Chapter 19The Second World WarBritish LiteratureCCAA Haddock Lobo
The context• End of 1st World War: Europe facedhumiliations (Italy + Germany) +insatisfaction + unresolvedimperialist problems.• The 1929 crisis together with socialagitation made Fascist movementsgrow.
The Treat of Versailles and AdolfHitler• The peace treaty ofVersailles formallyended the 1st WorldWar.• It forbade Germany tomaintain a large army,but the GermanChancellor Adolf Hitlerignored this treatyand ordered a rapidexpansion and re-arming of Germany’sarmed forces.• Hitler wanted torevenge thehumiliating defeatGermany faced in1918.
Hitler’s arguments• Hitler preached to the German massesthat he would lead them in building aproud new Germany, a Third Reich thatwould last a 1000 years.
1933 – Hitler in the power• Criticism to Versailles becauseGermany didn’t take part in it(Diktat – it was imposed).• Lebensraum (Space of Life) “TheGerman Reich needs more space inorder to grow”• Armamentism. This fact wasn’tstopped by England and France.
1936:1. Intervention on the SpanishCivil War,2. Formation of the Axis (Italy,German and Japan)19381. Annexation of Austria,2. Sudetes (Czechoslovakia) -Mountain area where thepopulation was of Germanicorigin. France and Englandagree with it ifCzechoslovakia is protected.1939:1. German conquers the wholeCzechoslovakia. England andFrance finally notice the Nazithreat2. Hitler demands theannexation of Dantzig,Poland. England and Francedon’t accept this.Hitler and Stalin. Back in Russia,Stalin was promoting his GreatPurge against any one who wassuspected of being against hisregime. This included repression,imprisonment and arbitraryexecutions.
The hatred for Jews• After the 1st WorldWar, Germanyfaced a crisis.Much bankers werefrom that origin.Masking his hatredfor them, Hitlerblamed them forthe economicalcrisis that tookplace.• The German peoplebelieved in it andfollowed this, thuspromoting a racistwave against Jews.• During the war,they were led toconcentrationcamps, where theywere murdered ingas chambers.
“A Greater Germany”• In 1938, Hitlerordered theannexation ofthe Austria andpart ofCzechoslovakiawhile ignoringthe feeblediplomaticprotests ofBritain andFrance.
August 1939: Molotov–RibbentropPact• Non-aggression pact between the NaziGerman and the USSR.• Germany doesn’t want to fight in twofronts.• Soviet Union Stalin’s response to theFranco-British policy on puttingGermany against the Soviet Union.Also, Stalin needed time to reorganizethe leadership the command of thetroops after problems caused by theGreat Purge.
September 1st 1939• On this day, Poland begins to be invaded byNazi Germany, Slovakia, and the Soviet Union.• The German invasion happened one weekafter the Molotov-Ribbentrap pact was signed.• The Soviet invasion began on September 17th1939.• On October 6th 1939 this campaign ended.Germany and the Soviet Union divided andannexed the whole territory of Poland.• With the invasion of Poland, Britain and Francedeclared war on Germany. However, for manymonths the Western front remained quiet.
• 1940:The German unleashed their Blitzkrieg once againwith furious attacks on Denmark, Norway,Holland, Belgium and finally France.Within a few weeks the Germans had conqueredthe Low Countries and much of Scandinaviaand had smashed the combined French andBritish armies opposing them in France. TheBritish forces, together with part of the Frencharmy, retreated to the coastal city of Dunkirk innorthwestern France, where they anxiouslywaited on the beach to be evacuated across theEnglish Channel to safety in Britain.
After the war• The situation of theBritish army afterDunkirk wasprecarious. Largequantities of militaryequipment had beenlost in France andthe home defenseforces foundthemselves with old,outdated weapons.• The British navymaintained controlof the EnglishChannel, but in spiteof that the threat ofinvasion was veryreal, as the Germanarmy assembled itsforces along theFrench coast andbegan collectinginvasion barges.
• The best defensethe British had wasthe voice of theindomitableWinston Churchill,whose speeches inthe Parliament andon radio lifted thepeople’s moraleand strengthenedtheir determinationto resist the Nazionslaught.
Instead of trying to invade immediately, however,Hitler decided to send his air force across theChannel to destroy the Royal Air Force (the RAF).With control of the air, Hitler hoped to be able tocross the Channel in spite of the presence of theBritish navy.Once more, Churchill urged the British people tostand firm.
•Son of aristocratic father and American mother, born in 1874. Hestudied at the British military academy (Sandhurst) and in 1895began a career as an officer in the British army•While in South Africa covering the Boer War as a journalist, he wascaptured, but escaped from the camp. This fact caught the attentionof the British people and put Churchill in the public spotlight for thefirst time•Stood for Parliament in 1900 and won a seat as a member forOldham (large town in Greater Manchester, England). Served in thegovernment for the next fifty-five years•Elected as a Prime Minister during the most difficult days of the warfor the British. As Prime Minister, he proved to be an inspirational in atime of great crisis and a brilliant world statesman•He convinced the American people of the danger posed by A. Hitlerby his powerful oratory•Helped to forge the “Big Three”, alliance of Great Britain, the USAand the Soviet Union in spite of the strong ideological differencesbetween them•Led his people from their “darkest hour” after Dunkirk (Battle ofDunkirk was the defense and evacuation of British and allied forces inEurope from 26 May to 4 June 1940) to the final victory over NaziGermany in 1945
•Shortly after he was defeated when trying to be re-elected as a Prime Minister. The British people were tiredof war and voted against the man who symbolized thesacrifices of “blood, toil, tears and sweat” that theywished to be free from now that peace had come•Suffered a series of strokes from 1949 to 1956.•In 1951, however, partly as a tribute to their agingwartime hero, the British people called on Churchill toserve as their Prime Minister once more. This secondterm as a Prime Minister lasted until 1955, when Churchillretired from public life•In 1953 he won the Nobel Prize of Literature•In 1965 (at the advanced age of 91), he became ill andunderwent an operation (which he named “OperationHope Not”). In spite of all his doctors’ efforts, he fell intoa coma. Struggling a few more days for his life, Churchilldied quietly on his bed on Sunday 24 January 1965
“This was their finest hour” speech given just over amonth after he took over as Prime Minister of the UnitedKingdom at the head of an all-party Coalitiongovernment.
“History of the Second World War” •Based on notes he’d kept during his first term as PrimeMinister•This book has been issued in editions of six, twelve andfour volumes•Churchill wrote the book, with a team of assistants,using both his own notes and privileged access to officialdocuments while still working as a politician; the text wasvetted by the Cabinet Secretary. Churchill was largely fairin his treatment, but wrote the history from his personalpoint of view. He was unable to reveal all the facts, assome, such as the use of Ultra electronic intelligence, hadto remain secret. From a historical point of view the bookis therefore an authoritative memoir by a leadingparticipant in the direction of the war