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  • Douglas MacArthur
    in the history of the academy At 50 he was made chief of staff of the Army by President Herbert Hoover He became the youngest full general in American history For the next five years he tried with little success to get the Army mechanized He was then assigned to organize the defense of the Philippines In 1937 he retired from the service but continued his work in the Philippines President Manuel Quezon gave him the rank of field marshal In July 1941 MacArthur was recalled to active service as commander of the United States forces in the Far East That December the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor They launched another attack on the Philippines but MacArthur stood firm Under his command 12 000 American and 35 000 Filipino troops put up fierce resistance Besieged on the Bataan peninsula they beat back a vastly superior Japanese invasion force The stand made by MacArthur s men delayed the Japanese timetable of conquest and gave the United States time to assess the situation Meanwhile the island continent of Australia was threatened with invasion As the last major base in the Pacific for the Allied forces Australia s defenses had to be bolstered On Feb 22 1942 President Franklin D Roosevelt sent a secret message to MacArthur commanding him to break through the Japanese lines and go to Australia There he was to take command of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific MacArthur transferred his Philippine command to Gen Jonathan M Wainwright On the night of March 11 MacArthur his wife and son and members of his staff ran the Japanese blockade in four torpedo boats The Philippines fell to Japan a few months later but MacArthur s promise to the Filipinos I shall return gave them courage through more than three years of

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/MacArthur.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • The Battle of Midway
    Americans were ready three heavy aircraft carriers of the U S Pacific Fleet were mustered These ships were stationed 350 mi northeast of Midway and awaited the westward advance of Yamamoto s armada Whereas the Japanese had no land based air support the Americans from Midway and from Hawaii could commit about 115 land based planes The battle began on June 3 1942 when U S bombers from Midway Island struck ineffectually at the Japanese carrier strike force about 220 mi southwest of the U S fleet Early the next morning Japanese planes from the strike force attacked and bombed Midway heavily while the Japanese carriers again escaped damage from U S land based planes But as the morning progressed the Japanese carriers were soon overwhelmed by the logistics of almost simultaneously sending a second wave of bombers to finish off the Midway runways zigzagging to avoid the bombs of attacking U S aircraft and trying to launch more planes to sink the now sighted U S naval forces A wave of U S torpedo bombers was almost completely destroyed during their attack on the Japanese carriers at 9 20 Am but at around 10 30 Am 36 carrier launched

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/battle_of_midway.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Normandy, D-Day
    of landing craft came into view through the haze The vessels were met by a barrage of shells mortar bombs and machine gun fire Two of the first six craft on one beach were sunk while others ran aground on an offshore sandbank forcing the men to wade through water up to their shoulders Many soldiers were shot and many drowned Small groups of wet desperate men huddled behind the cover of the sea wall On some sectors other small units did manage to get off the beach but all pretense of cohesion had been abandoned As successive waves of men and equipment poured into the bullet and shell ridden atmosphere of Omaha beach it was clogged by vehicles that were unable to move So bad were conditions that at 0915 hours General Bradley seriously considered abandoning the landing and rerouting the remaining men through a British beach It was sheer courage and the basic survival instincts on the part of the individuals and small groups of men saved the day Colonel Tayler the commander of the US 16 th Infantry Regiment is reported to have said Tow kinds of men are staying on this beach the dead and those who are going to die now let s get the hell out of here By early afternoon more tanks had been landed on to the beach but the exits were still only open to men on foot who had to pick their way through the extensive minefields in single file By nightfall the US 1 st Infantry Division had gained a tenuous hold on the road that ran inland behind the beach and vehicles were starting to move through the exits The fact that the Big Red One the nickname for the US 1 st Infantry Division was not defeated demonstrates the bravery of American troops in Normandy and indeed the Allied troops throughout the entire operation Immediately following their landing on Omaha beach a team of US Rangers soldiers specially trained for close range fighting attacked the heavy coastal battery at the Pointe de Hoc Situated on top of high cliffs and splitting the area between Omaha and Utah beaches the big German guns at the Pointe were well positioned to fire at both beaches The Rangers had to scale the cliffs while the Germans threw grenades and fired at them from above Those who made it to the top engaged in bitter hand to hand fighting around the strongpoint only to discover the guns had been moved from the bunkers to a spot further inland Constantly counter attacked the 130 men managed to hold the position through the night Gold Beach Gold Beach was the most westerly beach assigned to the British assault force extended between the coastal villages of Asnelles and La Riviere It was the responsibility of the 50 th Northumbrian Division and the 8 th Armored Brigade Attached to them was 47 Royal Marine Commando whose job was to seize Arromanches as a base for

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/normandy.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • German Invasion of the U
    its people on both sides of the front Paradoxically Hitler did not lose and perhaps gained stature among his troops He had again demonstrated his talent for overcoming what appeared to be impossible odds He had told his men to stand and fight and they had His will and the soldiers spirit had met the test better the generals were forced to admit than military science could have done For the German Army the most tragic consequences lay in the future when Hitler tried to make the system of rigid defense work against better equipped better trained and better led Soviet forces German Summer Offensive of 1942 By the spring of 1942 Hitler had assumed direct and complete control of operations on the eastern front He used the chief of the Army General Staff General Halder as his personal chief of staff During the winter he had reduced the discretionary authority of the army group and army commanders From his headquarters at Rastenburg now Ketrzyn in East Prussia he issued orders to the front by telephone and teletype Meanwhile Stalin aided by members of the Politburo attached to the major commands kept a similarly tight rein on the Soviet generals In a directive issued on April 5 Hitler outlined his plans for the summer The German armies would regain the initiative along the entire eastern front but aside from possibly taking Leningrad to link their forces with the Finns would launch a full scale offensive only in the south toward the Don River Stalingrad now Volgograd and the Caucasus oilfields As preliminaries to the offensive Army Group South was to complete the conquest of the Crimea where the Russians still held Sevastopol and had acquired a large beachhead on the Kerch Peninsula during the winter and eliminate a 60 mile deep bridgehead around Izyum on the Donets River below Kharkov also a legacy of the winter fighting The advance into the Caucasus when it had first become a subject for concrete German planning in October 1941 had been considered an expedition to be completed in a few weeks In April 1942 however Hitler saw it as a decisive stroke Not only would the Soviet oil producing regions be cut off but presumably by the time that had been accomplished an even more important objective would have been attained namely as Hitler stated in the directive the final destruction of the Soviet Union s remaining human defensive strength He assumed that the Soviet Union would sacrifice its last manpower reserves to defend the oil and losing both would be brought to its knees For Hitler and for most other members of the German High Command the war in the Soviet Union had become increasingly a game of numbers The Germans were waiting for the time when Soviet manpower was exhausted As long as the Russians continued to expend men at the rate they had during the previous summer fall and winter it seemed not to matter much where the German Army took the offensive The Caucasus operation however appeared to present an opportunity to attain four objectives simultaneously Before it ended the human arithmetic could be expected to turn irreversibly against the USSR If Stalin chose not to draw the proper conclusion and remained in the war the Soviets would be doubly handicapped by the loss of oil and so could be conquered at leisure Germany on the other hand would solve its greatest economic problem the lack of adequate oil resources and would also be in a position to carry the war into the Middle East The operation was to be carried out in stages In the first phase successive enveloping thrusts beginning in the north on the Kursk Voronezh line would smash the Russian southern flank and carry the German front to the Don River Then the attack would proceed to Stalingrad and across the Kerch Strait to the Taman Peninsula and strike into the flank of the Soviet Caucasus defenses After the time and direction of the attack could no longer be concealed Army Group South would be divided into Army Groups A and B Army Group B commanded by Bock whose retirement had lasted