Kort over tyske territoriale tab

Kort over tyske territoriale tab


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  • Hvide områder angiver nationer, der forblev neutrale under første verdenskrig.
  • Røde områder, der diskuteres nedenfor, er områder, der er overgivet af Tyskland i henhold til bestemmelserne i Versailles -traktaten.

Store europæiske territoriale justeringer foretaget i 1919 omfattede følgende:

  • Distrikterne i Eupen og Malmédy havde været en del af Preussen og senere Tyskland siden afslutningen på Napoleonskrigene. De blev bevilliget til Belgien ved fredskonferencen i Paris med det formål at styrke det belgiske forsvar mod mulig fremtidig tysk aggression.
  • Saar -bassinet, et stort set tysktalende område, havde længe været anfægtet mellem Frankrig og forskellige tyske stater. Det blev stadig vigtigere i slutningen af ​​1800 -tallet, da dets enorme kulfelter hjalp med at brænde tysk industriel udvikling. Versailles -traktaten gjorde Saar til en selvstændig enhed, men Frankrig fik administrativ kontrol og fik tilladelse til at udnytte sine kulforekomster. En folkeafstemning var planlagt til 1935, da områdets ultimative troskab ville blive bestemt.
  • Dele af provinserne Alsace og Lorraine blev annekteret af Tyskland efter den fransk-preussiske krig (1871), hvilket skabte en kilde til stor lamantation i Frankrig i over 40 år. Versailles -traktaten returnerede området til Frankrig.
  • Et område kendt som Polsk korridor blev hugget ud af Vestpreussen ved bestemmelserne i Versailles-traktaten med det formål at give det nyoprettede Polen direkte adgang til havet. Området var hovedsageligt beboet af polsktalende indbyggere og indeholdt også et stort mindretal af tysktalende mennesker. Korridoren varierede fra 20 til 70 miles i bredden, men omfattede ikke byen Danzig (Gdask) ved Østersøen og flere omkringliggende samfund. Tyskere skulle få lov til at passere frit til og fra Østpreussen.
  • Danzig (det nuværende Gdask eller Gdansk, Polen) blev gjort til en fri by ved Versailles-traktaten og skulle administreres af Folkeforbundet.
  • Memel (Memelland til tyskerne) havde været et østpreussisk distrikt ved Østersøkysten, men traktatbestemmelserne fra 1919 placerede Memel under Folkeforbundets jurisdiktion, der gav Frankrig administrativ kontrol. I 1923 tvang litauiske tropper franskmændene ud, og Memel blev senere et autonomt distrikt i Litauen.

Se den generelle diskussion af Versailles -traktaten.


Hvordan Versailles -traktaten og tysk skyld førte til anden verdenskrig

Da Tyskland underskrev våbenhvilen, der sluttede fjendtlighederne i Første Verdenskrig den 11. november 1918, troede dets ledere, at de accepterede et fred uden sejr, og#x201D som skitseret af den amerikanske præsident Woodrow Wilson i hans berømte fjorten point. Men fra det øjeblik lederne for de sejrrige allierede nationer ankom til Frankrig til fredskonferencen i begyndelsen af ​​1919, begyndte efterkrigstidens virkelighed at afvige kraftigt fra Wilson ’s idealistiske vision.

Fem lange måneder senere, den 28. juni —, præcis fem år efter mordet på ærkehertug Franz Ferdinand og hans kone i Sarajevo —, ledede de allierede og associerede magter, samt repræsentanter fra Tyskland, sig i Hall of Mirrors på slottet i Versailles for at underskrive den endelige traktat. Ved at placere krigsskylden helt på Tyskland, pålægge hårde erstatningsbetalinger og skabe en stadig ustabil samling af mindre nationer i Europa, ville traktaten i sidste ende ikke løse de underliggende spørgsmål, der fik krig til at bryde ud i 1914, og hjælpe med at bane vej til endnu en massiv global konflikt 20 år senere.

Fredskonferencen i Paris: Ingen af ​​de besejrede nationer vejede ind, og selv de mindre allierede magter havde lidt at sige.
Formelle fredsforhandlinger åbnede i Paris den 18. januar 1919, årsdagen for kroning af den tyske kejser Wilhelm I ved afslutningen af ​​den fransk-preussiske krig i 1871. Første verdenskrig havde bragt smertefulde minder om den konflikt —, som endte på tysk forening og dens beslaglæggelse af provinserne Alsace og Lorraine fra Frankrig og nu havde Frankrig til hensigt at få Tyskland til at betale.

De 𠇋ig Four ” -ledere for de sejrrige allierede nationer (Woodrow Wilson i USA, David Lloyd George fra Storbritannien, Georges Clemenceau fra Frankrig og i mindre grad Vittorio Orlando i Italien) dominerede fredsforhandlingerne. Ingen af ​​de besejrede nationer blev inviteret til at veje ind, og selv de mindre allierede magter havde lidt at sige. Selvom Versailles -traktaten, der blev underskrevet med Tyskland i juni 1919, var det mest berømte resultat af Paris -fredskonferencen, havde de allierede også separate traktater med Østrig, Bulgarien, Ungarn og Tyrkiet, og den formelle fredsskabelsesproces blev ikke afsluttet, før undertegnelsen af Lausanne -traktaten i juli 1923.

