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Baker
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

March 25, 1941



The collapse of the Habsburg and Ottoman empires at the end of World War I led to the creation of a new country, a hesitant amalgamation of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs unified as one nation, Yugoslavia.

On December 11, 1940, despite an earlier declaration of neutrality, Yugoslavia signed a "Friendship Treaty" for fear of an invasion like that suffered by France. Yugoslavia was able to remain firm in its position in resisting German pressures through February 14, 1941, when Hitler was unsuccessful in persuading Prime Minister Dragisa Cvetkovic to formally join the Axis. As it was essential to the Allies that Yugoslavia co-operate with Anglo-Greek forces, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill contacted Prince Pavle, the Yugoslav Regent, the next day to commend the prince and encourage him to maintain his position of resistance against Germany.


Prince Paul & Hitler
In another attempt to have Yugoslavia join the Tripartite Pact, Hitler had Prince Paul visit him in Berchtesgaden, Germany, on March 4, 1941. Hitler offered the prince lands - Salonika and part of Macedonia - in exchange for allowing German troops to cross into Greece. Prince Paul was able to resist and maintain his position during this visit. Following the ultimatum he received from Hitler on March 19, however, he began to sway. The ultimatum stated that Yugoslavia was to join the Tripartite Pact within the next five days, or face invasion. Feeling the heat of the Nazis, especially after King Boris of Bulgaria caved to Germany's demands, Prince Paul reacted quickly to this ultimatum.

The day after he was presented with his options, Prince Paul approached the Yugoslav Cabinet and asked for their co-operation in allowing the Germans transit into Greece. Some ministers were so appalled at this suggestion that four of them resigned out of protest. This gesture, however, was not enough to prevent Cvetkovic from finally succumbing to German pressure and signing the Tripartite Pact on March 25.


Royal Yugoslav Armed Forces
This surrender of sorts set off an internal political eruption which had been building up for a long time: the Cabinet in Belgrade was toppled within two days of the signing of the pact, and Prince Paul was thrown from his throne by a combined front of peasants, the church, unions and the military. The Prince's replacement was his 17 year-old son, King Peter, whose prime minister was Air Force General Dusan Simovic. Under King Peter's rule the Kingdom of Yugoslavia immediately renounced the Tripartite Pact, which in turn caused Hitler to respond on March 27 that the political situation of the Balkans was greatly affected by the removal of Prince Paul from his throne. He decided that Yugoslavia must now be considered an enemy and conquered as quickly as possible, leading to the invasion of Yugoslavia and the Balkan Campaign.

On April 5, King Peter concluded a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union after breaking with his country's "Axis-friendly" policy. The following day, the Luftwaffe began the bombing of Belgrade, which continued for three days and three nights. German troops were not far behind, and Yugoslavia capitulated on April 17, 1941.

Written by: Sara Durcik



_____________________________________________________________

March 15, 1939


After informing Czech president Emil Hacha that the country would be bombed by the Luftwaffe if German troops were not allowed passage, Hitler invaded the provinces of Moravia and Bohemia and, by the end of the day, took Prague as well.


Germans move into Prague
Following the Anschluss in March 1938, Hitler's attention was focused on Czechoslovakia. It was his ambition to unite the German peoples and to annex Czechoslovakia to his Reich just as he had with Austria a year earlier. In an effort to uphold the peace in the region, on Sept 30, 1938, the British, French and Italian prime ministers signed what is today referred to as the Munich Pact. This agreement allowed Hitler to annex the northern and western parts of Czechoslovakia known as Sudetenland, but not other parts of the country. An international committee was to later decide on the fate of other disputed territories.

The Czechoslovak government was not invited to participate in the discussion but was merely informed of the decision. Although seemingly unfair to the Czechs, the redrawing of post-World War I political boundaries was not without precedence, and there were unhappy ethnic groups within the fledgling country. Realizing that resisting the Nazis without support from its allies was futile, Czechoslovakia had no choice but to accept the demands and capitulate. Five days after the signing of the pact, Prime Minister Edvard Benes resigned from his post.


