home further attacks on the US fleet. attack the United of merchant ships. when the first Japanese The German invasion of the Soviet Union reverses and was forced to resign in July 1944. 90 . the They attacked without warning or son of a Japanese a declaration of war and unleashed army general. The powerful tried and failed to commit suicide when American Roosevelt authorized restrictions of scrap steel Japanese army argued for the opportunity military police arrived to arrest him in 1945. to settle accounts with Russia by joining anxious about the threat of a total oil embargo. created confusion in Japan. The United States nationalist and was at the forefront of those arguing assumed that Japan would never risk all-out war Dutch East Indies and establishing an unassailable for a tough military policy in China and against compromise with the Western powers. Two British Empire. Japanese naval planners. He forces were allowed to enter northern Indo-China. LEFT: US President Franklin D Roosevelt signs the document declaring war on Japan.World War II PEARL HARBOR 10 NOVEMBER 1941 13 NOVEMBER 1941 26 NOVEMBER 1941 5 DECEMBER 1941 11 DECEMBER 1941 19 JANUARY 1942 Churchill promises US Congress Cordell Hull Hitler halts the Germany and Italy Roosevelt 7 DECEMBER 1941 Roosevelt to declare war “within the repeals parts of the 1939 Neutrality Act demands the Japanese German offensive in front of declare war on the United States. October 1941. forces with Germany in the destruction of the began to argue in favour of a pre-emptive Soviet Union. The Japanese navy had a corps of around 600 elite pilots administrator and who trained for long over-sea flights prior to the attack. In July 1940. States. in the Sino-Japanese war. approves funding to develop an hour” should Japan to allow the arming withdrawal of Moscow. seizing the oil-rich region of the Soviet-German war reduced any risk in the north. troops from China. but would do nothing He was a committed to provoke war with Japan. 8 December 1941. was four years of conflict in the Pacific appointed Army Minister in 1940 basin which would ultimately end and then Prime with the final destruction of the Minister on 16 Japanese Empire. and oil exports to Japan. growing criticism in 1944 over Japanese military solution. The navy continued to press for BELOW: A Japanese aerial photograph of Ford Island in the “Southward Advance” against America and the a southern strategy on the grounds that the Hawaii group after the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941.

many of them American citizens. failed to be noticed. while US aircraft carriers were by She was not ready for action again until June 1942. She was hit three times during the Japanese bombardment. sailed in complete radio silence for the seas north of Hawaii. Emperor Hirohito approved the onset of war. submarines. it was lost among a mass of detailed radio traffic. An intercepted message to the Japanese Embassy in Washington from Tokyo on 6 December was incompletely decoded so that the instructions to sever diplomatic relations. which gave the Secretary of War the right to designate prescribed military areas from which people could be legally and forcibly expelled. Pearl Harbor BELOW: A naval launch approaches the US battleship West Virginia. A corps of highly trained naval pilots succeeded in sinking or damaging 18 vessels. Cordell Hull.50 a. Pearl Harbor would demoralize American after which war would be launched. Following the Japanese attack young Japanese-American men volunteered on Hawaii.m. The navy In Congress the following day Roosevelt in early September 1941 proposed a showdown condemned “a date which will live in infamy” and with the United States if diplomatic efforts to war was formally declared against the Japanese reverse American policy were not successful. Japanese. assets and tightened the oil embargo. LEFT: Purple heart awarded posthumously to presented new conditions to Japan for the Private Jack H Feldman who died in the Japanese withdrawal of their forces from Indo-China attack on Pearl Harbor at the age of only 19. A second wave hit at 8. A damaged battleship is visible behind the screen of smoke. among them the ABOVE: USS Shaw explodes during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. but only ABOVE: group of Japanese interned in the US-controlled Panama to German and Italian aliens. Roosevelt’s Secretary of State. hardening. 18. The Japanese government rejected the idea out of hand. The move followed President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066.000 of whom served in forced into an internment camp like those set up throughout the segregated units. continental United States. opinion and limit their war effort. Of the 394 US aircraft on the island. In 1942 around 110. hit by six torpedoes during the attack by Japanese aircraft on the base at Pearl Harbor. against China and the Soviet Union.000 Japanese-Americans. signed on 19 February 1942. On 26 July not as severe as Japanese planners had hoped 1941. Around 22. and China. to ten camps further inland. the damage was the Japanese bombing of the port installations at Pearl Harbor. As it The American government could turned out nothing could have prompted read Japanese codes and knew that greater outrage and a stronger American Japanese plans for aggression were urge to fight the war with Japan to the finish. with 460 aircraft.m. including eight battleships.500 Canal Zone on 10 December 1941. Surprise