Regeringsembedsmænd udarbejder vilkårene i Versailles -traktaten. (Kredit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Traktaten var lang og tilfredsstilte i sidste ende ingen nation.
Versailles -traktaten tvang Tyskland til at opgive territorium til Belgien, Tjekkoslovakiet og Polen, returnere Alsace og Lorraine til Frankrig og afstå alle sine oversøiske kolonier i Kina, Stillehavet og Afrika til de allierede nationer. Derudover måtte den drastisk reducere sine væbnede styrker og acceptere demilitarisering og allieret besættelse af regionen omkring Rhinen. Vigtigst af alt lagde traktatens artikel 231 al skyld i, at de ansporede krigen helt til Tyskland og tvang den til at betale flere milliarder i erstatning til de allierede nationer.

Over for den tilsyneladende umulige opgave at balancere mange konkurrerende prioriteter, endte traktaten som et langt og forvirrende dokument, der ikke tilfredsstilte nogen. �t er bogstaveligt talt et forsøg på at genskabe Europa, ” siger Michael Neiberg, professor i historie ved U.S. Army War College og forfatter af Versailles -traktaten: En kortfattet historie (2017). “I ’m var ikke en af ​​dem, der mener, at traktaten gjorde Anden Verdenskrig uundgåelig, men jeg tror, ​​man kan argumentere for, at det gjorde Europa til et mindre stabilt sted. ”

I Wilson's vision om efterkrigstidens verden ville alle nationer (ikke kun taberne) reducere deres væbnede styrker, bevare havets frihed og slutte sig til en international fredsbevarende organisation kaldet Folkeforbundet. Men hans allierede ledere afviste meget af hans plan som naiv og for idealistisk. Franskmændene ville især have Tyskland til at betale en høj pris for krigen, herunder tab af territorium, nedrustning og betaling af erstatninger, mens briterne så Wilson ’s plan som en trussel mod deres overherredømme i Europa.

VIDEO: Stock Market Crash fra 1929

Sort torsdag bringer de brølende tyverne til et skrigende stop, der indleder en økonomisk depression på verdensplan.

Bortset fra at påvirke Tyskland kan Versailles -traktaten have forårsaget den store depression.
Mange mennesker, selv på det tidspunkt, var enige med den britiske økonom John Maynard Keynes om, at Tyskland umuligt kunne betale så meget i erstatning uden alvorlige risici for hele den europæiske økonomi. I sin senere erindring gik den amerikanske præsident Herbert Hoover så langt som at bebrejde erstatning for at have forårsaget den store depression.

Men selvom de fleste tyskere var rasende over Versailles -traktaten, kaldte den en Diktat (dikteret fred) og fordømte de tyske repræsentanter, der underskrev den som “November -kriminelle ”, der havde stukket dem i ryggen, ser det i bakspejlet klart ud, at traktat viste sig at være langt mere mild, end dens forfattere måske havde tiltænkt. Tyskland endte med ikke at betale i nærheden af, hvad traktaten sagde, at Tyskland skulle betale, siger Neiberg og tilføjede, at næsten ingen havde forventet, at Tyskland kunne betale hele beløbet.

Og på trods af tabet af tysk område, var der masser af mennesker, der allerede i 1919 forstod, at kortet faktisk gav Tyskland nogle fordele, påpeger Neiberg. Det satte små stater på Tysklands grænser i Øst- og Centraleuropa. Det eliminerede Rusland som en direkte fjende af Tyskland, i hvert fald i 1920'erne, og det fjernede Rusland som en allieret til Frankrig. Så selvom traktaten så virkelig hård ud for nogle mennesker, åbnede den faktisk muligheder for andre. ”

Krigen skyldklausul var mere problematisk. Du skal tilbage til 1914, hvor de fleste tyskere troede, at de var gået ind i krigen, fordi Rusland havde mobiliseret sin hær, ” forklarer Neiberg. For de fleste tyskere i 1919, og ikke kun dem til højre, gav det ingen mening at bebrejde Tyskland specifikt for krigen. Især når de ikke lagde en krigskyldsklausul til Østrig-Ungarn, som du med rimelighed kunne argumentere for var de mennesker, der faktisk startede dette. ”

Det første uformelle møde i Folkeforbundet i Genève. (Kredit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Nye europæiske grænser, Folkeforbundet og Tyskland reparationer.
Samlet set omdrog traktaterne, der blev indgået efter 1. verdenskrig, Europas grænser og opdelte det tidligere østrig-ungarske imperium i stater som Jugoslavien, Polen og Tjekkoslovakiet. Som Neiberg udtrykker det: �rfor i 1914 havde du et lille antal stormagter, efter 1919 har du et større antal mindre magter. Det betød, at magtbalancen var mindre stabil. ”

Versailles -traktaten havde også omfattet en pagt for Folkeforbundet, den internationale organisation, som Woodrow Wilson havde forestillet sig, ville bevare freden mellem nationerne i Europa og verden. Men det amerikanske senat nægtede i sidste ende at ratificere Versailles -traktaten på grund af dets modstand mod ligaen, som forlod organisationen alvorligt svækket uden amerikansk deltagelse eller militær opbakning.

I mellemtiden destabiliserede Tysklands økonomiske problemer, der blev forværret af erstatningsbyrden og generel europæisk inflation, Weimarrepublikken, regeringen oprettede ved krigens slutning. På grund af varig vrede over Versailles-traktaten kunne det nationalsocialistiske (nazistiske) parti og andre radikale højrepartier opnå støtte i 1920'erne og de tidlige 2020'er ved at love at omstøde dets hårde bestemmelser og gøre Tyskland til et stort europæisk strøm igen.