Heads of State at the Munich Conference in 1938
The Sudetenland was inhabited by approximately 3 million ethnic Germans at the time. Apart from its significant German population, natural resources were what made this part of Czechoslovakia so attractive to Hitler. Around 70 percent of the country's coal, iron and steel were produced here as well as more than 70 percent of its electrical power. Obtaining these resources meant not only controlling the Sudetenland but having power over the whole country.

A direct result of the Munich Pact was the first Vienna Award in November


Hitler and British Prime Minister shaking hands at the Munich Conference
1938. This award, encouraged by Germany and Italy, was a non-violent way to enforce the territorial claims of Hungary. Hungary had wished to reclaim territories it had lost in the Trianon Peace Treaty of 1920 and Hitler promised them repossession in order to further weaken Czechoslovakia. Parts of southern Slovakia and southern Carpathian Rus were therefore awarded to Hungary. Poland also profited from the agreement, as certain border regions of northern Slovakia were annexed to them.

On March 14, 1938 Slovakia was declared independent and consequently the rump state that was left was invaded by the Germans with minimal resistance on March 15. The invasion occurred in direct violation of the Munich Pact and Bohemia Moravia was declared a protectorate. This meant the collapse of the independent state of Czechoslovakia and paved the way for Hitler to commence his war against Poland.

German occupation ended with the surrender of Germany at the end of World War II. As The Vienna Award was declared null and void by the Treaty of Paris in 1947, territories regained for this short time by Hungary were returned to Czechoslovakia.


_____________________________________________________________


March 13, 1938

Following a shady series of events, Hitler crossed the border into Austria on March 13, 1938, as Germany usurped the country into its empire - an event which became known as the Anschluss.

Although it shared a common language with Germany, Austria had a history distinct from its northern neighbor, or neighbors as it would be, as Deutschland was only united in its modern form in the second half of the 19th Century. Before that, German lands consisted of numerous, small principalities and the occasionally larger territories of Bavaria and Prussia. Nevertheless, since the end of the Holy Roman Empire in the early 19th Century there grew the concept of a unification of all German peoples - an Anschluss.


Anschluss Map
Unlike the disparate German principalities, Austria had run a Central European empire for centuries under its Habsburg rulers, ceding partial control to its Hungarian counterparts in 1867, but retaining its influence until the end of World War I. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had allied with Germany in World War I, and, like Germany, it lost a significant amount of its pre-war territory when the empire was dismantled. However, unlike Hungary, for example, which willingly joined the Axis powers in an effort to regain lost lands, Austria's motivations were not as clear.

In 1934, German Nazis joined Austrian counterparts in an attempt to overthrow
the Austrian regime. Although the coup failed, the Nazis had killed Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss. In desperation, the new chancellor, Kurt Schuschnigg, banned all political parties except for his. In early 1938, Hitler strong-armed Schuschnigg into releasing Nazi prisoners and into promising to appoint Arthur Seyss-Inquartto minister of the interior. When Schuschnigg reneged on the appointment and called for a plebiscite on Hitler's other demands, the Nazis created false reports of social unrest and vast support for unification.

Hitler's army crossed the border into Austria and soon assumed control of the country. Hitler was greeted enthusiastically wherever he went in Austria, suggesting that he had been right all along about Austrian support for the Anschluss. No significant objections were raised by Italy, which had, to that point, stood between the two nations, or by France and England.


Anschluss in Tirol
Now that Sudeten and Austrian Germans were formally part of the 3rd Reich, Hitler's mystique grew and few could doubt that the other pockets of German population in Eastern Europe would soon join the Fatherland.

Written by: Steven Graning
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

February 19, 1942



President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the internment of Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese descent.

Based on fears that Japanese spies were operating along the Pacific coast, certain areas were designated as "exclusion zones," from which anyone could be relocated to civilian assembly centers (usually race tracks), relocation centers (the common internment camps), and detention camps (for special, namely dangerous, cases).

