Almudena Corrales Social StudiesD-Day Landing Craft, RobertCapa
I“ t is one thing to learn about history books, and quiteanother thing to experience it oneself. That is what I wanted toremind you of just now when I likened a glimpse into the past ofmankind to the view seen from an aeroplane flying at a greathight […] In the last chapter I told you about the terrible WorldWar of 1914-18. Although I lived through it, I was only nine yearsold when it ended. So when I wrote about it still had to rely onbooks. In my finally chapter I would like to tell you a littleabout what I actually did experience. The more I think aboutit, the stranger it seems. The world is now so utterly differentfrom what it was in 1918, and yet so many of the changes thatoccured happened so imperceptibly that we now take themcompletely for granted. When I was a boy there were no television, nocomputers, no space flights and no atomic energy. .[…] […] I am reluctant to name them, but everyone willknow that the one I have most in mind is Adolf Hitler. Hitler hadbeen a soldier in the First World War, and he too remainedconvinced that, had it not been for the supposed deception, the
“ German army would never have been defeated. Buthe didn’t just blame Wilson. In his eyes, the enemy’s propagandahad been crucial in persuading the Germans and Austrians athome to abandon the soldiers at the front to their fate. Hitlerwas therefore determined to trump the enemy in the art ofpropaganda. He was a brilliant popular orator and drew hugecrowds. He knew there was no better way to incite a mob toaction than to give them a scapegoat, someone they could blamefor their suffering , and he found one in the Jews. […] But even though I come from a Jewish familymyself, it never enetered my head that such horrors might berepeated in my own lifetime. I myself saw Hitler’s brown-shirts supporters beatingup Jewish students at Vienna University, and when I was writingthis book, Hitler had already seized power in Germany. It seemedonly a matter of time before the Austrian government would alsofall, so I was lucky to be invited to England just in time, beforeHitler’s troops marched into Austria in March 1938. After that, asin Germany, anyone who greeted someone with a simple ‘Goodmorning’ and not a ‘Heil Hitler!’ was taken a very grave risk.
“In this type of situation it soon becomes all too clearthat in the eyes of the supporters of this sort of movement, thereis only one sin, disloyalty to the Führer, or leader, and only onevirtue, absolute obedience. To bring victory closer every orderhad to be obeyed, even if it ran counter to the laws of humanity.Of course, similar things have happened at earlier times inhistory, and I have described many of them in this book – forexample, when I wrote about Muhammad’s first disciples. TheJesuits, too, were said to place obedience above allelse. I alsotouched briefly on the victory of the Communists in Russia underLenin, and there, too, there were convinced Communists whowould not tolerate any apponents. Their ruthlessness in thepursuit of their goals knew no bounds, and millions died as aresult. In the years that followed the First WorldWar, tolerance also vanished in Germany, Italy and Japan. Thepoliticians of those countries told their fellow countrymen thatthey had been cheated when the world was shared out, and theytoo had the right to rule over other peoples. The Italians wereremind of their ancient Roman ancestry, the Japanese of theirwarriors, and the Germans of the old Germanic tribes, ofCharlemagne and Frederick the Great. […]
“Then, when a serious economic crisis in Germanycondemned vast numbers of people to unemployment, warseemed the simplest way out. The unemployment would becomesoldiers or work in the armaments factories, and in this way thehateful treaties of Versailles and St. Germain would be wiped offthe face of the earth. Not only that, but the Western democraticcountries – France, Britain and the United States- had become sosoftened by years of peace, or so it was thought, that hey werehardly likely to defend themselves. Certainly no one therewanted a war, and every effort was made to avoid giving Hitleran excuse to bring calamity down on the world. But, sadly, apretext can always be found. So on the first day of September in1939, the German army marched into Poland. […] In December 1941, the japanese attacked theAmerican fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor and virtually destroyedit, and Hitler took it upon himself to declare war on the UnitedSates, and when, in the autumn of 1942, the German troopswere beaten back in North Africa and defeated by the Russian inJanuary 1943 outside Satlingrad, and when the German air force-the Luftwaffe- proved powerless, it became clear that it takesmore than fine words and fanfares to win a war. […] When Winston Churchill became prime minister inEngland, he said: ‘I can promise nothing but blood, sweat andtears’
1. POLAND DEFEATED• On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland from the west and on 15 September Russia invaded from the east.• Poland was swiftly defeated by the German tactics of Blitzkrieg (lightning war). • WHY? • Quick victories would get people behind the war effort. • Germany’s economy could not support long-drawn out campaigns.• This was followed by the Phoney War (winter 1939-1940). Each side waiting for the other to make a move. • Hitler was confident that he could get Britain and France to agree to a peace deal with him rather than continue the war.