only about a month would open the offensive on the north Later Army Group A under Field Marshal Wilhelm List would attack along the line of the lower Don and into the Caucasus As of April 30 German casualties in the campaign totaled 1 167 835 For a time during the winter battlefront strengths had been low in some sectors but as spring wore on men returning from hospitals and replacements refilled the units In the regroupment for the summer offensive Army Group B took command of the Second Fourth Panzer and Sixth armies the first two being transferred from Army Group Center Army Group A was assigned the First Panzer Eleventh and Seventeenth armies For the first time the German allies Italy Hungary and Romania took the field in earnest each providing an army All three of these armies were deficient in equipment and training and the Romanians and Hungarians would rather have fought each other than the Russians The allied armies were expected mainly to lend substance to Hitler s claim that he was conducting a selfless crusade against bolshevism and occasionally to provide cover on the German flanks Encouraged by the past winter s successes the Soviet High Command also planned to take the initiative when good weather returned It intended to keep the Germans off balance by means of local attacks at Leningrad Demyansk Orel Kharkov in the Donets bend and in the Crimea and so to lay the groundwork for another general offensive In April Marshal Timoshenko s Southwest Front began preparing the Kharkov operation which embodied two enveloping thrusts one across the Donets north of Kharkov and the other from the Izyum bridgehead south of the city After encircling and destroying the Germans around Kharkov his troops were to strike southwestward to Dnepropetrovsk On May 12 the Southwest Front attacked While the thrust north of Kharkov gained some ground initially it was quickly stopped The attack from the Izyum bridgehead went well the first day and then rapidly lost momentum on the second Timoshenko apparently realized that he had encountered an overwhelming buildup of German strength With the support of his member of the Military Council political commissar Nikita S Khrushchev he appealed to Stalin for permission to stop the offensive Stalin refused On May 17 a strong German armored force which had been assembled and was ready before the Southwest Front entered the trap struck into the Izyum bridgehead from the south Two days later Stalin allowed Timoshenko to turn his units around and try to extricate them but by then it was too late On May 25 the ring closed and in a short time the Germans eliminated the pocket taking approximately 240 000 prisoners The planned Soviet summer offensive disappeared in the Kharkov debacle and the Soviet government accelerated its diplomatic and propaganda campaigns for a second front in western Europe The effect of the battle would have been greater if the Germans had been able to begin their own offensive immediately but they were not ready The Eleventh Army still had a mission to complete in the Crimea which required another month Sevastopol was finally taken by the Germans on July 1 after an eight month siege Meanwhile at dawn on June 28 the Second and Fourth Panzer armies opened the German summer offensive They quickly pushed their way through the inner flanks of the Bryansk and Southwest fronts and advanced eastward toward Voronezh reaching the outskirts of the city four days later and taking it on July 6 The Fourth Panzer Army then turned southeastward along the Don to meet the Sixth Army which had moved eastward from Kharkov on June 30 The German armies again held the upper hand but the first two thrusts to Voronezh and east of Kharkov which had been planned as great encirclements on the 1941 pattern brought in less than 100 000 prisoners Disappointed Hitler on July 13 replaced Bock with Field Marshal Maximilian von Weichs as commanding general of Army Group B The Russians had abandoned the rigid defensive tactics which cost them so many men in 1941 They were still far from having mastered the mobile defense the Bryansk and Southwest fronts were badly mangled in the retreat but they did get the bulk of their forces across the Don In mid July the Soviet High Command organized the second phase of its defense The headquarters of the Voronezh Front took over most of the Southwest Front sector on the Don and Timoshenko assumed command of the newly created Stalingrad Front which was composed principally of three fresh armies two of them established on a line south of Kletskaya across the inside of the Don bend The South Front opposite Army Group A was ordered to wheel back pivoting on Rostov to bring its front parallel with the lower Don Hitler had originally intended to execute a third encirclement inside the Don bend which was to clear the entire line of the Don before the offensive was carried toward Stalingrad and into the Caucasus On July 13 he changed his mind and ordered Army Group A to which he attached the Fourth Panzer Army to turn southward cross the lower Don and force the Russians back into a pocket around Rostov In moving to the south the Fourth Panzer Army passed forward of the line thrown up by the Stalingrad Front leaving the Sixth Army to meet the two fresh Soviet armies alone Rostov fell on July 23 without producing the expected large numbers of prisoners On the same day Hitler issued a directive setting forth new objectives He transferred a panzer corps from the Fourth Panzer Army to the Sixth Army and ordered the latter to clear the Don bend cross the narrows between the Don and the Volga and take Stalingrad He also instructed Army Group A to fan out south of Rostov clear the Black Sea coast and capture the oilfields at Maikop and Grozny At the same time the army group would have to yield the headquarters all of the heavy artillery and about half of the divisions of the Eleventh Army which were being shifted to the north to take Leningrad and so prepare the way for a joint German Finnish thrust to Belomorsk to cut the Murmansk Railroad As he had at the same stage of the 1941 offensive Hitler was dispersing the German effort Army Group A was on the threshold of the Caucasus but the distances were tremendous 200 miles to Maikop and nearly 400 miles to Grozny To reach Baku and Tiflis the mountains had to be crossed On July 29 the army group cut the last Soviet rail line into the Caucasus Two days later Hitler issued another directive The Russians he reasoned could do nothing further to defend the Caucasus but they could be forced to expend their last reserves defending Stalingrad and their lifeline the Volga River He ordered the Fourth Panzer Army to make a 180 degrees turn and advance on the city from the south On the same day two new Soviet armies joined the Stalingrad defense forces The German successes continued in August but without bringing any major objective closer to attainment East of Leningrad Army Group North withstood a Soviet attempt to break the siege but as a consequence had to abandon its own plan to take the city Army Group A seized Maikop but found the oilfield completely destroyed A mountain company planted the swastika flag on Mount Elbrus the highest mountain in the Caucasus but Soviet troops continued to hold all the passes Two armored corps headed toward Grozny but were slowed down and finally stopped for several weeks by gasoline shortages the trucks making the long trip from Rostov were burning nearly as much gasoline as they could carry The Sixth and Fourth Panzer armies closed in on Stalingrad from the west and south but had to spread their forces thinly to cover their flanks and so lost their momentum At the end of the month the eastern branch of German Army intelligence concluded that the Soviet Union had lost less territory and fewer men than it had anticipated on the basis of the 1941 experience and would therefore be able to conduct another strong winter offensive In September it reached the dismaying conclusion that Germany far from winning the game of numbers was perilously close to losing it The total German and allied strength on the eastern front excluding Finland was 3 138 000 men The Soviet Union had 4 255 000 men either on the front or as readily available reserves Moreover the Soviet pool of draftable manpower was about three times greater than that of Germany Hitler now apparently realized that victory was slipping away from him and began looking for scapegoats On September 9 in a minor dispute over tactics he dismissed Field Marshal List as commanding general of Army Group A and he also told Halder that he intended to relieve him as chief of the Army General Staff For a time he also considered removing his most trusted military adviser General Jodl In one of the most unusual arrangements of the war Hitler for two and one half months took personal command of Army Group A which he then ran from his forward headquarters near Vinnitsa in the western Ukraine 700 miles behind the army group front On September 24 Gen later Col Gen Kurt Zeitzler replaced Halder In August to cover the lengthening front Army Group B had placed the Hungarian Second and Italian Eighth armies along the Don below Voronezh By mid September the Sixth Army had pushed the Russians into a bridgehead at Stalingrad 9 miles long and no more than 3 to 4 miles deep but there for the next two months the Soviet Sixty second Army under Gen later Marshal Vasili I Chuikov forced the Germans into a battle of attrition on a scale not seen since World War I In early October to gain troops for the fighting in Stalingrad the Sixth Army turned its flank on the Don over to the Romanian Third Army On October 14 Hitler issued an order terminating the summer operations except at Stalingrad and at several points in the Caucasus Second Soviet Winter Offensive November 1942 March 1943 While Army Groups A and B marched across southern European Russia to the edge of Asia the Soviet Union raised equipped and trained new armies in preparation for the coming winter During the summer the Soviet Army carried through a reorganization that did not as Soviet historians have since claimed place it at the