More than 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry - many second or even third generation Americans -were interned in camps surrounded by barbed wire and policed by guard dogs and machine guns. In a tone of irony, Star Trek's Sulu, George Takei, relates how they, as children, were made to pledge allegiance every morning at school. Takei also recalls how soldiers knocked on his door when he was four years old to escort his family onto a truck headed to an internment camp, and how a spotlight followed him during a nighttime trip to the outhouse.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, in addition to at least one high-profile case where a spy sold secrets to the Japanese, and cases where Japanese returned to Japan to fight in the war against the US, the government decided that the duty to protect the rights of these citizens and legal immigrants was not greater than the war effort. Racism, however, also clearly played a part in the selection of the Japanese, as other "enemy" ethnic groups such as German- and Italian-Americans were not subjected to any such internment.

Canada also interned people of Japanese descent after Pearl Harbor, confiscating and selling their personal property in the process. These people did not receive compensation for the loss of their fishing boats, homes and possessions until 2007.

Although undeniably a dark period of North American history, it is important to retain a distinction between the US internment camps and the concentration camps of the Nazis. The Nazis had a formulated policy of working their inmates to death in the course of slave labor, holding roll calls in the morning for several hours after just a few hours of sleep and little food. German concentration camps separated families and forbid any form of learning, housing inmates in overcrowded, unheated barracks. In these concentration camps, conditions were, in general, highly unsanitary. None of these conditions were prevalent in the US and Canadian internment camps, which is likely of small consolation to those who lost their property, rights, and dignity.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Week in History

April 4, 1945

April 4, 1945 marks the liberation of Hungary by the Red Army. Or does it?

During the Communist regimes of 1950-1989, the answer was a loud and clear yes. Declared a national holiday by the force of law, April 4 was celebrated with party gatherings, military parades and remembrance of the fallen Soviet heroes. With the advent of democracy, however, two fundamental questions have arisen in connection with the holiday: one concerning the date itself, the other whether liberation is really what the Soviets accomplished.



Military parade at the former Stalin statue in Budapest on April 4, 1954

Following the battle for the capital city of Budapest between December 26, 1944 and February 11, 1945 the Soviets continued to push the German forces onward. The last German soldier was widely believed to have left Hungary on April 4, 1945 from the town of Nemesmedves. In reality, though, this date and location was actually the one set forth by Stalin in the military plans to rid Hungary of the Nazis. The Red Army ran into significant pockets of resistance in the Transdanubian region and was only able to reach the western border on April 13, with the last German soldier leaving from Pinkamindszent, some 6 miles from the originally planned town. Nevertheless, the day designated by Stalin in the military plans was chosen as the time to celebrate this station of the Great Patriotic War.



Monument in Nemesmedves commemorating the last Germans troops leaving Hungary

Hungarian society is torn to the present day about considering April 4 the liberation of the country, as the extreme-right wing dictatorship of the Arrow Cross was replaced immediately by another totalitarian regime: Communism. Many therefore believe that "invasion" of the Red Army, as opposed to liberation by them, would be a more accurate term. We have to weigh in that WW2 and the Holocaust was indeed brought to an end at this time, saving the lives of many Jews and Gypsies who would still have been facing deportation. But many Jews returning from German concentration camps to Hungary, as well as a chunk of the general population, including POWs, were promptly taken away for "menial tasks." Although originally disguised as a round-up of people to clean up ruins left by the war, the work soon turned into the mass deportation of over 700,000 Hungarians to Soviet Gulags. Those remaining had to put up with the infamous behavior of the occupying Soviet Army, who stripped their lands and property, and intimidated the population.



The Soviet Heroic Memorial in downtown Budapest honors the fallen soldiers of the Red Army

Neither a full liberation, nor an invasion, an alternative expression has arisen in the Hungarian language to describe what happened on April 4, 1945: megszabadulás ("riddance"). True liberation didn't come until June 30, 1991, when the last Soviet soldier left Hungary and open elections could finally be held.
Written by: Nikoletta Koves
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baker wrote:
This Week in History

April 4, 1945

April 4, 1945 marks the liberation of Hungary by the Red Army. Or does it?