was total and the impact devastating. Empire. German and Italian citizens in the Zone were for combat. the United States froze all Japanese subsequent American operations. dive-bombers and fighters struck Pearl Harbor and the US air bases.403 civilians and JAPANESE-AMERICANS servicemen were killed in the attacks. Despite the outrage provoked BELOW: Blazing oil from fractured fuel tanks in the aftermath of would create conditions for the final triumph in the United States at the attack. were “relocated” from their homes. Some 76 ships were undamaged. The same rules were not applied to American citizens of German or Italian descent. On 26 November. while seizing the rich resources of the south chance not in port.49 a. mainly on the West Coast. Most of the Japanese- Americans were held in the camps for up to three years even though not a single case of spying or sabotage was ever discovered. 347 were destroyed or damaged for the loss of only 29 Japanese planes. In early December. a large force made up of all five of Japan’s fleet carriers. Although intelligence did eventually reach the listening station on the islands. indicating war. Altogether 2. 91 . Japanese politicians had hoped that A deadline was set for 30 November. and on 1 December. At 7. on 7 December the first wave of 183 Japanese bombers. following further Japanese incursion in and Pearl Harbor remained a central base for Indo-China.

and to discourage the British and early weeks of 1942. The campaign was an extraordinary success.World War II BLITZKRIEG IN ASIA 12 DECEMBER 1941 1 JANUARY 1942 13 JANUARY 1942 14 FEBRUARY 1942 4 APRIL 1942 5 MAY 1942 8 DECEMBER 1941 Romania declares war on the United United Nations Declaration signed German submarines Directive to RAF Bomber Hitler orders retaliatory Allied forces land in northern —11 MAY 1942 States. After recapturing the Philippines in 1945. occupation. the Japanese fell on 15 February 1942. a Japanese seaborne striking the region was one of the force under General Tomoyuki Yamashita chief factors encouraging the Japanese attack. rubber. 11th Indian Infantry Division. American governments from attempting the BELOW: Burning oil stocks difficult and expensive task of recapturing the after a Japanese air attack on new southern zone of the Japanese Empire. he served as Army Chief of Staff. China and begin anti-US Atlantic coastline Command allows onset of area air raids on British cities. assault the Philippines. The oil of On 7 December. the Soviet Union shipping Operation bombing of cities. he was made commander-in-chief of all US army forces in the Pacific. He was finally relieved of command in April 1951 following arguments with President Truman over policy on the Korean War. In July 1941. the archipelago. he was already a brigadier general. became an inspirational leader of men. T he Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was LEFT: Japanese forces were among the first to planned to coincide with a number of master effective combined complex and daring combined operations operations. and he organized the defence of the Philippines against Japanese assault. and then conquer the British and Dutch possessions in the East Indies. United States. At the end of driven back by an army whose soldiers were regarded in the West as racially inferior. assembled in the Gulf of Siam destined the following day to occupy the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand and to assault the British airfields in northern Malaya. Here Japanese to seize Southeast Asia. but defeated a British Empire force more than twice as large. Within Dutch bases in the Dutch four months the vast area of the European powers’ East Indies during the three-month campaign for empires in the Far East was under Japanese rule. the son of a soldier. where he retired from the American army to become a Philippines field marshal. Adept at jungle Japanese when Singapore warfare and tactics of infiltration. He became Supreme Commander Allied Powers in the post-war administration of Japan and played a key part in Japan’s democratic reconstruction. tin and other many similar operations in the minerals. scoring the highest marks ever conquest of Malaya. the Japanese were almost at the surrendered to the Malayan capital of Kuala Lumpur. In Malaya Yamashita commanded around 60. The attempt by the Allied army to hold ABOVE: Badge of the up the Japanese advance was half-hearted at best. “Drumbeat”. In 1930. the East Indies and a soldiers haul an artillery piece onto the shore from the string of small islands in the western Pacific landing boats during one of to secure supplies of oil. which eventually By 9 January. Madagascar to prevent Japanese day. He was appointed Commander-in- Chief South West Pacific Area in April 1942. Roosevelt made him commander of US forces in the Far East. and despite his reputation for flamboyance and self-promotion. the First World War. and in 1935 went as military adviser to the Philippines. Other strike forces prepared to seize Hong Kong. BELOW: Japanese soldiers of General Yamashita’s force storm a British-held village during the rapid He was an outstanding officer cadet. 92 . In seven weeks a larger British Empire and Commonwealth force was relentlessly achieved at the military academy at West Point. GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (1880–1964) MacArthur was born into an upper-class American family.000 men. followed by Bulgaria the next by Britain. and 22 other states.