pinnacle of military science but did give it the ability to operate effectively against weakened and overextended German forces Beginning in 1941 the Soviet staffs aided by the military academies and other special groups had closely studied German tactics and operating methods They had learned much and had not been purely imitative scholars The defensive battles of the summer of 1942 already showed a great increase in flexibility and imagination Armor had been released from its role of infantry support and tank armies were being created At the higher levels commanders had emerged Zhukov was the best example who had not only mastered the German tactics but had adapted them to their own forces capabilities and limitations The fall of 1942 also marked the culmination of a successful effort to establish a partisan movement behind the German front Attempts in 1941 to incite partisan activity had produced only a mediocre response but in the winter when the whole northern half of the German front crumbled the Soviet High Command was able to send recruiters into occupied territory and virtually draft a partisan movement During the spring and summer the partisan detachments were drawn together into brigades and brought under tight control from the Soviet side of the front By fall the movement was nearing its approximate maximum strength of 200 000 men nine tenths of them operating behind Army Groups Center and North In August General Zhukov and Gen later Marshal Aleksandr M Vasilevski had assumed direction of the coordination of Stalingrad s defense as representatives of the high command The last of the strategic commands the Southwest Forces had been disbanded in the spring of 1942 thereafter when conditions required broader direction than the fronts could give temporary higher headquarters were established under representatives of the high command Most frequently it was Zhukov who performed this function In the first week of October he perfected a plan for a counterattack at Stalingrad A massive buildup during the rest of the month and the first two weeks of November raised Soviet strength around the city to 12 armies including a tank army under three front headquarters After waiting for freezing weather to create suitable conditions for overland tank movements and the Allied landings in North Africa to occupy the Germans in the west the Russians opened their offensive at Stalingrad on November 19 The Fifth Tank Army attacked the Romanian Third Army north of the city and demolished its front in a few hours The next day another force struck south of Stalingrad achieving an even more spectacular success against a Romanian corps on the Fourth Panzer Army front On November 22 the Soviet spearheads met at Kalach on the Don River and the Sixth Army and approximately half of the German and Romanian troops of the Fourth Panzer Army 250 000 to 300 000 men in all were encircled Two days before Hitler had created a new headquarters Army Group Don under Field Marshal Erich von Manstein which he entrusted with the mission of rescuing the Sixth Army Adhering to his fanatical resistance doctrine of the previous winter he refused the request of Gen later Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus commander of the Sixth Army to evacuate Stalingrad and break out to the west On December 19 the Fourth Panzer Army under Army Group Don advanced to within 35 miles of the Stalingrad pocket but Hitler again refused to permit the now badly weakened Sixth Army to break out of the encirclement In the meantime after smashing the Italian Eighth Army on the Don on December 16 the Russians had extended their offensive west of Stalingrad They were clearly intending to move via Millerovo to Rostov and cut off Army Groups Don and A Army Group A which Hitler had placed under Col Gen later Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist on November 22 was still in the Caucasus its left flank 350 miles from Rostov On December 28 Manstein was forced to order the Fourth Panzer Army to withdraw south of Stalingrad Army Group Don was fighting for its own existence and that of Army Group A Early on the morning of Jan 14 1943 the Russians moved up the Don for the third time this time to strike the Hungarian Second Army The Hungarians collapsed even more quickly than the Italians and Romanians had opening a 200 mile 320 km gap in the German front between Voronezh and Voroshilovgrad In another scythelike sweep the Russians turned southward to the Donets threatening to envelop the German remnants of Army Group B and Army Group Don which was still endeavoring to hold open Army Group A s lifeline to the west at Rostov On January 25 the Russians struck northward once more to hit the German Second Army which was already withdrawing from Voronezh and in three days they encircled two of its three corps Hitler who for a month had vacillated and discussed counterattacks to relieve Stalingrad finally had to draw some conclusions On January 27 he transferred the First Panzer Army to Army Group Don Since this army was all that could still be removed through Rostov the rest of Army Group A had to begin withdrawing into a large beachhead on the Taman Peninsula This maneuver immobilized 400 000 men at a time when the entire southern flank of the eastern front was being shattered On January 31 Paulus refusing to take the hint implicit in his promotion to the rank of field marshal the day before no German field marshal had even been made prisoner surrendered the troops that he still controlled in Stalingrad A pocket around a tractor works in the northern suburbs of the city held out until February 2 On February 6 unwilling to risk another encirclement Hitler gave Manstein permission to withdraw Army Group Don to the line of the Mius and Donets rivers from which Army Group A had moved forward in July 1942 In nine days Army Group Don executed the retreat to the Mius Meanwhile the First Panzer Army moved to the army group s left flank on the Donets But the Soviet offensive was still moving forward at full speed The right flank of Army Group B was forced back to Kharkov which it lost on February 14 16 A 100 mile gap opened between the flanks of Army Groups B and Don through which Soviet units struck southward and westward across the Donets Six Soviet tank corps forming the Popov Group named for its commander Col Gen Markian M Popov moved forward to sever Army Group Don s communications lines On February 13 it cut the Dnepropetrovsk Stalino railroad and by February 19 it had reached the Sinelnikovo railroad junction 20 miles east southeast of Dnepropetrovsk and had begun to turn southward toward Zaporozhe On February 12 Hitler had removed the headquarters of Army Group B and divided its front between Army Groups Center and Don simultaneously redesignating the latter Army Group South At the same time he ordered 7 divisions transferred from France and Belgium to Army Group South A week later he ordered Army Group A to begin evacuating troops by air from the Taman Peninsula to reinforce Army Group South 100 000 troops were transferred by the end of the first week in March On February 18 without waiting for the arrival of the divisions from the west or the troops from Army Group A Manstein initiated a series of maneuvers that were to produce the last German victory of the war He ordered the headquarters of the Fourth Panzer Army to move to Dnepropetrovsk at about the center of the gap between the First Panzer Army and the southern flank of the former Army Group B There with at first 4 divisions he began creating a new Fourth Panzer Army In eight days after February 20 the Fourth and First Panzer armies joined their flanks trapping the Popov Group between them and the Fourth Panzer Army closed up on its left to the front west of Kharkov At the end of the month warm weather set in and the question then was whether to continue the advance toward Kharkov at the risk of its being halted by the approaching thaw On March 7 the weather turned cold and Manstein decided to proceed The Fourth Panzer Army moved rapidly to the north and despite knee deep mud on all the roads reached Kharkov on March 11 Seven days later after mopping up the Soviet divisions trapped west of Kharkov the army carried its advance 30 miles farther north and took Belgorod Except for several bridgeheads in which Soviet troops held on doggedly Army Group South had regained the line of the Donets to Belgorod Immediately to the north the Russians held a large salient west of Kursk Operation Citadel For the past three years the coming of spring had heralded new German triumphs The year 1943 was different The victory on the Donets that ended the long winter retreat had restored German morale at the front but not even Hitler deluded himself into believing that the next summer would see the swastika flag replanted on Mount Elbrus or German outposts again looking eastward into Asia from the high bank of the Volga In the late spring there was an ominous quiet on the eastern front Since June 1941 German attention had centered in the east In the early months of 1943 quite suddenly that too changed Dangers which might have been overcome easily had the Russian campaign developed according to schedule threatened on all sides In January 1943 United States Flying Fortresses staged the first daylight bombing attack on Germany Thereafter bomb damage particularly in the Ruhr mounted alarmingly A second Stalingrad had been in preparation in North Africa since November 1942 When the British Eighth Army broke through the Mareth Line late in March 1943 it became inevitable That the British and Americans would follow their victory with an invasion of Italy or the Balkans was certain and the day of the major test the landing on the Channel coast might come within the year On the other hand the failure of Hitler s fanatical resistance doctrine during the winter had produced a substantial bonus The long retreat from the Don Stalingrad and the Caucasus as well as a voluntary retrograde movement which Army Group Center executed in February and March to shorten its front had created surplus strength on the eastern front approximately equivalent to