Versailles -traktaten gjorde anden verdenskrig mulig, ikke uundgåelig.
I 1945, da lederne i USA, Storbritannien og Sovjetunionen mødtes i Potsdam, bebrejdede de Versailles -traktatens fiaskoer for at gøre en anden stor konflikt nødvendig og lovede at rette op på deres forgængeres fredsbevarende fejl. Men Neiberg, som mange historikere, har et mere nuanceret syn og peger på andre begivenheder end traktaten, herunder at USA ikke tiltræder Folkeforbundet og fremkomsten af ​​det stalinistiske regime i Sovjetunionen — som nødvendige elementer til at forstå vejen til Anden Verdenskrig.

I mit eget personlige syn som historiker skal du være virkelig forsigtig direkte at forbinde begivenheder, der skete med 20 års mellemrum, ” siger han. 𠇊 forskellige traktater giver et andet resultat, ja. Men du bør ikke tegne uundgåeligt. Det er en del af opskriften, men det er ikke den eneste ingrediens. ”


Kort over tyske territoriale tab - Historie

    (d-maps.com) (Library of Congress) (American Geographical Society Library Digital Map Collection) (David Rumsey Map Collection)
  • Historiske kort over Tyskland
  • Historiske kort over Tyskland (WHKMLA)
  • Historiske kort over Tyskland, 1378-2003 (Institut for Europæisk Historie - Mainz (University of Alabama)
  • Historische Karten - Deutsches Reich 1789 (Thomas Hoeckmann) (oldmapsonline.org)
    (Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (Putzgers Historischer Weltatlas, 1905) (WHKMLA) (Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (WHKMLA) (WHKMLA) (Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (Muir –s Historical Atlas, Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (WHKMLA) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (WHKMLA) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Putzgers Historischer Weltatlas, 1905) (Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (Vidal-Lablache, Atlas général d 'histoire et de géographie, 1912) (Cambridge Modern Hist. Atlas, 1912) (Mapping Solutions) (Muir ’s Historical Atlas, 1911) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Charles Colbeck, The Public Schools Historical Atlas, 1905) (Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Cambridge Modern History Atl som, 1912) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (CMHA, 1912) (CMHA, 1912) (Mapping Solutions) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (Droysens Allgemeiner Historischer Handatlas, 1886) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (IEG-Maps) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912) (IEG-Maps) (IEG-Maps) (Justus Perthes) (Cambridge Modern History Atlas, 1912 ) (IEG-Maps) (Heinrich Kiepert) (Emil Maurmann)
  • Alsace-Lorraine, 1910 (IEG-Maps) (IEG-Maps) (IEG-Maps) (IEG-Maps)

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Tyske territoriale tab fra 1919-1945 (Versailles -traktaten - Potsdam -konferencen)

Interessant nok blev de grønne portioner fortsat bestridt af den tyske regering indtil genforeningen i 1990'erne. Selvom der ikke var nogen alvorlig sandsynlighed for at genvinde territoriet, var vælgere fra de regioner, der flygtede mod vest som flygtninge i millionklassen og støttede genvindingen af ​​dette land, et vigtigt politisk stykke for deres stemmer.

Ikke rigtigt så mærkeligt, der er mange stater tilbage med territoriale krav. Især dem, hvor deres etnicitet tidligere var flertallet, idet Palæstina var et godt eksempel

Jeg spekulerer på, hvorfor disse kort over Tyskland før krigen og dets territoriale tab blev postet så ofte, og hvorfor tiltrækker de konstant så mange følelser og kommentarer.

Jeg gætter, fordi den fortæller en historie om begivenheder i en størrelsesorden, uden noget tilsvarende i den vestlige civilisation. Det er den mest intense historie om hybris, historisk ambition og usigelige grusomheder, der afviser enhver beskrivelse, som du finder - kogt ned til ét billede.

Og stadig relevant for verdensordenen i dag, mens Tyskland helt har fjernet sig selv fra den historiske selvforståelse, der muliggjorde 2. verdenskrig og er svær at forklare.


Den tyske stålindustri var afhængig af kul fra Saar og jernmalm fra Alsace-Lorraine. Tyskland mistede begge disse områder. Tyskland tabte også kulminer i Øvre Schlesien til Polen.

  1. Dette var et vanskeligt problem at løse, og derfor blev der oprettet en reparationskommission for at beslutte, hvor mange varer og hvor mange penge Tyskland skulle betale.
  2. Tallet 6.600 millioner blev til sidst aftalt.
  3. Nogle mennesker syntes, at dette tal var for højt. J.M. Keynes (en britisk økonom) sagde, at Tyskland kun ville blive fattigere og bitterere. Han havde ret.

Hvad er Preussen ?: Forståelse af preussisk historie

Preussisk officer ’s -knap (Wikimedia Commons)

Så dine forfædre er opført i optegnelser som “Prussian, ”, men du kan ikke finde Preussen på moderne kort over Europa. Hvad giver? Inden de blev absorberet i Tyskland, “Prussia ” (tysk: Preussen) var en stor militær og økonomisk magt i Centraleuropa i det 18. og 19. århundrede. Lad os se på den preussiske historie for at se, hvad vi kan lære om dine preussiske forfædre.

Først og fremmest: Hvor var Preussen? På sit højeste omfattede Preussen halvdelen af ​​det moderne Polen og alt andet end Sydtyskland. Selv om det selv var en af ​​Tysklands mange stater, omfattede Preussen på et tidspunkt: Vestpreussen, Østpreussen, Brandenburg (herunder Berlin), Sachsen, Pommern, Rheinland, Westfalen, ikke-østrigske Schlesien, Lusatien, Slesvig-Holsten, Hannover, og Hesse-Nassau.