During the Communist regimes of 1950-1989, the answer was a loud and clear yes. Declared a national holiday by the force of law, April 4 was celebrated with party gatherings, military parades and remembrance of the fallen Soviet heroes. With the advent of democracy, however, two fundamental questions have arisen in connection with the holiday: one concerning the date itself, the other whether liberation is really what the Soviets accomplished.



Military parade at the former Stalin statue in Budapest on April 4, 1954

Following the battle for the capital city of Budapest between December 26, 1944 and February 11, 1945 the Soviets continued to push the German forces onward. The last German soldier was widely believed to have left Hungary on April 4, 1945 from the town of Nemesmedves. In reality, though, this date and location was actually the one set forth by Stalin in the military plans to rid Hungary of the Nazis. The Red Army ran into significant pockets of resistance in the Transdanubian region and was only able to reach the western border on April 13, with the last German soldier leaving from Pinkamindszent, some 6 miles from the originally planned town. Nevertheless, the day designated by Stalin in the military plans was chosen as the time to celebrate this station of the Great Patriotic War.



Monument in Nemesmedves commemorating the last Germans troops leaving Hungary

Hungarian society is torn to the present day about considering April 4 the liberation of the country, as the extreme-right wing dictatorship of the Arrow Cross was replaced immediately by another totalitarian regime: Communism. Many therefore believe that "invasion" of the Red Army, as opposed to liberation by them, would be a more accurate term. We have to weigh in that WW2 and the Holocaust was indeed brought to an end at this time, saving the lives of many Jews and Gypsies who would still have been facing deportation. But many Jews returning from German concentration camps to Hungary, as well as a chunk of the general population, including POWs, were promptly taken away for "menial tasks." Although originally disguised as a round-up of people to clean up ruins left by the war, the work soon turned into the mass deportation of over 700,000 Hungarians to Soviet Gulags. Those remaining had to put up with the infamous behavior of the occupying Soviet Army, who stripped their lands and property, and intimidated the population.



The Soviet Heroic Memorial in downtown Budapest honors the fallen soldiers of the Red Army

Neither a full liberation, nor an invasion, an alternative expression has arisen in the Hungarian language to describe what happened on April 4, 1945: megszabadulás ("riddance"). True liberation didn't come until June 30, 1991, when the last Soviet soldier left Hungary and open elections could finally be held.
Written by: Nikoletta Koves




The April 4th holiday was forced upon the people during the Bolshevik rule and nobody liked it.
Except the few turncoat, opportunist Hungarians who chose to side with communism to step up higher in their social standings and wealth.
During this time the March 15th holiday was strictly prohibited, the date when the Hungarian revolution and war of regaining independence started in 1848.
However nobody could really stop people wearing the tricolor cockade.

The article also doesn't say that the Royal Hungarian Army (including my grandfather) continued to fight until the end of the war, and the only thing the Russians liberated was anything they could get their hands on.
Unlike other Axis allies, who buckled in a few days as soon as the Russians showed up, the fighting lasted in Hungary from August 1944 till mid-April 1945. Essentially turning the entire country into ruins.


Nothing has changed since 1989 (the fact the Soviet memorial is still standing shows it), the same people rule the country as before, hiding in a 'democratic' skin, selling, in every sense of the word, away the country. The only real glimmer of hope is Jobbik right now, hopefully bringing to justice those responsible for the past 60, 70 years of suffering and suppression of Magyar nationalism.

Looking forward to the Soviet memorial being blown sky high, and erecting more memorials for the defenders of Budapest.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PanzerGrenadier wrote:

Looking forward to the Soviet memorial being blown sky high, and erecting more memorials for the defenders of Budapest.


Amen!
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On May 5, 1945, Denmark was liberated by the Allied forces commanded by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, putting an end to an almost 5-year-long German occupation of the country. Out of all the countries in Europe, although it did have its share of difficulties and tragedies, Denmark was spared many of the hardships that other European states had to face during the war.


Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and the Allied Forces in Copenhagen
The occupation of Denmark commenced on the morning of April 9, 1940, code-named Operation Weserübung, when German forces crossed the border and entered the neutral country. The Germans met only minimal resistance, the Danish army being very small with obsolete weaponry. This German move was in direct violation of the non-agression treaty signed between the two countries in 1939.