two armies The disastrous winter had also forced Hitler to recall to active duty his tank expert Guderian and to appoint him inspector general for armor By spring Guderian working with Albert Speer the minister for armament and munitions had the new Tiger and Panther tanks coming from production lines by the hundreds If another offensive in the style of 1941 or 1942 was no longer possible neither was Germany helpless The most profitable strategy seemed to be to consolidate the so called Fortress Europe and to exploit the Clausewitzian axiom that defense was the stronger form of warfare Some of the generals proposed building an East Wall a permanently fortified line across the USSR but Hitler disapproved He did however instruct Army Group North to plan an operation to take Leningrad and stabilize the northern flank by joining forces with the Finns He also began reinforcing the Army of Norway to enable it to occupy Sweden if that country attempted to support Allied operations directed against northern Europe Nevertheless after nearly three months hesitation he decided that he needed one more big victory in Russia a victory as he put it that will shine like a beacon around the world On June 12 he announced that he intended to execute Operation Citadel Citadel a two pronged attack to eliminate the Soviet salient west of Kursk had been planned in March to be executed as soon as the ground dried and while the Russians were still off balance from their defeat at Kharkov Bad weather and various mishaps as well as Hitler s own uncertainty had caused repeated postponements By the time he decided to proceed the German forces for Citadel were at peak strength and so as one of the generals pointed out were the Russians Operation Citadel began on July 5 The Ninth Army on the north and the Fourth Panzer Army on the south struck toward Kursk across the base of the Soviet salient For three days the attack went well but on July 9 the Ninth Army was stopped before a heavily fortified ridgeline and stayed there four days On July 12 the Russians confident that they had taken the measure of the Ninth Army s offensive launched a strong attack of their own against the front north of Orel behind the Ninth Army The Fourth Panzer Army was then just beginning to gather momentum On the next day July 13 Hitler called the army group commanders to his headquarters and informed them that he had decided to halt Citadel The situation north of Orel was precarious and he was concerned about a Soviet threat to the Donets Basin but his greatest source of worry was Sicily where American and British troops had landed on July 10 The Italians he said were not fighting and it was necessary to create new armies to defend Italy and the Balkans Troops would have to be removed from the eastern front Partly to gain troops for Italy and partly because the offensive opened by the West Front under Gen later Marshal Vasili D Sokolovski and the Bryansk Front under General Popov had already gone too far Hitler was forced to yield his own salient around Orel ending the German threat to Kursk GERMAN WITHDRAWALS 1943 1944 Soviet Summer and Fall Offensives August November 1943 As the Russian campaign entered its third year the world watched expectantly for the answers to two questions Could the Germans recover from the effects of the winter battles for a second time and make another bid for victory If not could the Russians take the initiative without their old ally General Winter Citadel answered the first question and the Soviet Army s subsequent performance erased the last lingering doubts inherent in the second After two years of war the Soviet Army was about to prove that it had completed its apprenticeship It had developed tactics suited to large scale offensive operations and had adapted them to its own limitations which consisted primarily of a lack of initiative in the ranks and a frequent inability on the part of commanders and staffs below army levels to execute tactical maneuvers requiring precision or sensitivity to changing situations The German blitzkrieg technique had delivered the decisive stroke with precision speed and economy of effort The Russians on the other hand favored a broader lateral scope and more conservative execution They adopted the breakthrough and penetration as basic tactical maneuvers but they preferred to achieve the decisive effect by a series of relatively shallow strokes along the breadth of the front rather than by one or several deep thrusts Although the Russians claimed that Stalingrad had supplanted Cannae as the classic encirclement battle they did not employ the double envelopment as frequently as the Germans had More often they were content with a single thrust or with parallel thrusts the objective being to force their opponent back on a broad front rather than to achieve a deep penetration along a single line of advance On the morning of Aug 3 1943 in the sector from which the Fourth Panzer Army had launched the southern arm of the attack toward Kursk the massed artillery of the Soviet Sixth Guards Army laid down a barrage of several hours duration on the German 167th Infantry Division When the artillery lifted its fire 200 tanks roared into the German line followed by waves of close packed infantry Before nightfall the German division was reduced to a few dazed survivors Pouring through the gap the Russians reached and took Belgorod on August 5 In another three days they had opened a 35 mile wide gap on the right flank of the Fourth Panzer Army giving them a clear road to the Dnieper River 100 miles to the southwest On the same day Manstein the commanding general of Army Group South informed Hitler that he lacked enough divisions to close the northern flank or to hold the long line on the Donets below Kharkov He would either have to yield the Donets Basin or receive 20 divisions from somewhere else As he had on other occasions when confronted with unpleasant choices Hitler avoided the decision by moving in an altogether different direction He suddenly revived the idea of an East Wall which he had rejected earlier On August 12 he ordered construction started on a fortified line that was to begin in the south at Melitopol run due north to the Dnieper River near Zaporozhe follow the Dnieper to Kiev and the Desna to Chernigov thence take a line almost due north to the southern tip of Lake Pskov and running along the west shores of Lakes Peipus and Pskov anchor on the Gulf of Finland at Narva While it appeared that in ordering the East Wall Hitler had accepted a general retreat on the eastern front as inevitable subsequent decisions revealed that he actually intended to establish a barrier behind which the armies could not retreat and since no work of any kind had as yet been done on the so called East Wall give himself an excuse for holding out farther east In the last two weeks of August the Soviet High Command expanded the offensive to the south and north Kharkov fell on August 23 To the southeast the Russians broke through on the Donets south of Izyum and on the Mius River line east of Snigirevka In the last week of the month they penetrated the Army Group Center front in three places On August 31 Hitler gave the Sixth Army permission to retire from the Mius to the Kalmius River if necessary Three days later he took a second positive step ordering Army Group A to begin evacuating the useless beachhead which it still held on the Taman Peninsula The Sixth Army could not halt on the Kalmius During the morning of September 6 a motorized mechanized corps and 9 Soviet rifle divisions broke through on the boundary between the Sixth and First Panzer armies The next day a tank corps slipped through the gap and leaving the infantry behind the two armored corps moved westward By September 8 they were approaching Pavlograd 30 miles east of the Dnieper and 100 miles behind the Sixth Army front On that day Hitler allowed the Sixth and First Panzer armies to start withdrawing to the line on which he had intended to build the East Wall from Melitopol to the Dnieper north of Zaporozhe By September 14 the northern flank of Army Group South was disintegrating The Fourth Panzer Army was split into three parts and the Russians had a clear road open to Kiev To the north Army Group Center fared no better The Second Army s front on the Desna which was to have been part of the East Wall was riddled with Soviet bridgeheads and on September 14 the Russians began an offensive directed at Smolensk The next day Hitler gave the two army groups permission to retreat to the line of the Dnieper Sozh and Pronya rivers In most places the retreat was already under way and in the last week of the month it developed into a race with the Russians for possession of the river lines At the end of the month as the last German troops crossed the rivers the Russians had five bridgeheads on the Dnieper between the confluence of the Pripyat River and Dnepropetrovsk In two and one half months Army Groups South and Center had been forced back for an average of 150 miles on a front 650 miles long The Germans had lost the most valuable territory they had taken in the Soviet Union In an effort at least to deny the Russians the fruits of those economically rich areas Hitler had instituted a scorched earth policy but in the end even that satisfaction was denied him Nearly all of the factories power plants mines and railroads could be destroyed but the Germans lacked the personnel to transport or destroy more than a fraction of the agricultural and economic goods The Dnieper affords the strongest natural defense line in western European Russia especially when the battle is moving from east to west Fortified and adequately manned the Dnieper line could have constituted an ideal defensive position but Army Group South was so badly battered that the river provided at most a degree of natural protection and a tenuous handhold Of the East Wall nothing was in existence much of the proposed line had not even been surveyed On reaching the Dnieper the Soviet Army had attained the original objectives of its summer offensive

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  • Pealr Harbor, A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