Men hertugdømmet Preussen selv (den østligste del af Preussen) omfattede kun de middelalderlige landområder erobret af de teutoniske riddere. Regionen blev en del af Brandenburg-Preussen i 1600-tallet og Kongeriget Preussen i 1701.

Dette kort over det tyske kejserrige fra 1871 til 1918 viser Preussen i blåt. (Wikimedia Commons)

Preussen voksede i størrelse og indflydelse gennem det 18. og 19. århundrede ved at jockeye med andre europæiske magter (især Østrig). Preusserne erobrede især østrigsk besiddelse af Schlesien og satte gang i den afgørende Seven Years ’ War ved at invadere Bøhmen. Preussen var også et af de tre lande, der delte Polen, og (selvom krigene brutaliserede Centraleuropa), fik Preussen et betydeligt territorium ved Napoleonskrigene og#8217 slutningen). Efter kongressen i Wien annekterede Preussen store dele af Det Hellige Romerske Rige (en anden nu nedlagt stat).

Preussen havde også fordel af et andet resultat af Wienerkongressen: Det tyske forbund. Den løse tilknytning til tysktalende bystater omfattede ikke Preussen, men Preussen udøvede sin indflydelse på regionen. Preussen oprettede en fagforening med Forbundsstaterne, der udelukkede Østrig, hvilket tillod Preussen at udkonkurrere sin rival til at blive den dominerende tysktalende stat i regionen.

Derudover anerkender historikere Preussen som forgængeren til en samlet tysk stat. Otto Von Bismarck, Preussens premierminister, var medvirkende til Tysklands skabelse. Da han så en mulighed for at udvide den preussiske indflydelse (og drømte om et samlet tysk imperium), greb Bismarck territorium gennem krige med Danmark og Østrig. Han erklærede også en ny alliance mellem Preussen og de tyske stater, kaldet det Nordtyske Forbund (1867-1871).

Efter at have ført Frankrig i krig (og hurtigt vundet), forhandlede Bismark et forenet tysk imperium i 1871. Preussen forblev den dominerende magt i det tyske kejserrige indtil dets opløsning i 1918 efter første verdenskrig.

På grund af Preussens fremtrædende plads i tysk historie kan du ofte finde de samme ressourcer for preussiske forfædre som for dine “Tyske ” forfædre. Du kan finde en liste over online ressourcer specifikt til preussisk herkomst på FamilySearch Wiki.


Tidslinje for Romerriget og det keltiske folks land

475 f.Kr. Befolkningen i Rom og deres allierede (Latin League) væltede deres etruskiske herskere. Efter det galliske angreb på Rom blev byen gradvist genopbygget til at blive en af ​​de største i Italien. I 338 f.Kr. styrede romerne den latinske liga med absolut magt. Fra 300-280 f.Kr. beherskede romerne deres lokale fjender: etruskerne, samnitterne og gallerne i Norditalien (Po-dalen).


De græske byer i det sydlige Italien, der var bekymrede over Roms magt, sendte deres mester Pyrrhus imod hende. Han vandt flere kampe, men til sidst forlod han for at kæmpe i andre krige, og med sit sidste nederlag i 275 f.Kr. var romerne herre over hele Italien.


279 f.Kr. Gallerne avancerede til Makedonien, Grækenland og Thrakien. De blev hurtigt tvunget ud af hvert af disse lande, men blev i Thrakien indtil slutningen af ​​århundredet. Fra Thrakien går tre gallestammer frem til Anatolien og dannede et nyt kongerige kaldet Gallatia.


264-241 f.Kr. Romerne gik i krig med Kartago og byggede en stærk flåde. De besejrede endelig Kartago i 241 f.Kr. og fik kontrol over øen Sicilien og senere øerne Korsika og Sardinien.

236 f.Kr. begyndte kelterne at miste deres landområder for andre mennesker. Romerne erobrede gallerne i Po -dalen. Romerne ødelagde flere galliske hære og nogle vigtige galliske stammer forlod endda Italien og boede nord for Alperne.


I 219 f.Kr. mistede keltiske stammer land i Spanien til kartagerne. Da Hannibal, den karthagiske general, angreb Seguntum, kom romerne til byernes forsvar. Dette var begyndelsen på den anden puniske krig.


218BC Hannibal vandt mange kampe mod romerne, herunder slaget ved Cannae, hvor han besejrede fire legioner i den romerske republik. Romerne angreb og erobrede Spanien og derefter selve Kartago. Kartagerne blev endelig besejret i slaget ved Zama i 203 f.Kr. Romerne fik alle Carthages territorier i Spanien.


200-191 f.Kr. Gallerne i Po-dalen, der havde stået på siden med Hannibal, blev besejret, og området blev den romerske provins 'Nærmere Gallien'. I slutningen af ​​århundredet drev thrakierne gallerne ud af Thrakien. Kelterne mistede også en masse jord i Gallatia, da Seleukiderne og Pergamenerne angreb dem.


Vi ved ikke, om store bevægelser af keltiske mennesker eller tæt handel bragte keltisk kultur til Storbritannien. Nogle keltiske stammer fra Gallien bosatte sig i Storbritannien, før romerne angreb Storbritannien i 55 f.Kr.

200-146 f.Kr. Romerne kæmpede med græske stater, men hovedsageligt Makedonien.