The official reason for invading the country was to protect it from a possible British invasion. In reality, occupying Denmark was a strategic move that would aid in the planned invasion of Norway. Hitler was quite lenient towards the Danes as he hoped it could become an example of a model protectorate and thus an image of what a Nazi-controlled Europe would be like. It is because of this leniency on Hitler's part that the government of Denmark was able to continue to function more or less the same way as it had before the invasion. Moreover, as Nazi ideology considered Danes to be so-called Nordic Aryans, they could be trusted to handle their own domestic affairs.



Street riot in Copenhagen under German occupation
Denmark's good relations with Germany continued up until 1943 at which point the country refused further cooperation with its invaders which resulted in the fall of the government. Most of the country was liberated from the Germans on May 5, 1945 by British forces, whereas the eastern island of Bornholm was taken by Soviet forces that stayed there for a one-year-period.
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baker wrote:

The official reason for invading the country was to protect it from a possible British invasion. In reality, occupying Denmark was a strategic move that would aid in the planned invasion of Norway.


Had Germany stayed out of Denmark and Norway and allowed Britain to 'occupy' them, would the same tumult be heard?

What's the source of these entries?
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baker's posts warrant a thread of their own, hence the split.
Don't be shy, start the topics man Very Happy


Carry on!
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get all this from a newsletter... I am just passing it on as it relates to us
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PanzerGrenadier wrote:
Baker's posts warrant a thread of their own, hence the split.
Don't be shy, start the topics man Very Happy


Carry on!


Almost 7 years and he finally uses his MOD power!
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

May 10, 1941




Rudolf Hess' legendary flight to Scotland in order to offer an unofficial peace agreement to the British government took place on May 10, 1941. Rudolf Hess was, above all, Adolf Hitler's most loyal follower, but also Professor Karl Haushofer's disciple. Haushofer was the famous geopolitician who had a major influence on the concept of Lebensraum, the increasing territorial lust for the German nation.

After hearing Adolf Hitler speak in a small beer hall, Hess joined the Nazi Party on July 1, 1920, thus becoming its 16th member. He described his first meeting with the yet-to-be Fürher as "a vision" and then developed a blind fascination at the level of near-religious devotion, towards Adolf Hitler. He quickly became his personal secretary, typing Mein Kampf at Landsberg prison, until becoming his deputy in 1933, when Hitler got elected. "Deputy" was a protocol position, and he became "number 3" in Nazi Germany by the beginning of the Second World War. In other words, Rudolf Hess was the next in the line of succession after Hitler and Goering.

However, Hess did something which took both Adolf Hitler and the Allies by surprise. As an excellent pilot resulting from his military experience of the First World War, he took a Messerchmitt Bf 110 and flew alone to Scotland in the middle of the war. As his loyalty towards the Fürher was well-known, he decided to do so without Adolf Hitler's approval. The latter even ordered him stopped, but it was already too late: Hess parachuted over Renfrewshire, Scotland on May 10.


Why did Rudolf Hess decide to go against Adolf Hitler's will? What was his real intention? Under Karl Haushofer's influence, Hess was worried about the war with the United Kingdom and wanted the country to become an ally of Nazi Germany. His real motivation was to sign a peace treaty between the two countries. Basically, this was supposed to be a common agreement acknowledging, on one hand, Germany's domination in continental Europe under the Lebensraum policy and, on the other, the United Kingdom's domination in its empire, with the underlying principle being peace between both countries. Hess' reason to land specifically in Renfrewshire, Scotland was the presence of the Duke of Hamilton, who was supposed to be against Churchill and his defensive policy towards Nazi Germany.



However, his plan immediately backfired. He was captured and retained in jail in England, while Hitler was withdrawing his status and privately ordered him to be shot if he returned to Germany. He was sent to prison for life after his Nuremberg trial. Eventually, he committed suicide at the age of 93 at Spandau Prison in West Berlin on August 17, 1987.