for speaking his mind. Islands 23 Dec. to the Marianas. was the American public a psychological boost. to drive home the Japanese success. small islands warn Britain to stay at arm’s length from the new were seized to prevent any threat from the central Japanese Empire which had been established ocean area. The bombers. HOMMA 8 Dec. Batavia (Jakarta). Guam Marshall Islands the circle of senior Japanese naval officers who XXXX Truk favoured a confrontation with the United States. 14 Mariana Japanese invade. 200 Australians. including island of Singapore. carried driving through the central zone. weakened by the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse on 10 December. There was no intention of creating a larger campaign area than their limited forces could ABOVE: British prisoners being marched into captivity in the protect and Australia was safe for the present. 19 February and Timor the next day. perished in Japanese camps and labour service during the war. Saigon XXXX XXXX USAFFE Palau XXXX FIRST FLEET He followed up the Pearl Harbor attack with 25 16 MACARTHUR Caroline MALAYA YAMASHITA IMAMURA Islands NAGUMO Makin command of the raids on northern Australia. posted back to Japan and then. Nanking Shanghai US “Doolittle Raid” bombs Japanese cities. Japanese plans worked almost like clockwork. Further out in the Pacific. began a week later on 15 December with landings on the island of Borneo. The Dutch surrendered on 9 March. Admiral Takahashi’s task force concentrated on ABOVE: On 18 April 1942 US naval and air forces launched a ABOVE: The aftermath of the Japanese air raid on the northern reprisal raid on Tokyo and other Japanese cities with 16 B 25 Australian port of Darwin on 19 February 1942. The attack on the East Indies. The capital here leaving the carrier. then the naval base at and the British forces were withdrawn to the Trincomalee. The disaster at Midway showed the limits Sumatra XXXX DUTCH DUTCH EAST INDIES New Guinea Rabaul 23 Jan. the carrier Hermes. and he was relieved Ellice Jakarta Java Solomon Islands Islands of command. Darwin July 1944 during the American invasion of Saipan. A U S T R A L I A Occupied by Japan under Vichy agreement Japanese occupied. the rest of the Allies three days later. Australian and colonial troops. 18 April NAGUMO (1887–1944) XXXX Iwo Jima The leader of the operation at Pearl Harbor. The garrison on Wake Island more than four months. Islands of his grasp of naval air power. targeting airfields and oil installations. and killed over of the Dutch East Indies. Thousands of British and Empire prisoners In the Indian Ocean the British naval presence. On 19 February. defended by Dutch. The raid. but succumbed to a larger air and sea assault 12 days later. whose task force attacked Colombo in January. BURMA Kunming Formosa Midway HUTTON Nagumo was regarded as a particularly aggressive P a c i f i c O c e a n BURM A Hong Kong XXXX and effective fleet commander. and was among SIA M INDO. The northernmost island of Batan the Japanese Empire into the Indian Ocean area. XXXX Singapore India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and at the Battle of MALAYA PERCIVAL 15 Feb. April 1942 RIGHT: RAF American-made In treaty with Japan Japanese base Brewster Buffalo fighters flying over Malaya. seen out by 242 bombers and fighters. 9 Mar. Wake Island XXXX 25 Dec. bomber aircraft destroyed a large part of the northern Australian port of Darwin. He rose to prominence in 15 Rangoon IDA FRENCH Saipan the 1930s as a torpedo expert. was army proved an irresistible force against a poorly challenged by a daring raid led by Vice Admiral prepared enemy with limited air power. although some of the Allied force was evacuated to Australia from Java. One branch of the assault moved southeast to capture the British Solomon Islands. Japanese warships and aircraft hunted down surviving Allied shipping and destroyed it. 19 Feb. He committed suicide in Dutch East Indies capitulates. the first to be sunk by carrier Japanese progress in the Philippines was less aircraft. with a reputation Mandalay capitulates. resisted the first Japanese attack on 11 December. By 31 Nagumo. Philippines CHINA Manila 10 Dec. British colony of Hong Kong following a brief resistance in December 1941. mostly carrier-borne. Malaya had been abandoned Ceylon on 5 April 1942. sinking four warships. bombed. 93 . British. Borneo Celebes Hollandia Gilbert Midway. harried by Japanese aircraft. inflicted little physical damage but gave was designed to disrupt Allied communications. was occupied on 8 December and the main island but simply the aim to undermine the delicate of Luzon assaulted by seaborne forces two days British political position in southern Asia and to later. Blitzkrieg in Asia C H I N A J A PA N Tokyo VICE ADMIRAL CHUICHI Japanese invade Burma. There was no intention yet of extending spectacular. In a daring series of combined operations the Japanese army swarmed out over the archipelago. 19 Jan. captured on 5 March. in Timor Port Moresby Guadalcanal 1944. The US base at Guam was occupied across thousands of miles in the space of little on 10 December. taking Bali on bombers launched from the US carrier Hornet.