    and Italy bound by treaty to Japan declared war on the United States Japan s intention in attacking Pearl Harbor was to disable the American fleet in order to wage a war of conquest across the eastern Pacific without opposition It nearly worked but two things went wrong First American aircraft carriers were not in port when the attack came and carriers would prove pivotal in fighting the Pacific War Second the Japanese did not bomb the vast oil supply adjacent to the harbor thus leaving a huge fuel supply for the ships and planes that did survive Soon after the attack U S President Franklin D Roosevelt appointed a commission of inquiry to determine whether negligence had contributed to the success of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor The commission s report found the naval and army commanders of the Hawaiian area Rear Admiral Husband E Kimmel and Major General Walter C Short guilty of derelictions of duty and errors of judgment the two men were subsequently retired Other later inquiries however differed in their conclusions The Congress of the United States in an effort to dispose of the controversy decided on a full public investigation after the war The bipartisan congressional committee opened its investigation in November 1945 Testimony from many people reviewed all known information about the attack on Pearl Harbor The committee reported its findings in July 1946 It placed the primary blame on General Short and Admiral Kimmel who however were declared guilty only of errors of judgment and not of derelictions of duty The committee recommended the unification of the U S armed forces which occurred the following year Today the Pearl Harbor Memorial is located over the remains of the Arizona out in the harbor Dec 7 1941 This surprise aerial attack on the U S naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island Hawaii by the Japanese precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II The attack climaxed a decade of worsening relations between the United States and an increasingly expansionist and militaristic Japan Japan s invasion of China in 1937 its subsequent alliance with the Axis powers Germany and Italy in 1940 and its occupation of French Indochina in July 1941 prompted the United States to respond that same month by freezing Japanese assets in the United States and declaring an embargo on petroleum shipments and other vital war materials to Japan By late 1941 the United States had severed practically all commercial and financial relations with Japan Though Japan continued to negotiate with the United States up to the day of the Pearl Harbor attack the government of Prime Minister Tojo Hideki decided on war Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku the commander in chief of Japan s Combined Fleet had planned the attack against the U S Pacific Fleet with great care Once the U S fleet was out of action the way for the unhindered Japanese conquest of all of Southeast Asia the Indonesian Archipelago and the South

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/1941.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • ON NATIONAL SOCIALISM AND WORLD RELATIONS
    no theory about it can be laid down But the meaning and purpose of human organisations and of all human activities can be measured by asking what value they are for the maintenance of the race or people which is the one existing element that must abide The people the race is the primary thing Party State Army the national economic structure Justice etc all these are only secondary and accidental They are only the means to the end and the end is the preservation of this nation These public institutions are right and useful according to the measure in which their energies are directed towards this task If they are incapable of fulfilling it then their existence is harmful and they must either be reformed or removed and replaced by something better It is absolutely necessary that this principle should be practically recognised for that is the only way in which men can be saved from becoming the victims of a devitalized set of dogmas in a matter where dogmas are entirely out of place and from drawing dogmatic conclusions from the consideration of ways and means when the final purpose itself is the only valid dogma All of you gentlemen and members of the German Reichstag understand the meaning of what I have just said But on this occasion I am speaking to the whole German people and therefore I should like to bring forward a few examples which show how important these principles were proved to be when they were put into practice There are many people for whom this is the only way of explaining why we talk of a Nationalist Socialist Revolution though no blood was shed and no property wrecked For a long time our ideas of law and justice had been developing in a way that led to a state of general confusion This was partly due to the fact that we adopted ideas which were foreign to our national character and also partly because the German mind itself did not have any clear notion of what public justice meant This confusion was evidenced more strikingly by the lack of inner clarity as to the function of law and justice There are two extreme poles which are characteristic of this mental lack 1 The opinion that the law as such is its own justification and hence cannot be made the subject of any critical analysis as to its utility either in regard to its general principles or its relation to particular problems According to this notion the law would remain even though the world should disappear 2 The opinion that it is the main function of law to protect and safeguard the life and property of the individual Between these two extreme poles the idea of defending the larger interests of the community was introduced very timidly and under the cloak of an appeal to reasons of state In contradistinction to all this the National Socialist Revolution has laid down a definite and unambiguous principle on which the whole system of legislation jurisprudence and administration of justice must be founded It is the task of justice to collaborate in supporting and protecting the people as a whole against those individuals who because they lack a social conscience try to shirk the obligations to which all the members of the community are subject or directly act against the interests of the community itself In the new German legal system which will be in force from now onwards the nation is placed above persons and property The principle expressed in that brief statement and everything it implies has led to the greatest reform ever introduced in our German legal structure The first decisive action taken in accordance with the fundamental principle I have spoken of was the setting up not only of one legislator but also of one executive The second measure is not yet ready but will be announced to the nation within a few weeks In the German penal code which has been drawn up with this wide general perspective in view German justice will be placed for the first time on a basis which ensures that for all time to come its duty will be to serve in maintaining the German race Although the chaos which we found before us in the various branches of public life was very great indeed the state of dissolution into which German economic life had fallen was still greater And this was the feature of the German collapse that impressed itself most strikingly on the minds of the broad masses of the people The conditions that then actually existed have still remained in their memories and in the memory of the German people as a whole As outstanding examples of this catastrophe we found these two phenomena 1 More than six millions of unemployed 2 An agricultural population that was manifestly doomed to dissolution The area covered by the German agricultural farms that were on the point of being sold up by forced auction was as large as the whole of Thuringia more than 8 000 square miles In the natural course of events the falling off in production on the one side and the decrease in purchasing power on the other must necessarily bring about the disruption and annihilation of the great mass of the middle class also How seriously this side of the German distress was then felt might subsequently be measured by the fact that I had to ask for full owners for the period of four years especially for the purpose of reducing unemployment and putting a stop to the dissolution of the German agricultural population I may further state that in 1933 the National Socialists did not interfere with any activities which were being carried out by others and which at the same time promised success The Party was called to take over the government of the country at a moment when the possibilities of redeeming the situation in any other way had been exhausted and particularly when repeated attempts to overcome the economic crisis had failed After four years from that date I now face the German people and you gentlemen and members of the Reichstag to give an account of what has been accomplished On this occasion I do not think you will withhold your sanction from what the National Socialist Government has done and you will agree that I have fulfilled the promises I made four years ago It was not an easy undertaking I am not giving away any secrets when I tell you that at that time the so called economic experts were convinced that the economic crisis could not be overcome In the face of this staggering situation which as I have said appeared hopeless to the minds of the experts I still believed in the possibility of a German revival and particularly in the possibility of an economic recovery My belief was grounded on two considerations 1 I have always had sympathy for those excited people who invariably talk of the collapse of the nation whenever they find themselves confronted with a difficult situation What do they mean by a collapse The German people were already in existence before they made any definite appearance in history as it is known to us Now leaving out entirely what their pre historic experiences may