3.2: Europe at War: Blitzkrieg

AGE 9. The Time of World Wars
3.2. Europe at War: Blitzkrieg

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AGE 9. The Time of World Wars
3.2. Europe at War: Blitzkrieg

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

  Oct. 1938: Munich Conference

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

  Chamberlain: "Peace in our time"

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

 March 1939: German army occupies 
 the rest of Czechoslovakia.

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

  no more Appeasement 

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

 Hitler's next target: Poland

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

 What is the political situation on the eve of World War 2?

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

  • knows appeasement did not work
  • does not trust Hitler anymore
  • has assured Poland that Britain will help if Hitler attacks
  • does not trust Stalin either, but considers an alliance with the S.U. to weaken Hitler

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

  • does not trust Hitler
  • does not trust Britain and France either
  • is not ready for a war (purged his own generals)
  • does not have allies

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

  • believes Britain and France won't stop him, but is not sure about the USSR (Stalin)
  • wants to take over Poland
  • but wants to avoid a two front war

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

  • Hitler and Stalin make a DEAL:
  • the NAZI-SOVIET Pact
(a non-agression pact)

  • august 1939
  • The world is shocked.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

  • Needs time to reorganise his army.
  • Does not trust Britain and France.

  • Wants to avoid a two front war.
  • Now he has his hands free to invade Poland.

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

Slide 13 - Video

 a secret clause of the Pact: 
Germany and the S.U. will divide Poland between them.

Slide 14 - Tekstslide


Slide 15 - Video

World War 2
  • Sept 1: German invasion Poland
  • Sept 3: Britain and France declare war on Germany
  • Sept. 17: Soviet Union occupies eastern Poland

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

World War 2
1940 German Blitzkrieg in:
  • April 12: Denmark and Norway
  • May 10: Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France
  • June 22: France capitulates

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

World War 2
Summer 1940 

  • Battle of Britain 

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

Slide 19 - Video

Source C
In the car: Hitler and his cronies. The roadsign: CCCP is the Soviet Union.
Source B

Slide 20 - Tekstslide

The start of World War 2

Although Chamberlain guaranteed that Britain would defend Poland if Hitler decided to attack, Hitler had already started planning to invade Poland in the summer of 1939. 
Hitler invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, just nine days after the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed. Against all Hitler’s expectations, England declared war on Germany two days later. Then France followed: the Second World War had begun.

On 17th September 1939, the Russians joined in to occupy their part of Poland; within weeks, Poland was defeated.

German bombers over Poland

Slide 21 - Tekstslide

Slide 22 - Video

Blitzkrieg in the West

Hitler decided to force England and France into a peace before trying to conquer the Soviet Union as well. Therefore he had to conquer Western Europe first. Hitler was successful in a short period of time due to a new type of warfare, the so-called Blitzkrieg (‘lightning war’). This type of warfare relied on mobility and powerful, surprise attacks. Tanks and armoured trucks, supported by aircrafts, were used to break through enemy defence lines. Opponents were unable to respond to German pace, surprise attacks and deep penetrations. Hitler even ordered big cities to be bombed to force his opponents to surrender. Like most other countries, France’s strategy was defensive and relied on the Maginot Line: a ‘supertrench’ to defend its border. As a result, France was unable to attack Hitler.

The Maginot Line today: a monument, museum and tourist attraction.

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

Slide 24 - Tekstslide

By May 1940, Hitler had occupied Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. Hitler was now able to concentrate completely on France. Unlike the First World War, the French were unable to resist the German Blitzkrieg. By June 1940, France asked for a truce. Most of its territory was then occupied by Germany. Only a small area in the south, Vichy France, remained independent but cooperating with Germany.

After the French capitulation Hitler visited Paris. Here he poses in front of the Eifel Tower.
Left: Albert Speer, Hitler's architect. Note the film cameraman (bottom right), filming for the propaganda newsreel.
Victory parade: German troops march along the Arc the Triomph in Paris.

Slide 25 - Tekstslide

Britain takes a stand

In May 1940, Winston Churchill succeeded Chamberlain as Prime Minister. Churchill had opposed appeasement from the start and refused every offer of peace from the Germans. To prepare for war, conscription had been introduced in 1939.
In Britain, many people, especially children and women, were evacuated to the countryside, because bombing of cities was anticipated. Gas masks were distributed and at night there was total blackout: windows had to be covered so no light came from houses to prevent enemy aircraft locating cities or industrial centres to bomb.
Hitler wanted to invade Britain, but knew that the British navy was strong. This is why he wanted to force Britain to surrender by bombing its cities; to do this, he needed to destroy the British Royal Air Force (RAF), so German bombers could operate unopposed. In the summer of 1940, the air war called the Battle of Britain started. 

Londoners sheltering on a station on the underground railway during ‘the Blitz’. London was bombed on 76 consecutive nights between July 1940 and May 1941.

Slide 26 - Tekstslide

The Battle of Britain

At first the German Luftwaffe dominated: hundreds of RAF planes were shot down and it was hard for the British to train enough new pilots to replace those killed in air fights. But the RAF held out and Britain survived. British aircraft then bombed Germany until the end of the war.

modern painting of British spitfires.
The British airforce was known as the RAF (Royal Air Force) while the German airforce is known as the "Luftwaffe".
London was hit hard by German bombs during what the British call: "The Blitz"
RAF pilots posing for the camera before going on a mission
The Germans used special typewriters called enigma machines to send code messages. They did not know however, that the British were able to decipher their codes. Because of this, British cities could sometimes be evacuated in time if the Germans planned to bomb them.

Slide 27 - Tekstslide

watch trailer
Films about this subject

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Slide 29 - Tekstslide