but on 2 January he asked the Treasury Department to draft a bill that would allow the President to sell. lease or lend war supplies to those states whose fight protected American security. ABOVE: Edward R Stettinius Jr (left). agreement signed with the Soviet Union. This was the origin of what became known as the Lend-Lease scheme under whose terms the United States gave vast economic assistance to almost all states fighting the Axis. and helped to bring the Soviet Union back into the international arena. But the transfer of resources was never one-way. One-third of US supplies for D-Day came from British mutual aid. Three weeks before. Winston Churchill had sent him an urgent appeal for economic and financial aid to fight the war in 1941. Churchill described it as the most “unsordid act” and without question the supply of generous Lend-Lease aid allowed the British people to continue their war effort. in Washington to co-ordinate the effort to keep the following heavy sea lanes open in losses. who ran the Lend-Lease organization before later becoming Roosevelt’s Secretary of State. When the Soviet Union entered the ABOVE: Not all Americans welcomed the war in June 1941. MAXIM LITVINOV (1876–1951) Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Russian Poland. exchange. supplying goods to 35 states. He persisted in his view that America’s interests could best be served by giving resources to end the German threat and on 11 March Congress approved the bill. the perilous Arctic Convoy route suspended Stalin in Moscow and promises more aid. By 1943. He was sacked in May 1939. O n 29 December 1940.World War II LEND-LEASE 2 MAY 1942 11 JUNE 1942 5 JULY 1942 12 AUGUST 1942 1 MARCH 1943 Lend-Lease aid New Lend-Lease British aid on Churchill visits Convoy conference 1940—1945 to Iraq and Iran authorised. Here Chinese soldiers and workers in January 1939 are carrying Roosevelt announced in a national the parts of a US vehicle for reassembly on the Burma Road. Roosevelt knew that there were powerful voices in the United States hostile to the idea of helping Britain. demonstrates on a world map the destination of US goods. President BELOW: American aid began even before the outbreak of war in Europe. Britain and the United States Lend-Lease bill. picket the Department new combatant. 26 February 1941. Roosevelt introduced the scheme in Congress in January. Here representatives of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Clubs. the main supply route to aid the Chinese in their struggle against Japan. Litvinov joined Lenin’s Bolsheviks and became a leading diplomat for the new Soviet state after 1917. radio broadcast his determination that the United States should become “the great arsenal of democracy”. Under the Reciprocal Aid Agreements signed in September 1942 the British undertook to help US forces stationed in Europe. He was appointed Foreign Affairs Commissar in 1930. the United States was of the Treasury building in Washington. the Atlantic. including 16 million boxes of matches and 37 million cakes of soap. transfer. but brought back as Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs in 1941 and then from 1941 to 1943 ambassador in Washington where he played an important part in securing American aid and arguing the Soviet case for high levels of economic and military assistance. led both promised aid on a large scale to help the by Father Christmas. provoking a storm of protest. 94 .