have been it is certain that during the past two thousand years of history through which that portion of mankind which we call the German People has passed unspeakable miseries and catastrophes must have befallen them more than once Famines wars and pestilences have overwhelmed our people and wreaked terrible havoc among them It must give rise to unlimited faith in the vital resources of a nation when we recall the fact that only a few centuries ago our German people with a population of more than eighteen millions were reduced by the Thirty Years War to less than four millions Let us also remember that this once flourishing land was pillaged dismembered and devastated that its cities were burned down its hamlets and villages laid waste that its fields were left uncultivated and barren Some ten years afterwards our people began again to increase in number The cities were rebuilt and began to be filled with a new life The fields were ploughed once more Songs were heard along the countryside in concord with the rhythm of that work which brought new life and livelihood to the people Let us look back over the development or at least that part of it known to us through which our people have passed since those dim historic ages down to the present time We shall then recognise how puny is all the fuss that these weakling footlers make who immediately begin to talk about the collapse of the economic structure and hence of human existence the first moment a piece of printed paper loses its face value somewhere in the world Germany and the German people have mastered many a grave catastrophe Of course we must admit that the right men were always needed to formulate the necessary measures and enforce them without paying any attention to those negative persons who always think that they know more than others A bevy of parliamentarian weaklings are certainly not the kind of men to lead a nation out of the slough of distress and despair I firmly believed and was solemnly convinced that the economic catastrophe would be mastered in Germany as soon as the people could be got to believe in their own immortality as a people and as soon as they realised that the aim and purpose of all economic effort is to save and maintain the life of the nation 2 I was not an economist which means that I have never been a theorist during my whole life But unfortunately I have observed that the worst theorists are always busy in those quarters where theory has no place at all and where practical life counts for everything It goes without saying that in the economic sphere and with the passing of time experience has given rise to the employment of certain definite principles and also definite methods of work which have been proved to be productive of good results But all methods and principles are subject to the time element To make hard and fast dogmas out of practical methods would deprive the human faculties and working power of that elasticity which alone enables them to face changing demands by changing the means of meeting them accordingly and thus mastering them There were many persons among us who busied themselves with that perseverance which is characteristic of the Germans in an effort to formulate dogmas from economic methods and then raise that dogmatic system to a branch of our university curriculum under the title of national economy According to the pronouncements issued by these national economists Germany was irrevocably lost It is a characteristic of all dogmatists that they vigorously reject any new dogma In other words they criticise any new piece of knowledge that may be put forward and reject it as mere theory For the last eigtheen sic years we have been witnessing a rare spectacle Our economic dogmatists have been proved wrong in almost every branch of practical life and yet they repudiate those who have actually overcome the economic crisis as propagators of false theories and damn them accordingly You all know the story of the doctor who told a patient that he could live only for another six months Ten years afterwards the patient met the physician but the only surprise which the latter expressed at the recovery of the patient was to state that the treatment which the second doctor gave the patient was entirely wrong The German economic policy which National Socialism introduced in 1933 is based on some fundamental considerations In the relations between economics and the people the people alone is the only unchangeable element Economic activity in itself is no dogma and never can be such There is no economic theory or opinion which can claim to be considered as sacrosanct The will to place the economic system at the service of the people and capital at the service of economics is the only thing that is of decisive importance here We know that National Socialism vigorously combats the opinion which holds that the economic structure exists for the benefit of capital and that the people are to be looked upon as subject to the economic system We were therefore determined from the very beginning to exterminate the false notion that the economic system could exist and operate entirely freely and entirely outside of any control or supervision on the part of the State Today there can no longer be such a thing as an independent economic system That is to say the economic system can no longer be left to itself exclusively And this is so not only because it is unallowable from the political point of view but also because in the purely economic sphere itself the consequences would be disastrous It is out of the question that millions of individuals should be allowed to work just as they like and merely to meet their own needs but it is just as impossible to allow the entire system of economics to function according to the notions held exclusively in economic circles and thus made to serve egotistic interests Then there is the further consideration that these economic circles are not in a position to bear the responsibility for their own failures In its modern phase of the development the economic system concentrates enormous masses of workers in certain special branches and in definite local areas New inventions or a slump in the market may destroy whole branches of industry at one blow The industrialist may close his factory gates He may even try to find a new field for his personal activities In most cases he will not be ruined so easily Moreover the industrialists who have to suffer in such contingencies are only a small number if individuals But on the other side there are hundreds of thousands of workers with their wives and children Who is to defend their interests and care for them The whole community of the people Indeed it is its duty to do so Therefore the whole community cannot be made to bear the burden of economic disasters without according it the right of influencing and controlling economic life and thus avoiding catastrophes In the years 1932 33 when the German economic system seemed definitely ruined I recognized even more clearly than ever before that the salvation of our people was not a financial problem It was exclusively a problem of how industrial labour could best be employed on the one side and on the other how our agricultural resources could be utilized This is first and foremost a problem of organization Phrases such as the freedom of the economic system for example are no help What we have to do is use all available means at hand to make production possible and open up fields of activity for our working energies If this can be successfully done by the economic leaders themselves that is to say by the industrialists then we are content But if they fail the folk community which in this case means the State is obliged to step in for the purpose of seeing that the working energies of the nation are employed in such a way that what they produce will be of use to the nation and the State will have to devise the necessary measures to assure this In this respect the State may do everything but one thing it cannot do and this was the actual state of affairs we had to face is to allow 12 000 million working hours to be lost year after year For the folk community does not exist on the fictitious value of money but on the results of productive labor which is what gives money its value This production and not a bank or gold reserve is the first cover for a currency And if I increase production I increase the real income of my fellow citizens And if I reduce production I reduce that income no matter what wages are paid out Members of the Reichstag Within the past four years we have increased German production to an extraordinary degree in all branches And the whole German nation benefits by this increase For it there is a demand today for very many million tons of coal more than formerly this is not for the purpose of superheating the houses of a few millionaires to a couple of thousand degrees but rather because millions of our German countrymen are thus enabled to purchase more coal for themselves with their increased income By giving employment to millions of German workers who had hitherto been idle the National Socialist Revolution has brought about such a gigantic increase in German production That rise in our total national income guarantees the market value of the goods produced And only in such cases where we could not increase this production owing to certain conditions that were beyond our control there have been shortages from time to time but these bear no proportion whatsoever to the general success of the National Socialist struggle The four year plan is the most striking manifestation of the systematic way in which our economic life is being conducted In particular this plan will provide permanent employment in the internal circulation of our economic life for those masses of German labour that are now being released from the armament industry One sign of the gigantic economic development which has taken place is that in many industries today it is quite difficult to find sufficient skilled workmen I am thankful that this is so because it will help to place the importance of the worker as a man and as a working