149 f.Kr. Romerne overtog endelig Makedonien efter at have vundet deres tredje makedonske krig. I 146 f.Kr. bragte romerne hele Grækenland under deres direkte kontrol.


149BC I en tredje krig mellem de to lande blev Kartago rejst til jorden, og dens folk blev solgt som slaver. Efter denne sidste sejr fik romerne Karthago nordafrikanske territorier.


133 f.Kr. Kongen af ​​Pergamum døde og overlod sit rige til Rom. Romerne kontrollerede nu næsten alle de lande, der omgiver Middelhavet.

42BC Mark Anthony og hans romerske legioner kæmpede partherne og led store tab. Han trak sig tilbage og gjorde romerne til herrer over Armenien.


31BC Mark Anthony hjalp også Cleopatra med at genskabe Ptolemæerriget i Egypten. Dette var upopulært blandt romerne og Julius Cæsars søn Octavius ​​besejrede ham i slaget ved Actium.


Under Octavius ​​Augustus 'styre blev det keltiske kongerige Galatien og (25BC) og Paphlagania (6BC) absorberet i Romerriget.
Under Octavius ​​skønt der var relativ fred, blev den romerske grænse skubbet til floden Donau. Da romerne forsøgte at skubbe grænsen til floden Elbe, lagde tyskerne i den nordlige del af landet under ledelse af Arminius baghold og slagtede tre romerske legioner.


Cappadocia blev tilføjet til Romerriget af kejser Tiberius og Mauretanien af ​​kejser Caligula.


41AD Kejseren Claudius invaderede Storbritannien og vandt et afgørende slag ved Medway. Den keltiske høvding Caractacus flygtede med sit bande af krigere for at søge bistand fra den krigeriske stamme Silures (i dagens South Wales).


Silurerne havde succes med at overvære mindre grupper af romerske soldater, og til tider kæmpede de med succes større enheder. I et slag besejrede de en romersk legion og flygtede først, da en lettende legion ankom.


78AD Julius Frontinus, den romerske guvernør i Storbritannien besejrede endelig silurierne efter at have flyttet den anden legion Augustus til Caerleon.


Kejser Domitian byggede forter i de tyske lande mellem Rhinen og Donau og tog den romerske grænse ind i Schwarzwald og Taunus -bjergene.


I 79AD blev Agricola guvernør i Storbritannien, og han førte romerne ind i Storbritanniens bjerge. Han besejrede straks den krigeriske ordoviciske stamme i North Wales. Brigantia -stammen i Nordengland og det sydlige Skotland var hans næste ofre. Endelig i 84AD kæmpede romerne med de kaledonske stammer i Skotland og besejrede dem i slaget ved Mons Graupius.


Kampene på Donau betød imidlertid, at romerne måtte reducere antallet af legioner i Storbritannien til tre, og romerne trak deres grænse tilbage i det nordlige Storbritannien.


Kejser Trajanus samlede ti romerske legioner for at bekæmpe dacianerne og efter meget hård kamp sejrede romerne. Dacia var Roms første provins ud over Donau -floden.


Armenien blev gjort til en romersk provins i 114AD.


Adiabene og Mesopotamien blev erobret af romerne i 116AD.

Da Trajan døde i 117 e.Kr. havde Romerriget nået sin største størrelse.

Kejser Hadrian forsøgte ikke at erobre nye lande, men var tilfreds med at forsvare imperiernes grænser. Han trak sig tilbage fra Mesopotamien og Armenien.


I Storbritannien byggede hans tropper en mur på tværs af det nordlige Storbritannien for at beskytte den romerske grænse mod de genstridige kaledonske stammer. I 145AD blev grænsen i Storbritannien flyttet nordpå til Antonine -muren.


I 251 e.Kr. befandt romerne sig under angreb og besejret af goterne, der fik kontrol over Balkan og derefter Anatolien. Fem år senere overvandt frankerne og Alemanni fra Tyskland romerske Gallien og raidede ind i Spanien og Italien. Perserne erobrede Armenien og i 260AD brød de igennem til Syrien og fyrede Antiokia.


Kejser Aurelian (270-275AD) overgav officielt Dacia til de germanske gotere og gepider. I Tyskland blev Rhinen-Donau-trekanten også officielt overladt til den tyske Alemanni-stamme.

Romerriget blev permanent opdelt i vestlige og østlige imperier. Det Østromerske Rige blev kendt som Byzantium.


I det fjerde århundrede e.Kr. tvang krigerryttere fra øst kaldet hunne nogle tyske stammer til at flytte ind i det vestromerske imperium. Rom selv blev fyret af visigoterne i 410AD. Samme år fortalte den romerske kejser briterne, at de skulle organisere deres eget forsvar uden hjælp fra romerske tropper. I store dele af Storbritannien og Gallien blev romerske administratorer udvist, og de indfødte organiserede deres eget forsvar. Nogle romere blev tilbage for at bekæmpe angriberne.


Storbritannien var nu et let mål og blev angrebet af pikter fra nord og af irske keltere i Vesten. I det østlige Storbritannien blev tyske lejesoldater ansat af den romersk-britiske leder Vortigen til at hjælpe med at forsvare sig mod invaderende grupper. Til gengæld fik disse lejesoldater chancen for at bosætte sig i det østlige Storbritannien. Disse udenlandske lejesoldater opfordrede imidlertid andre medlemmer af deres stammer til at deltage i plyndringen af ​​Storbritannien og bosætte sig i keltiske lande. De nye migranter omfattede sakserne, juter og vinkler. De dannede deres egne kongeriger i det, der nu er kendt som England.