2. GERMAN SUCCESSES IN THE WEST• In April 1940 Germany, using Blitzkreig tactics, invaded Denmark and Norway.• Norway was especially important to Hitler, since it would provide naval bases.• On 10 May German troops attacked Holland, Belgium and France using Blitskrieg tactics. Britain gets a new war leader• British attempts to help Norway failed and Prime Minister Chamberlain was replaced by Winston Churchill.• Although Dunkirk was a defeat for the Allies , Churchill used for propaganda purposes to boost morale led to the phrase: “Dunkirk spirit”.
Reasons for German success • Blitzkrieg tactics. • Neither Britain nor France was ready to intervene with a large number of troops to help Poland. • Norwegian forces were not mobilised and Norwegian Nazis, led by Quisling, helped the invaders. • By invading France through Belgium the German army by-passed the French defences of the Maginot Line which had been built along the French-German border.
4. THE SURVIVAL OF BRITAIN • Hitler planned to invade Britain (Operation Sealion): large fleets of barges carrying troops across the English Channel. • July-September 1940 the two airforces fought for control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. • The Luftwaffe tried different tactics: • Bombing convoys airfields factories large cities • German losses were heavier than British Germans- 1,389 planes – British-792 planes
The reasons for the victory of the RAF• The British Spitfires and Hurricanes were more manoeuvrable than German Messerschmidts.• The Germans failed to bomb the British radar stations which told the RAF where and when German attacks were coming.• Germans did not realise how close to defeat the RAF was in September.• British factories produced new planes more quickly than German factories.• The skill and bravery of the British pilots surpassed that of the Germans.
RAF strengths Luftwaffe weaknesses• The RAF was led by Air Chief Marshal Sir • Hermann Goering led the Luftwaffe. He Hugh Dowing. He introduced command did not really understand how modern and communication systems. air warfare worked.• Dowing was also a supporter of radar. • The Luftwaffe had a lot of aircraft but Radar worked by transmitting radio not enough of the right type of fighting waves that bounced back off aircraft. approaching enemy aircraft. • German fighters only had enough fuel• The main RAF fighter planes – Spitfires on board to guarantee them 30 minutes and Hurricanes-were more than a match flying time over Britain. for the Luftwaffe. • Luftwaffe bombers were too small.• RAF fighters were organised into regions so that they could meet attacks quickly. • German intelligence was poor.• RAF pilots who baled out over Britain • Luftwaffe pilots who baled out over could return to duty. Britain became prisioners of war.
5. THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC• Britain depended on food, oil ans raw materials from the USA.• Germans used U-Boats and calculated that if they sank 150 merchant ships every month for a year, Britain would have to surrender.• Churchill wrote: ‘The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril’.• Later in 1943, however, the success of the U-boats declined. Reasons for the British victory• Merchant ships sailed in convoys protected by warships.• British warships and aircfat used radar to tell them where the submarines where.• The Allies were building merchant ships quickly.
6. THE WAR SPREADSGreece• September 1940 Mussolini invaded Greece but italian forces where driven back. Both Hitler and the Allies sent troops.• The Allies were overrun and retreated to the island of Crete which captured by German parachutists in June 1940.Africa• September 1940 Mussolini also invaded Egypt.• British, Indian, Australian and New Zealand troops pushed the Italians out of Egypt.• Rommel, one of the best Hitler’s generals pushed the Allied armies deep into Egypt, threatening the Suez Canal.• The Battle of El Alamein, October 1942, was the turning point: Montgomery’s Eighth Army defeated Rommel.• 1943, the Allies invaded Italy from North Africa.
7. OPERATION BARBAROSSA, 1941“It was the Red Army which tore the heart out of the Germanarmy” Churchill said• Hitler’s ultimate dream was to smash the USSR and carve out an empire for his master race of Germans.• Although Hitler had signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact with Stalin in 1939 he always planned to invade Russia. WHAT DID HE WANT? • Lebensraum for the German people. • To destroy communism. • Resources such as wheat in the Ukraine and oil in the Caucasus.