force in its proper light and also because in doing so though there are other motives also we have a chance of making the activities of the party and its unions better understood and thus securing stronger and more willing support Seeing that we insist on the national importance of the function which our economic system fulfils it naturally follows that the former disunion between employer and employee can no longer exist But the new State will not and does not wish to assume the role of entrepreneur It will regulate the working strength of the nation only in so far as such regulation is necessary for the common good And it will supervise conditions and methods of working only in so far as this is in the interests of all those engaged in work Under no circumstances will the State attempt to bureaucratize economic life The economic effects that follow from every real and practical initiative benefit the people as a whole At the present moment an inventor or an economic organiser is of inestimable value to the folk community For the future the first task of National Socialist education will be to make clear to all our fellow citizens how their reciprocal worth must be appreciated We must point out to the one side how there can be no substitute for the German worker and we must teach the German worker how indispensable are the inventor and the genuine business leader It is quite clear that under the aegis of such an outlook on economic life strikes and lock outs can no longer be tolerated The National Socialists State repudiates the right of economic coercion Above all contracting parties stand the economic interests of the nation which are the interests of the people The practical results of this economic policy of ours are already known to you Throughout the whole nation there is a tremendous urge towards productive activity Enormous works are arising everywhere for the expansion of industry and traffic While in other countries strikes or lock outs shatter the stability of national production our millions of productive workers obey the highest of all laws that we have in this world namely the law of common sense Within these four years which have passed we have succeeded in bringing about the economic redemption of our people but we realise at the same time that the results of this economic work in town and city must be safeguarded The first danger that threatens us here is in the sphere of cultural creativeness And that danger comes from those who are themselves active in that sphere For our fellow countrymen who are engaged in artistic and cultural productivity today or are acting as custodians and trustees of cultural works have not the necessary intuitive faculties to value and appreciate the ideal products of human genius in this sphere The National Socialist Movement has laid down the directive lines along which the State must conduct the education of the people This education does not begin at a certain year and end at another The development of the human being makes it necessary to take the child from the control of that small cell of social life which is the family and entrust his further training to the community itself The National Socialist Revolution has clearly outlined the duties which this social education must fulfil and above all it has made this education independent of the question of age In other words the education of the individual can never end Therefore it is the duty of the folk community to see that this education and higher training must always be along lines that help the community to fulfil its own task which is the maintenance of the race and nation For that reason we must insist that all organs of education which may be useful for the instruction and training of the people have to fulfil their duty towards the community Such organs or organisations are Education of the Youth Young Peoples Organisation Hitler Youth Labour Front Party and Army all these are institutions for the education and higher training of our people The book press and the newspaper press lectures and art the theatre and the cinema they are all organs of popular education What the National Socialist Revolution has accomplished in this sphere is astounding Think only of the following The whole body of our German education including the press the theatre the cinema and literature is being controlled and shaped today by men and women of our own race Some time ago one often heard it said that if Jewry were expelled from these institutions they would collapse or become deserted And now what has happened In all those branches cultural and artistic activities are flourishing Our films are better than ever before and our theatrical productions today in our leading theatres stand supreme and alone in comparison with the rest of the world Our press has become a powerful instrument to help our people in bringing their innate faculties to self expression and assertion and by so doing it strengthens the nation German science is active and is producing results which will one day bear testimony to the creative and constructive will of this epoch It is very remarkable how the German people have become immune from those destructive tendencies under which another world is suffering Many of our organisations which were not understood at all a few years ago are now accepted as a matter of course the Young people the Hitler Youth BDM Womanhood Labour Service SA SS NSKK but above all the Labour Front in its magnificent departments they are all building stones in that proud edifice which we call The Third Reich This consolidation of the internal life of our German nation also establishes a united front towards the outside world I believe that it is here that the National Socialist Revival has produced the most marvellous results Four years ago when I was entrusted with the Chancellorship and therewith the leadership of the nation I took upon myself the bitter duty of restoring the honour of a nation which for fifteen years had been forced to live as a pariah among the other nations of the world The internal order which we created among the German people offered the conditions necessary to reorganise the army and also made it possible for me to throw off those shackles which we felt to be the deepest disgrace ever branded on a people Today I shall bring this whole matter to a close by making the following few declarations First The restoration of Germany s equality of rights was an event that concerned Germany alone It was not the occasion of taking anything from anybody or causing any suffering to anybody Second I now state here that in accordance with the restoration of equality of rights I shall divest the German Railways and the Reichsbank of the forms under which they have hitherto functioned and shall place them absolutely under the sovereign control of the Government of the German Reich Third I hereby declare that the section of the Versailles Treaty which deprived our nation of the rights that it shared on an equal footing with other nations and degraded it to the level of an inferior people found its natural liquidation in virtue of the restoration of equality of status Fourth Above all I solemnly withdraw the German signature from that declaration which was extracted under duress from a weak government acting against its better judgement sic namely the declaration that Germany was responsible for the war Members of the German Reichstag The revindication of the honour of the German people which was expressed outwardly in the restoration of universal military service the creation of a new air force the reconstruction of a German navy and the reoccupation of the Rhineland by our troops was the boldest task that I ever had to face and the most difficult to accomplish Today I must humbly thank Providence whose grace has enabled me who was once an unknown soldier in the War to bring to a successful issue the struggle for the restoration of our honour and rights as a nation I regret to say that it was not possible to carry through all the necessary measures by way of negotiation But at the same time it must be remembered that the honour of a people cannot be bartered away it can only be taken away And if it cannot be bartered away it cannot be restored through barter it must simply be taken back That I carried out the measures which were necessary for this purpose without consulting our former enemies in each case and even without informing them was due to my conviction that the way in which I chose to act would make it easier for the other side to accept our decisions for they would have had to accept them in any case I should like to add here that at all this has now been accomplished the so called eriod of surprises has come to an end As a State which is now on an equal juridical footing with all the other States Germany is more conscious than ever that she has a European task before here which is to collaborate loyally in getting rid of those problems that are the cause of anxiety to ourselves and also to the other nations If I may state my views on those general questions that are of actual importance today tho most effective way of doing so will be to refer to the statements that were recently made by Mr Eden in the British House of Commons For those statements also imply the essentials of what must be said regarding Germany s relations with France At this point I should like to express my sincere thanks for the opportunity which has been given me by the outspoken and noteworthy declarations made by the British Foreign Secretary I think I have read those statements carefully and have understood them correctly Of course I do not want to get lost among the details and so I should like to single out the leading points in Mr Eden s speech so as to clarify or answer them from my side In doing this I shall first try to correct what seems to me to be a most regrettable error This error lay in assuming that somehow or other Germany wishes to isolate herself and to allow the events which happen in the rest of the world to pass by without participating in them or that she does not wish to take any account whatsoever of the general necessities of