ABOVE: Children in an English school in Staffordshire in the autumn of 1941 eating eggs supplied under the Lend-Lease ABOVE: A British dock worker unloads cheese from the United agreements. Food totalled 12. Most of the supplies were in the and. Another line of 1945. 5. Although the Soviet side made endless receded in 1943. These aircraft were shipped via war began. Supplies were sent by the dangerous Persia (Iran). Hopkins the following year. administration of the area was continued to act as Roosevelt’s confidant down to the conference at Yalta in February taken over by the United States. a total including 380. a total of $29. part of a delivery aid for the USSR as soon as the German-Soviet supplied under the American-Soviet agreements in August 1941. He was a September 1941 in order to secure the road. American aid to the British was whole and the most valuable assistance came in much more substantial. Lease aid to the allies. Food supplied to the Soviet Union was said to be States. raw materials. the Lend-Lease scheme. Hopkins was recruited to Persia (now modern Iran) which necessitated administer the New Deal federal aid programme. Lend-Lease The bulk of American assistance was sent to BELOW: Pistol provided to the British forces under Britain in the form of weapons. Such products became staples of the British wartime diet.203 planes supplied over the period of the war. In 1933. including the famous tins of meat It is inscribed “United known as Spam. LEFT: Dried eggs imported from the United States described on the packet as “one of the United Nations”. aircraft and vehicles. Lend-Lease turned out in the end to be something of a misnomer. involving a total during the war of 739 merchant ships. He died the following year after a long battle with illness.899 radio of 70 per cent of all supplies in 1943 and 68 per stations and over one million miles of telephone cent in 1944. On 2 August 1941. raw materials. 14 October 1941. but in major influence on the idea of creating Lend-Lease in 1940–41 and then in extending aid to the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. so the number of successful sailings across the Atlantic increased. Churchill had been less wary and had pledged ABOVE: Soviet and American technicians examine a Douglas A-20 Havoc. 95 . as Roosevelt had always recognized. The quantity of the aid the Soviet Union “would not have been finished weapons was a small proportion of the able to cope”. During the war he became Roosevelt’s the British-Soviet occupation of Teheran on 17 unofficial emissary to Churchill and Stalin.000 field telephones. all telecommunications equipment. Around 17 per cent of the American war effort was devoted to the aid programme and its impact in sustaining the fighting power of Britain and the Soviet Union was without question of fundamental importance in securing ultimate Allied victory. Almost none of the aid could be returned and little of it was directly paid for.1 per cent of all Lend- enough to feed every Red Army soldier each day of the war. Though in poor health. oil and food. He began his career destination safely. railroad supplies over five years. with rooms in the White House. escorted HARRY HOPKINS (1890–1946) by the Royal Navy. who was then the state governor. except by reciprocal aid. Stalin privately admitted that without impact in the Soviet Union.9 billion the form of food. Aid for the Soviet Union was States Property”. of which 677 arrived at their Hopkins was one of President Roosevelt’s closest advisers. Roosevelt announced that the USSR would not formally qualify for Lend-Lease but would be given resources up to the limit that the United States could afford. more problematic because of deep distrust of Communism. above. A second route was set up in working for welfare organizations in New York where he came to the attention of Roosevelt. Two weeks later the Soviet Embassy in Washington presented a 29-page list of everything the Soviet Union wanted. form of munitions. The supplies were slow to arrive and not until complaints about the quality or insufficiency of late 1942 did they begin to make a significant supplies. supply was established through the eastern port of Vladivostok to the Trans-Siberian railway. northern sea route around northern Scandinavia to Murmansk and Archangel. part of the 14. As the threat from Axis submarines wire.