Rudolf Hess was mentally unstable, thus explaining his surprising decision to fly to Scotland, and his constant paranoia leading to many suicide attempts. However, many analysts have put forward plenty of conspiracy theories about his real motivations behind his flight to Scotland, answering questions such as: did Hitler know what Hess was doing? Did some representatives of English authorities also know about his intentions, and were they attempting to undermine Churchill and his resistance policy towards Germany? What was the exact position of the Duke of Hamilton towards Nazi circles? The release of British secret files in 2017 will likely provide answers and put an end to speculation.
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baker wrote:
May 10, 1941




Rudolf Hess' legendary flight to Scotland in order to offer an unofficial peace agreement to the British government took place on May 10, 1941. Rudolf Hess was, above all, Adolf Hitler's most loyal follower, but also Professor Karl Haushofer's disciple. Haushofer was the famous geopolitician who had a major influence on the concept of Lebensraum, the increasing territorial lust for the German nation.

After hearing Adolf Hitler speak in a small beer hall, Hess joined the Nazi Party on July 1, 1920, thus becoming its 16th member. He described his first meeting with the yet-to-be Fürher as "a vision" and then developed a blind fascination at the level of near-religious devotion, towards Adolf Hitler. He quickly became his personal secretary, typing Mein Kampf at Landsberg prison, until becoming his deputy in 1933, when Hitler got elected. "Deputy" was a protocol position, and he became "number 3" in Nazi Germany by the beginning of the Second World War. In other words, Rudolf Hess was the next in the line of succession after Hitler and Goering.

However, Hess did something which took both Adolf Hitler and the Allies by surprise. As an excellent pilot resulting from his military experience of the First World War, he took a Messerchmitt Bf 110 and flew alone to Scotland in the middle of the war. As his loyalty towards the Fürher was well-known, he decided to do so without Adolf Hitler's approval. The latter even ordered him stopped, but it was already too late: Hess parachuted over Renfrewshire, Scotland on May 10.


Why did Rudolf Hess decide to go against Adolf Hitler's will? What was his real intention? Under Karl Haushofer's influence, Hess was worried about the war with the United Kingdom and wanted the country to become an ally of Nazi Germany. His real motivation was to sign a peace treaty between the two countries. Basically, this was supposed to be a common agreement acknowledging, on one hand, Germany's domination in continental Europe under the Lebensraum policy and, on the other, the United Kingdom's domination in its empire, with the underlying principle being peace between both countries. Hess' reason to land specifically in Renfrewshire, Scotland was the presence of the Duke of Hamilton, who was supposed to be against Churchill and his defensive policy towards Nazi Germany.



However, his plan immediately backfired. He was captured and retained in jail in England, while Hitler was withdrawing his status and privately ordered him to be shot if he returned to Germany. He was sent to prison for life after his Nuremberg trial. Eventually, he committed suicide at the age of 93 at Spandau Prison in West Berlin on August 17, 1987.

Rudolf Hess was mentally unstable, thus explaining his surprising decision to fly to Scotland, and his constant paranoia leading to many suicide attempts. However, many analysts have put forward plenty of conspiracy theories about his real motivations behind his flight to Scotland, answering questions such as: did Hitler know what Hess was doing? Did some representatives of English authorities also know about his intentions, and were they attempting to undermine Churchill and his resistance policy towards Germany? What was the exact position of the Duke of Hamilton towards Nazi circles? The release of British secret files in 2017 will likely provide answers and put an end to speculation.


This entire entry is utter horseshit!! Seriously, where are you getting this garbage?
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boche wrote:
This entire entry is utter horseshit!! Seriously, where are you getting this garbage?




I get them in a email once a week. I was looking at taking a tour over to europe (ww2) I signed up on there email list....I get it once a week. Where they get there info from I do not know
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

May 29, 1940

On May 29, 1940, the BBC sent out a call for civilian assistance to aid the evacuation of Dunkirk, an act of desperation that would help pull off one of the great military escapes in history.

At the end of May 1940, British, French and Belgian soldiers began filing off the coast of Dunkirk onto boats headed to England. In a daring military strike, the Germany military had routed the forces of four nations at once, cornering a huge contingent of troops in a pocket centered on the town of Dunkirk in northeastern France. For reasons still debated to this day, the Germans pulled back on their military throttle, continuing their attack but only with partial commitment.