the time What are the grounds for the assumption that Germany wants to pursue a policy of isolation If this assumption in regard to German isolation be a conclusion which must necessarily be drawn from what are presumed to be Germany s intentions then let me say the following I do not believe at all that a State could ever mean to declare itself intentionally disinterested in the political events taking place throughout the rest of the world especially when this world is so small as Europe is at the present day I think that if a State should really find it necessary to take refuge in such an attitude then the most than sic can be said is that it has been forced to do so under the coercion of a foreign will imposed upon it Now in the first place I should like to assure Mr Eden that we Germans do not in the least want to be isolated and that we do not at all feel ourselves isolated During recent years Germany has entered into quite a number of political agreements with other States She has resumed former agreements and improved them And I may say that she has established close friendly relations with a number of States Our relations with most of the European States are normal from our standpoint and we are on terms of close friendship with quite a number Among all those diplomatic connections I would give a special place in the foreground to those excellent relations which we have with those States that were liberated from sufferings similar to those we had to endure and have consequently arrived at similar decisions Through a number of treaties which we have made we have relieved many strained relations and thereby made a substantial contribution towards an improvement in European conditions I need remind you only of our agreement with Poland which has turned out advantageous for both countries our agreement with Austria and the excellent and close relations which we have established with Italy Further I may refer to our friendly relations with Hungary Yugoslavia Bulgaria Greece Portugal Spain etc Finally I may mention our cordial relations with a whole series of nations outside of Europe The agreement which Germany has made with Japan for combatting the movement directed by the Comintern is a vital proof of how little the German Government thinks of isolating itself and how little we feel ourselves actually isolated Furthermore I have on several ocassions sic declared that it is our wish and hope to arrive at good cordial relations with all our neighbours Germany has steadily given its assurance and I solemnly repeat this assurance here that between ourselves and France for example there are no grounds for quarrel that are humanly thinkable Furthermore the German Government has assured Belgium and Holland that it is ready to recognise and guarantee these States as neutral regions in perpetuity In view of the declarations which we have made in the past and in view of the existing state of affairs I cannot quite clearly see why Germany should consider herself isolated or why we should pursue a policy of isolation From the economic standpoint there are no grounds for asserting that Germany is withdrawing from international cooperation The contrary is the truth On looking over the speeches which several statesmen have made within the last few months I find that they might easily give rise to the impression that the whole world is waiting to shower economic favours on Germany but that we who are represented as obstinately clinging to a policy of isolation do not wish to partake of those favours To place this whole matter in its true light I should like to call attention to the following bare facts 1 For many years the German people have been trying to make better commercial treaties with their neighbours and thus to bring about a more active exchange of goods And these efforts have not been in vain for as a matter of fact German foreign trade has increased since 1932 both in volume and in value This is the clearest refutation of the assertion that Germany is pursuing a policy of economic isolation 2 I do not believe however that there can be a lasting economic collaboration among the nations on any other basis than that of a mutual exchange of commercial wares and industrial products Credit manipulation may perhaps have a temporary effect but in the long run economic international relations will be decisively influenced by the volume of mutual exchange of goods And here the state of affairs at the present moment is not such that the outside world would be able to place huge orders with us or offer prospects of an increase in the exchange of goods even if we were to fulfil the most extraordinary conditions that they might lay down Matters should not be made more complicated than they already are If international commerce be sick that is not due to Germany s refusal to assist it but is due to the fact that disorder has invaded the industrial life of the various nations and has influenced their relations with one another But Germany cannot be blamed for these two things and especially not National Socialist Germany When we assumed power the world economic crisis was worse than it is today I fear however that I must interpret Mr Eden s words as meaning that in the carrying out of the four years plan he sees an element of refusal on Germany s side to participate in international collaboration Therefore I wish it to be clearly understood that our decision to carry out this plan is unalterable The reasons which led to that decision were inexorable And since then I have not been able to discover anything whatsoever that might induce us to discontinue the four years plan I shall take only one practical example In carrying out the four years plan our synthetic production of rubber and petrol will necessitate an annual increase in our consumption of coal by a margin of something between 20 and 30 million tons This means that an extra quota of thousands of coal miners are assured of employment for the rest of their active lives I must really take the liberty of asking this question Supposing we abondon sic the German four years plan then what statesman can guarantee me some economic equivalent or other outside of the Reich for these thirty million tons of coal I want bread and work for my people And certainly I do not wish to have it through the operation of credit guarantees but through solid and permanent labour the products of which I can either exchange for foreign goods or for domestic goods in our internal commercial circulation If by some manipulation or other Germany were to throw these 20 or 30 million tons of coal annually on the international market for the future the result would be that the coal exports of other countries would have to decrease I do not know if a British statesman for example could face such a

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/Hitler%20Speech.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • Photos from World War Two
    Photos from World War Two Also view Photos of Pearl Harbor

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/World%20War%20Two%20Photos.htm (2016-02-11)
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  • 3rd Infantry Division
    took over the advance The Americans continued to attack the German positions and each objective was taken only after fierce battles The 3rd Division faced it greatest opposition when it attacked San Fratello The German forces the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division was deeply entrenched along a steep ridgeline and could not be driven out On August 3 the 3rd Division began a series of attacks against San Fratello but none were successful General Patton ordered an amphibious landing to flank the German position On August 8 the 2nd Battalion 30th Infantry reinforced with two batteries of artillery and a platoon of tanks landed at Saint Agata 3 miles behind San Fratello The landing caught the Germans by surprise and they were completely cut off from escape Unfortunately the bulk of the German forces had already withdrawn the previous night but the 3rd Division captured over 1 000 POWs Gen Patton desperately wanted to trap and destroy the 29th Panzer Division and on August 11th he sent the 30th Infantry on another Amphibious end around The second landing worked and the 29th was completely surrounded The 30th Infantry was too light a force however to keep them bottled up and by the time the rest of the 3rd Division lined up the 29th had escaped again The 7th Army continued its advance on Messina and encountered dozens of blown bridges and heavy minefields The Army Engineers worked feverishly to clear the way but the Americans could not catch the evacuating German forces On August 17 the 7th Infantry of the 3rd Division entered Messina just 2 hours after the last German transport ships had left for Italy Sicily was secured in large part due to the 3 amphibious landings of the 3rd Division The 3rd Division was given a brief rest and re supply while they prepared for the next invasion Sicily was always meant to be a stepping stone to Italy so it was no surprise when the 3rd Division received its orders They were going to take Naples The Invasion of Italy On September 9 the Allies launched the invasion of Italy by sending their forces ashore at Salerno After securing the initial beachheads the remaining forces were brought ashore The 3rd Division disembarked from their transports in the port and began their advance on Naples with the 82nd Airborne and the British 7th Armored Divisions Naples fell to the Allies in early October When they entered the city they found it almost completely destroyed by the retreating Germans Almost every building had been destroyed and ships in the harbor had been sunk The Engineers went to work and within 2 weeks the port was reopened and supplied began flowing in The 3rd Division was transferred to VI Corps and pulled out for their next their fifth Amphibious landing of the war Anzio On the morning of January 22 1944 the US 5th Army assaulted the beaches at Anzio The landings were so successful the invading Americans had captured

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  •