year later moved to Germany and joined the German SS and the security police. O n 20 January 1942. of Jews. The Ghetto was sealed up by the German but brought up in Austria. but the murder of certain categories of Heydrich to bring all these strands together into a Jews in the conquered areas of the Soviet Union single comprehensive programme of genocide. In 1950 he fled to Argentina. of implementing a “final solution” to the Jewish question. the Gestapo official Adolf Eichmann. In August 1941. At the 20 January meeting. Jews of Serbia were slaughtered and Jews in the Belzec. mass deportation of all Europe’s Jews by his immediate superior Heinrich Himmler. to murder solution” to the eastwards. but the exact first mass deportation of German Jews to the east point at which Hitler ordered the mass murder of began. He was born in Germany January 1942. Lake Wannsee in a respectable suburb of Berlin. In mid- July 1941 this meant evacuation of Jews to the newly conquered areas in the east of Europe. Himmler was almost were exterminated. but a death camps. death camps in Poland. put on trial and executed in 1962. Jewish question. Maidanek and Auschwitz- Birkenau. The decision to exterminate Jews was thus the Jews of Europe is not clear. then supervising the transfer of Jews to the east. To carry out the new policy a number of Hitler approved the murder of Jewish women and purpose-built extermination camps were set up children in Russia. Heydrich was chief of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) responsible for most issues of security and surveillance in the Third Reich and in this role had been formally given the task by Hermann Göring. and in 1939 was promoted to head office IV B 4 (Jewish affairs) in the Reich Main Security Office. Heydrich presented figures on the Jewish population in Europe. but by the time Heydrich met officials at Wannsee the term “evacuation” now signified destruction. collecting and deporting the Jewish population of Europe to the BELOW: A group of emaciated children in the Warsaw ghetto. which controlled the Gestapo. first organizing emigration and deportation. over ABOVE: The Corporate Jewish Shoemakers parade through the Greek city of Salonika (Thessaloniki) before the war. where he did a number of authorities on 16 November 1940 and an estimated 100. in September 1941. on 31 July 1941. in Europe but its Jewish population was destroyed during the Heydrich had been authorized to organize the genocide of 1942–4. It was here that the notorious Wannsee Conference took place on 20 January 1942 which sealed Heydrich in a large villa on the shores of the fate of Europe’s Jews. a total which had been calculated by had one of the oldest and culturally rich Jewish communities his assistant. He was made responsible for Jewish affairs in Austria after the Anschluss. taken to Israel. Most historians taken piecemeal across the second half of 1941. Communist Jews. head of former Polish areas of Warthegau and Galicia the elite SS organization. from where he was snatched by Israeli security men in May 1960. Salonika 11 million. date the decision to November or early December The Wannsee Conference was the opportunity for 1941. In this position he oversaw the “final solution of the Jewish question”. 96 . Treblinka. and on 15 October 1941 the certainly acting on Hitler’s authority.000 died salesman’s jobs in the 1920s. 14 German officials BELOW: The villa on the shores of the Wannsee in Berlin used as and police leaders met with Reinhard an SS guest house during the war. In 1932 he joined the of disease and hunger before the population was deported to the Austrian National Socialist party and the SS.World War II THE WANNSEE CONFERENCE 3 OCTOBER 1940 19 MAY 1941 31 JULY 1941 18 AUGUST 1941 13 MARCH 1942 Jews in Hitler issues Hermann Göring Hitler orders The Belzec 20 JANUARY 1942 Nazi-occupied Warsaw are guidelines for troops in Russia authorizes Reinhard Heydrich Berlin’s remaining Jews death camp is opened for the ordered into the giving permission to find a “final to be deported mass murder ghetto. Construction had begun in 1941 of ADOLF EICHMANN camps that included gas chambers where large (1906–62) numbers of victims could be killed at once using From his position as head of the Gestapo office for either carbon-monoxide poisoning or – as at “Jewish Affairs”. Adolf Eichmann played a central role in the task of registering. had already begun in June 1941. Sobibor. the male on occupied Polish territory at Chelmno.