I 455 og 493AD oprettedes et østrogotisk kongerige i Italien, og romersk herredømme var ved at være slut. Byzantium imperiet overlevede i yderligere tusind år, indtil tyrkerne erobrede Konstantinopel i 1453 e.Kr.

Kort over Romerriget og de keltiske lande

Du kan også finde al denne tekst på kortet -

800BC Kelterne kontrollerede det meste af Centraleuropa og ved 700BC erobrede de også landene i det nordlige Spanien. I løbet af de næste hundrede år ekspanderede de til centrum af Spanien, men mistede deres landområder i det nordlige Spanien. Kelterne i Centraleuropa bliver kendt som gallere. Kelterne er muligvis begyndt at ankomme til Storbritannien omkring 480 f.Kr. De fortsatte deres bosættelse af Storbritannien i hele denne tid.


410-390BC Gallerne ekspanderede ned gennem de lande, som floden Donau løber, og ind i det nordlige Italien. Der erobrede de det etruskiske folk, og de besejrede romerne og fyrede Rom.


Kort over tyske territoriale tab - Historie

KAMPAGNESUMMERER I VERDENSKRIGEN 2

herunder den NORSKE KAMPANJE 1940

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1939

SEPTEMBER 1939

Britiske Home Fleet -ubåde på patrulje ud for det sydvestlige Norge led deres første tab under tragiske omstændigheder. "OXLEY" blev ved en fejl torpederet af "Triton" og gik ned af Obrestad den 10..

NOVEMBER 1939

Russisk -finske krig - Forhandlinger om grænseskift og kontrol med øer i Den Finske Bugt brød sammen, og Rusland invaderede den 30.. Krigen trak ud til marts 1940 med fatale konsekvenser for Norge.

Handelsskibskrig - De første HN/ON -konvojer sejlede mellem Firth of Forth og Norge i november dækket af hjemmeflåden. Konvojerne blev afbrudt i april 1940.

1940

JANUAR 1940

Vesteuropa - Tyske planer om en vestlig offensiv (Operation 'Gelb') blev udskudt. Planlægningen gik videre for invasionen af ​​Norge under kodenavnet 'Weserubung'.

FEBRUAR 1940

Hændelsen “ Altmark ” - "Altmark" var “Graf Spees ” forsyningsskib med Merchant Navy -fanger ombord. Hun søgte tilflugt i Jossingfiord, inden for norsk territorialfarvand. Om aftenen den 16. gik destroyer “Cossack ” (Capt Vian) sammen med et boarding party og efter en kort kamp løslod fangerne.

Russisk-finske krig - Storbritannien og Frankrig planlægger at sende bistand til Finland. Dette ville give dem mulighed for at besætte Narvik i det nordlige Norge og skære ned på svensk jernmalmforsyning til Tyskland.

MARTS 1940

Slaget ved Atlanterhavet - Der var en pause i slaget ved Atlanterhavet, da U-både blev trukket tilbage til den norske kampagne, og før overfladeangrebere startede operationer og langdistancefly og U-både dukkede op fra baser i Frankrig og Norge.

Russisk -finske krig - konklusion - En fredsaftale den 13. bragte krigen til ende, hvor Finland afstod det omstridte område til Sovjetunionen.

Norge - Senere på måneden og på trods af at opgive planerne om at hjælpe Finland besluttede Storbritannien og Frankrig at afbryde svensk jernmalmstrafik til Tyskland ved at udvinde norske farvande (Operation 'Wilfred'). Der blev også lavet planer om at lande tropper i Norge, fra syd til nord, ved Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim og Narvik for at forhindre enhver tysk gengældelse (Operation 'R4). Hele operationen blev tidsbestemt den 8. april.

APRIL 1940

“U-50 ” på patrulje ud for Shetlandsøen til støtte for den norske invasion, blev sænket af destroyer “Hero ” den 10.

Færøerne - Den 13. april, efter den tyske invasion af Norge, blev en forskudsvagt for kongelige marinesoldater landet på Færøerne, nordvest for Shetlandsøerne med den endelige aftale fra den danske guvernør.

Norsk kampagne

3. - De første tyske troppetransporter sejlede til Norge.

7. - Tysk dækning og troppebærende krigsskibe på vej mod Norge

8. - Operation 'Wilfred' - destroyere fra Royal Navy lagde simulerede og rigtige minefelter på tre punkter ud for den norske kyst mellem Stadtlandet og Bodo. Battlecruiser “Renown ” og andre destroyere gav dækning. En af skærmene, “GLOWWORM ” (Lt-Cdr Roope) blev løsrevet for at søge efter en mand over bord, ligesom 8-kanals krydser “Admiral Hipper ” satte kursen mod Trondheim. De mødtes nordvest for havnen, og ødelæggeren blev snart sænket, men ikke før hun vædrede og beskadigede “Hipper ”. + Lt-Cdr Gerard Roope RN blev postuum tildelt Victoria Cross.

7.-8 - Som svar på rapporterede tyske bevægelser sejlede enheder fra hjemmeflåden inklusive “Rodney ”, “Valiant ”, “Repulse ”, fire krydsere og 14 destroyere fra Scapa Flow og Rosyth. Ledsaget af dem var en fransk krydser og to destroyere. Yderligere to britiske krydsere og ni destroyere forlod andre opgaver og tog mod norske farvande. Next day, on the 8th, they were joined by the four troop-carrying cruisers of Operation 'R4', men after the soldiers had been disembarked back in Britain. More than 20 submarines, including three French and one Polish took up positions.