Tactical reasons were probably the primary reason the Germans halted their armor. Although the Allied lines were weak, the ground was not ideal for an armored attack. An armored assault at this stage was seen as an unnecessary risk by the generals at the front.

Another theory suggests that Goering's influence played a part in allowing the Luftwaffe to seize the stage in an attempt at greater glory. German planes would bomb both land and sea during the 2-week evacuation. Still another theory put forward contends that Hitler did not care to obliterate the Allied forces in the hopes that Britain could be talked into a peace treaty.

What was clear was that British warships were not able to tread the shallow waters of Dunkirk's beaches. The destroyers waiting to evacuate the troops would need help. Somewhere around 900 ships, many of them fishing and recreational boats, set sail from the coast of the UK, coming as far away as Scotland. These smaller boats could get closer to the beach, picking up troops that were often standing in shoulder-deep water for hours. Dutch coasters with their flat bottoms were instrumental in shuttling soldiers.

Under continuous strafing fire from the Luftwaffe and mortar fire from the Wehrmacht, the bravery shown by the civilian captains and crew is rightfully enshrined in legend as "Dunkirk spirit." An operation that Churchill hoped would collect 20,000 to 30,000 men had rescued ten times that number. Although Britains treated the returning troops and crews as heroes, Churchill was quick to caution that "wars are not won with evacuations."


Moreover, a further 220,000 Allied troops were taken out via other French ports, bringing the total evacuation to 558,000 now-experienced soldiers who would wait 4 years to return to the European continent.

Written by: Steven Graning
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Sgt. Scott Hatch (Re-enactor)
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101st Airborne
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This Week in History

June 5, 1944


June 5, 1944: the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, decides to launch the invasion in Normandy on the 6th of June.

Operation Overload, which aimed to invade the Normandy coast thus attacking German-occupied Western Europe, was supposed to take place on June 5. Some convoys prepared for the invasion were already at sea on June 4, but they had to turn back to wait as low clouds, high winds and heavy seas threatened the launch of the largest amphibious landing in world history. Indeed, despite the eagerness of Allied soldiers to fight after months or years of intense training, the military command had to rely on meteorology above all to successfully launch the operation.


The invasion fleet sailed through the night of June 5
Beginning April 1944, Eisenhower received meteorological reports every three hours. Group Captain James Stagg RAF, Eisenhower's chief meteorologist, forecast a slight improvement in the weather for June 6. The consensus was that the first landings must be at dawn when there is low tide in order to facilitate the engineering teams to work their way up the beach to the high-water mark and to clear visible obstacles. These tidal conditions would have pertained to June 5, 6 and 7, however, less ideally at this point. If the invasion could not take place at that time, the tides would only be right about June 20, but the combination of moon and tides would not be acceptable until July. Postponing the invasion until the end of June would have been drastic. It would have primarily had a negative effect on the troops' morale. Then, it would not only have given the Germans more time to improve their defenses, but would have also upset relations with the Soviets who were waiting for the American attack. More generally, postponing the invasion would have increased the risk that the Nazis would become aware of the operation.


On June 5, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower and his senior commanders had to make one of the most important decisions of world history. General Montgomery and Major General Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's chief of staff, as well as Admiral Bertram Ramsay were in favor of launching the attack the following day. Air Chief Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory was in favor of postponing it since meteorological conditions were, according to him, not appropriate for the aircraft. After some discussion, Eisenhower decided to launch Operation Overlord on June 6. Eisenhower was aware of the enormity of his decision, and he wrote an alternative speech in case the Allies would have failed in Normandy:
"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone."

Fortunately, he was never in the position to use this speech and instead, wrote another one for the success of the invasion. Eisenhower was right on the choice of the date: the Channel had one of its worst storms from June 19-22. Additionally, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, assigned to improve the Atlantic Wall, was at his wife's birthday party in Germany on June 6, because poor weather conditions convinced him that a landing could not take place during that period.
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A day without blood is like a day without sunshine.

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Dog Company 2/506th
101st Airborne
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