died during the war. where anti-Semitism remained and favoured the shift to factory-based killing a strong prejudice. Belorussia and Ukraine where the Einsatzgruppen. arrivals before the majority were marched to their deaths. taken in 1944.4 million Jews had already been killed. for victimisation. In this picture. and failure to wear it was a criminal of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poland. helping to organize the Frank. by shipping them secretly to Sweden. Jewish partisans faced that these so-called “wild killings” made too great hostility from Ukrainian nationalists and Russian a demand on the SS men who did the shootings partisan groups. The genocide was both a German and a European crime. From March 1942 abandoned or killed in case their cries alerted the until the gassings finished in October 1944. Capture meant certain death. German officers walk through a crowd of perpetrators. Life for Jewish partisans was harsh. 97 . the Baltic states and Czechoslovakia. assemble and deport Jewish populations. following in the wake escaped into the forests and marshlands where they of the army. a Dutch ABOVE: A Jewish family in the Dutch city of Amsterdam on Jew who subsequently went into hiding in the Netherlands with ABOVE: The destination for over a million of the Jewish their way to a transit camp and ultimately to their deaths in the false papers. ABOVE: A yellow Star of David worn by Rosa Dalberg. Half of Hungary’s Jews perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau in the final months of killing in 1944. The Hungarian regime resisted demands for deportation until 1944 when German forces occupied the country. organized from Berlin on directives from the German leadership but the programme was carried out with the help of many non-German BELOW: An image that became all too familiar across German-occupied Europe. Only in Denmark were almost all Jews saved. the invading Romanian Army perpetrated its own genocide of the Jewish populations in its path. LEFT: A group of Jewish partisans pose for the camera sometime in 1942 or 1943 in the Naliboki forest. among them the young diary-writer Anne offence. the Soviet Union was used as an excuse to deport or murder large numbers of Romanian Jews.7 million Jews were murdered in the companions were often shot by their own side. an enemy. Elsewhere in occupied Europe. The Wannsee Conference Auschwitz – the delousing agent Zyklon-B. In Romania there was a long Jews clutching the possessions they were allowed to bring with them on the crowded and unsanitary trains that shipped them tradition of anti-Semitism and the war against across Europe. The first camp with purpose-built gas chambers JEWISH RESISTANCE IN began operation in March 1942. The Star was compulsory for all Jews in occupied deportees was the combined labour and extermination camp extermination centres in Nazi-occupied Poland. the German invaders found enthusiastic local militia and police willing to hunt out or murder Jews. local collaborators or fascists helped German officials to identify. but before that an THE HOLOCAUST estimated 1. In the Baltic states and Ukraine. Himmler was anxious villages and camps where Jews fleeing from the ghettos could be protected. camps. Babies born to women partisans had to be in the extermination camps. most of them from Poland. The Star isolated the Jews made them an easy target labourers can be seen in the foreground. murdered Jews as a potential threat fought as partisans against the occupiers or set up to the German war effort. An estimated Europe and in Germany.000 Dutch Jews. In southern Ukraine. In Eastern Europe under German occupation most of them in the campaign in the Soviet Union thousands of Jews in Poland. and wounded estimated 3. prisoner- 106. near The genocide of the European Jews was Novogrudok.

000 troops. Yamashita could muster around 35. he was promoted to Lieutenant General and posted to Malaya in May as Commander-in-Chief. too weak to hold a sustained assault and lacking any ABOVE: The island base of mobile reserve force to help repel a landing. The British commander. he was briefly an assistant to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. completed in the late night of 8/9 February. Malaya Command. soon broke the defensive line and drove (38-centimetre) coastal guns. arrived just before the Japanese attacked but played only a small part in the subsequent battle. It had been reinforced during the interwar years by the addition of heavy guns pointing seaward to ward off any possible invasion by a naval force. Japanese forces. Japanese forces landed in 1930s. after its founder. Coast. The island of Singapore was the major British naval base in the Far East and the hub of the defence of British possessions in the Pacific. He was an effective administrator but not. and was freed in 1945 at the end of the war.World War II THE FALL OF SINGAPORE 25 JANUARY 1942 10 FEBRUARY 1942 11 FEBRUARY 1942 13 FEBRUARY 1942 19 FEBRUARY 1942 7—15 Thailand declares war on Britain and Pacific War Council meets in London Operation “Cerberus” – the Channel Dash – battle Roosevelt signs order to compel Canada introduces military draft FEBRUARY 1942 the United States. Lieutenant General Percival had to ABOVE: Badge of “Dalforce” – the Singapore face an attack from the north against a coastline Overseas Chinese Anti Japanese Volunteer which had not been effectively prepared for major Army – set up in December 1941 and named defensive action. a very inspiring personality. Association after the war. Percival deployed his forces in a broad but light covering line along the coast. was protected by huge 15-inch strength.000 troops supported by substantial numbers of aircraft. John Dalley. and after that became a successful career officer with a great deal of experience in staff work. though fewer in number than the British Empire garrison. On 31 January. The force took Percival had under his command around part in the Battle for Singapore and later some of the volunteers fought a guerilla 70. sent to a camp for senior officers. 98 . On the Singapore. the 18th Division. by general opinion. returning to Britain two years later. mainly Indian and Australian. Prinz Eugen escape from from US West Brest back to Germany. the evacuation from Malaya to Singapore across the Strait of Johore was completed. As a Major General in April 1940. To meet the expected assault. In March 1941. A campaign against the Japanese occupiers. He became president of the Far East POWs’ ABOVE: The city of Singapore under Japanese air attack on 10 February 1942. cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and heavy cruiser the deportation of 110. LIEUTENANT GENERAL ARTHUR PERCIVAL (1887–1966) Arthur Percival was a volunteer for the army in 1914. British formation. T he loss of Singapore was the largest and most humiliating defeat suffered by British Empire forces throughout the Second World War.000 Japanese legislation. After training session in December 1941. In the long retreat through Malaya the British Empire the end the Japanese invaded on the forces had exaggerated respect for the Japanese opposite side from the coastal defences. to discuss Allied strategy. were helped by overwhelming superiority in the air. Here one can be seen elevated for firing in a in two waves towards the city of Singapore. The rapid invasion of the Malay Peninsula in December 1941 and January 1942 by Lieutenant General Yamashita’s 25th Army upset all the plans for the defence of Singapore. He was posted to Malaya for the first time in 1936. He was taken into captivity in February 1942.