9th - Germany invaded Denmark and Norway (Operation 'Weserubung'): Copenhagen was soon occupied and DENMARK surrendered. In Norway, troops landed at Oslo, Kristiansand and Bergen in the south, Trondheim in the centre and Narvik in the north. The southern forces and those from Trondheim pushed inland and joined up by the end of the month. They then moved north to relieve Narvik, which was isolated by the Allies soon after the first German landings.

German Navy forces included a pocket battleship, six cruisers and 14 destroyers for the landings at the five Norwegian ports, with battlecruisers “Scharnhorst” and “Gneisenau” covering the two most northerly landings. Thirty U-boats patrolled off Norway and British bases, but throughout the campaign they suffered from major torpedo defects.

Early in the morning of the 9th, battlecruiser “Renown” was in action with the two German battlecruisers to the west of Vestfiord. “Gneisenau” was d amaged and “Renown” slightly. The Germans withdrew. As “Renown” was in action, German occupation forces heading for Oslo came under heavy fire from Norwegian coastal defences. Shore-sited guns and torpedoes in Oslo Fiord sank heavy cruiser “BLUCHER”. A Home Fleet cruiser force was detached to attack the German warships in Bergen, but ordered to withdraw. They come under continuous air attack and destroyer “GURKHA” was bo mbed and sunk southwest of Bergen. That evening, German cruiser “KARLSRUHE” left Kri stiansand and was torpedoed by submarine “Truant”. She was scuttled next day.

10th - First Battle of Narvik - The 2nd Destroyer Flotilla (Capt. Warburton-Lee) with “Hardy”, “Havock”, “Hostile”, “Hotspur” and “Hunter”, entered Ofotfiord to attack the German ships assigned to the occupation of Narvik. These included 10 large destroyers. Several transports were sunk together with destroyers “ANTON SCHMITT” (AS) and “WILHELM HEIDKAMP” (WM) in Narvik Bay . Other German destroyers were damaged, but as the British 2nd Flotilla retired, “HARDY” was beached, “HUNTER” sunk and “Hotspur” badly damaged by the remaining German ships . + Capt Bernard Warburton-Lee RN was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

By the 10th, the British Home Fleet was reinforced by battleship “Warspite” and carrier “Furious”. On the same day submarine “THISTLE” on patrol off Utsira failed in an attack on “U-4”. Shortly after she was sunk by the same U-boat. Fleet Air Arm Skua dive-bomber’s of 800 and 803 Squadrons flying from the Orkney Islands sank German cruiser "KOENIGSBERG" at her moorings in Bergen. She was damaged earlier by shore batteries in the landings. This was the first major warship sunk by air attack.

11. - Returning from the Oslo landings, German pocket battleship “Lutzow” was tor pedoed and badly damaged by submarine “Spearfish” in the Skagerrak. Cruiser “Penelope” on her way into Narvik was damaged running aground in Vestfiord.

13th - Second Battle of Narvik - Battleship “Warspite” and nine destroyers were sent into the Narvik fiords to finish off the remaining German ships. Submarine “U-64” was surprised and sunk by “Warspite's” Swordfish catapult aircraft as it scouted ahead. The eight surviving German destroyers – “BERND VON ARNIM” (BA), “DIETHER VON ROEDER” (DR), “ERICH GIESE” (EG), “ERICH KOELNNER” (EK), “GEORG THIELE” (GT), “HANS LUDEMANN” (HL), “HERMANN KUNNE” (HK) and “WOLFGANG ZENKER” (WZ) were a ll destroyed or scuttled. The British “Eskimo” and “Cossack” were da maged. By the 13th, the first British troop convoys had left the Scottish Clyde for Narvik, but some ships were diverted to Namsos. German forces were well-established in the south and centre of Norway and had control of the air.

14. - Submarine “TARPON” on patrol off southern Norway was sunk by German minesweeper “M-6”. German gunnery training ship “BRUMMER” was torpedoed and sunk by submarine “Sterlet”.

14th-16th - The first Allied landings took place between the 14th and 16th. In the north, British troops occupied Harstad in preparation for an attack on Narvik. They were reinforced by French and Polish units through into May. Royal Marines led British and French troops into Namsos ready for an attack south towards Trondheim. The British went ashore in the Andalsnes area to try to hold central Norway with the Norwegian Army. Neither of these operations proved possible and on the 27th April the decision was taken to pull out of central Norway.

15. - As the Harstad-bound troopships approached their destination, escorting destroyers “Brazen” and “Fearless” located and sank “U-49”. Southwest of Stavanger, “U-1” went to th e bottom after striking a mine.

17. - Heavy cruiser “Suffolk” bombarded installations at Stavanger, but on her return was badly damaged by Ju-88 bombers and barely made Scapa Flow with her stern awash.

18. - Four days after sinking the “Brummer”, “STERLET” was pres umed sunk in the Skagerrak by German anti-submarine trawlers

24. - After four days continuous AA duty off Andalsnes, cruiser “Curacoa” was b adly damaged by bombs. Carrier “Glorious” flew off obsolescent Gladiator biplanes for shore operations.

27. - Allied plans to attack towards Trondheim and hold central Norway proved impossible. The decision was taken to pull out of central Norway and the evacuation of Andalsnes and Namsos got under way.