By summer of 1941, Hitler felt that the time was right and he launched Operation Barbarossa: • 3 million German soldiers in 153 divisions poured across the frontier into the USSR. • Blitzkrieg against the Red Army had devastating effects. • September 1941, Leningrand was under siege. They controlled Ukraine and they also reached Crimea. • In the centre of Russia, the Germans almost reached Moscow, and Stalin seriously considered surrendering. • The Red Army used the winter of 1941-1942 to reorganise. In one of the most extraordinary turnabouts in history, USSR survived and played the key role in the defeat of Hitler.
1. The Allied offensive in Greece held up the German invasion of Russia. This meant that when the Germans did attack (in june) the dreadful Russian winter was not far off.2. The Germans found it difficult to keep their armies supplied over such vast distances. This was made harder by the ‘scorched earth! Policy of the Russians (destroying everything as they retreated).3. The harsh winter of 1941 halted the German advance.4. The Russian armies and the Russian people showed stubborn resistance.
8. AMERICA AND THE WAR WITH JAPANCauses of the war with JapanJapanese expansion• Japan had already conquered Manchuria and by 1941 had invaded deep into China.• Japan needed supplies of coal, oil, tin and other raw materials.• America was very worried about Japanese advances in these areas.• Japanese leaders admired dictators like Hitler and in 1936 signed an agreement with him.
What was the reaction of America?• The USA had important trading links with China.• America demanded that Japan withdraw from China and Indo-China.• America stopped trading with Japan and this was particulary serious for Japan beacuse it depended on America for the 80% of its oil.Pearl Harbor December 1941• Japan decided to launch a surprise attack on the US naval base in Hawaii.• If the US navy in the Pacific could be destroyed, Japan could conquer the whole of the Pacific and South-East Asia.• In the attack most of the US fleet and 120 aircraft were destroyed, and 2,400 Americans were killed.
Pearl Harbor to Midway• Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.• The only confort for the US navy was that its aircarft carries were not in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack.• This was a decisive error.• The US carrier comander, Admiral Halsey, was able to use these carries throughout 1942, while US shipyards frantically constructed new ships, especially carries.• The decisive battle came at Midway in May 1942 when the Americans destroyed four japanese carries. Without air protection the Japanese navy was hopelessly vulnerable and Japan could not match the output of the USA’s shipyards and aircraft factories.
9. THE DEFEAT OF GERMANYBy June 1944 Britain and France were ready to launch theiroffensive in Europe. This was now possible because of thefollowing factors: • Germany had suffered massive losses in Russia. • In July 1943 British and American troops had landed in Italy. By April 1945 Italy had fallen. • Over 3 million British, Canadian and American troops were in southern Britain ready to invade France. • The Allied bombing campaign againts Germany: • One of the most controversial aspects of the war. • Sir Arthur Harris (Head of the RAF) and Churchill thought that bombing would demoralise the German population as well as destroy vital industries, rail links and resources such as coal mines.
• When Roosvelt and Churchill met in January 1943, they agreed that their forces would not be ready to attack Europe until 1944.• They were conscious that Stalin was pressuring them to equal the enormous efforts of the USSR against Germany.• They decided that the bombing campaign would be intensified and that it would be focused on targets in Germany.• Berlin was bombed regularly from 1943 to 1945.
10. D-DAY 6 JUNE 1944• The landings were on five different beaches on a 60-mile strech of the Normandy coast.• Within three weeks northen France had been liberated. On 25 August, Paris fell.• By September both France and Belgium had been freed from German control.• In December the Germans launched a counter-attack but the Allies recovered. Hitler had gambled everything on this attack: he lost 250,000 men and 600 tanks.• By April 1945 the Allies were entering Germany. However, the Russians, attacking from the east, reached Berlin first.• Hitler shot himself on 30 April and Germany surrendered on 7 May 1945.
11. The defeat of Japan• The conflict between the Allies and Japan was fought over a vast territory.• Although the Japanese were being pushed back in 1943 and 1944, the Allied losses were huge.• The Japanese fought fanatically for each island in the Pacific and each piece of territory in China, Burma and India.• By summer 1945, the USA was confident of winning the war eventually.• In 1944-1945 America won the Philippines back. Only Japan was left.• An international team of scientists in the USA, working on what was known as the Manhattan Project, had just perfected the wolrd’s first nuclear bomb. It was decision time for Truman.• In August a nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, and a few days later another one in Nagasaki.• On 14 August 1945 Japa surrendered.