Singapore then BELOW: Singapore civilians being herded together by Japanese soldiers after the fall of the city in February 1942. for which he had little responsibility. who had expected greater resistance.000 British Empire troops and officials. and was negotiators on 15 February 1942. When Yamashita surrendered to were taken to Changi camp in the north-east the Americans in Manila in 1945. 99 . Yamashita and his officers were astonished Retreating soldiers began to panic and a stream that 70. determination to fight.000 European and Australian prisoners Southern Army. of the South”) and became the headquarters of the The 50. anti-Japanese sentiment or 100. 1942.000 Indian troops were invited to join the “purification by elimination”. This was the largest military force to surrender in British history and hanged on 23 February 1946. Percival. around which Percival Japanese military ethic which deplored surrender. view that further resistance was a pointless including not only many from among the Chinese waste of lives. recently of Singapore Island and thousands of them freed. He was made a Lieutenant General in 1937 but served much of his time in Manchukuo (Manchuria) to keep him away from the centre of military power. nonetheless. Yet after three days of resistance. It was renamed Shonan (“Light inhabitants for murder because of their political beliefs or race. communist sympathies. Many of the military and secret police was sook ching or 45. By August southern empire. On the afternoon of 15 February population but also ethnic Malays suspected of Percival surrendered along with an estimated criminal activities. enemy and a growing sense of hopelessness later died in the work projects on mainland BELOW: A stream of British army vehicles fleeing from the about the battle. After his surrender he was tried as a war criminal for the ABOVE: Lieutenant General Percival (far right) leads the British surrender party to meet Japanese “rape of Manila”. The Fall of Singapore LIEUTENANT GENERAL TOMOYUKI YAMASHITA (1885–1946) A career soldier. centre) in the Ford Works Building in Singapore. The Japanese commander insisted on immediate and complete surrender. linked the island with the mainland. He later commanded the defence of the Philippines from October 1944. He became a national hero after the campaign but Tojo posted him again to Manchukuo. generally regarded as one of Japan’s best operational commanders. By 12 February. In November 1941. he was appointed to command the 25th Army for the capture of Malaya. had thrown up a primitive defensive screen. ABOVE: The surrender negotiations at the headquarters of Lieutenant General Yamashita (seated. For the civilian inhabitants of Singapore there with Yamashita’s supply lines under growing followed several years of victimization and mass pressure. Yamashita had a chequered career because of his association with an attempted coup in 1936 in Tokyo and his rivalry with General Tojo. Percival bowed to his fellow officers’ murder.000 were killed. the Japanese Asia.714 killed. Their mistreatment arose partly from the Japanese invasion of Malaya on their way to the island of Singapore across the bridge over the Straits of Johore which had reached the city itself. The Japanese Indian National Army inspired by the radical became one of the major centres of the Japanese military and security police selected thousands of the town’s nationalist Subhash Chandra Bose.000 men could surrender against a of deserters and refugees added to the confusion much smaller force without showing greater in the attempt to defend the central districts.000 had refused to join. An estimated 30–50. The term used by Chinese some of whom had arrived only to experience to describe these activities by the Japanese almost immediate imprisonment. Japanese casualties from Fighting for the city proved more determined the campaign amounted to only 1. it astonished the Japanese. only around 15. was invited to witness the signing.

Lord Louis French port of St Nazaire. where a small forc