30. - Sloop “BITTERN” was s unk by Ju-87 dive-bombers off Namsos.

MAY 1940

Norwegian Campaign - continued

2nd/3rd - In three days and nights the last 10,000 British and French troops were evacuated from Namsos and around Andalsnes following the failure to attack towards Trondheim and hold central Norway. Other troops were later landed further north, including at Bodo in an attempt to block the German advance from Trondheim towards Narvik. The Allies continued to build up forces for the attack on Narvik. + Lt-Cdr Richard Stannard RNR, commanding officer of HM trawler Arab of the 15th Anti-Submarine Striking Force, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry under air attack during operations off Namsos.

3rd - Retiring northwest from Namsos, destroyers “AFRIDI” and the French “BISON” were s unk by Ju-87 Stuka dive-bombers.

4. - As preparations continued in northern Norway for the attack on Narvik, Polish destroyer “GROM” was b ombed and sunk.

5. - Submarine “SEAL” successfully laid mines in the southern Kattegat on the 4th before being damaged by a German mine. Trying to make for neutral Sweden on the surface, she was attacked and captured off The Skaw by German air and sea patrols.

17. - Cruiser “EFFINGHAM” ran aground on an uncharted rock in Vestfiord carrying troops to Bodo to help block the German advance on Narvik. She was later torpedoed and abandoned.

23. - By now carriers “Furious” and “Glorious” had flown ashore the first modern RAF fighters.

24. - The Allies decided to pull out of Norway altogether, but not before Narvik was captured and the port installations destroyed.

26 - During the attack on Narvik, AA cruiser “CURLEW” was bo mbed and sunk in nearby Lavang Fjord.

28. - Two days after the loss of sister ship “Curlew”, “Cairo” was badl y damaged off the town of Narvik just as French and Polish troops completed its capture. The Norwegian Campaign shortly drew to a close.

Britain - Following a 10th May House of Commons debate on the Norwegian campaign, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill assumed leadership. Albert V. Alexander succeeded him as First Lord of the Admiralty. The planned attack on Narvik would still go ahead, but that same day the German Blitzkrieg on Holland, Belgium and France was launched.

Slaget ved Atlanterhavet - The Allied loss of Norway brought German warships and U-boats many hundreds of miles closer to the Atlantic convoy routes and in time within close range of the Russian convoys that followed the June 1941 German invasion. Britain's blockade line from the Orkneys to southern Norway was simply outflanked. Within a matter of days the first U-boats were sailing from the Norwegian port of Bergen.

4th-8th - Norwegian Campaign - It's Conclusion . Following the capture of Narvik, Allied forces totalling 25,000 men were evacuated in four days from northern Norway, by which time King Haakon VII and his Government were on their way to Britain aboard heavy cruiser “Devonshire”.

8. - At the end of the evacuation, fleet carrier “GLORIOUS” and escorting destroyers “ACASTA” and “ARDENT” sailed fo r Britain independently of the other withdrawing forces. West of Lofoten Islands they met the 11in gun battlecruisers “Scharnhorst” and “Gneisenau” sailing to attack suspected Allied shipping off Harstad. The British ships were soon overwhelmed and sunk, but not before “Acasta” hit “Scharnhorst” with a torpedo. Few of the Royal Navy crews survived.

Allied submarines working with the Royal Navy continued to play a part in operations off Norway and had their share of losses. On the last day of the campaign the Polish “ORZEL” on passage to her patrol area and made famous after escaping from invaded Poland, was presumed mined. Another Allied boat was lost twelve days later.

9th-20th . and Immediate Aftermath - The surviving Norwegian troops surrendered to the German Army and the Norwegian Campaign was over. NORWAY and its people were not liberated until after the German surrender in May 1945. During that time, many Norwegians escape to fight with the Allies, resistance movements grew in effectiveness, and large German forces were held down there at Hitler’s command in case the Allies invaded. Naval losses on both sides were heavy, and in the case of the Germans included damage to battlecruiser "Scharnhorst" (followed shortly by "Gneisenau") and pocket battleship "Lutzow".


Timeline of the German Military and the Nazi Regime

This timeline chronicles the relationship between the professional military elite and the Nazi state. It pays specific attention to the military leaders’ acceptance of Nazi ideology and their role in perpetrating crimes against Jews, prisoners of war, and unarmed civilians in the name of that ideology.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, Germany’s military generals claimed they had fought honorably in World War II. They insisted it was the SS—the Nazi elite guard—and the SS leader, Heinrich Himmler, who were responsible for all crimes.

This myth of the German military’s “clean hands” was largely accepted in the United States, where American military leaders, embroiled in the Cold War, looked to their German counterparts for information that would help them against the Soviet Union. And because the few available Soviet accounts of the war were deemed untrustworthy—and most of the crimes committed by the German military had taken place in Soviet territory—the myth remained unchallenged for decades.

This led to two long-lasting distortions of the historical record of World War II. First, German generals came to be seen as models of military skill rather than as war criminals complicit in the crimes of the Nazi regime. Second, the German military’s role in the Holocaust was largely forgotten.

This timeline addresses these distortions by chronicling the relationship between the professional military elite and the Nazi state. It pays specific attention to the military leaders’ acceptance of Nazi ideology and their role in perpetrating crimes against Jews, prisoners of war, and unarmed civilians in the name of that ideology.

World War I (1914-18)

World War I was one of the most destructive wars in modern history. Initial enthusiasm on all sides for a quick and decisive victory faded as the war devolved into a stalemate of costly battles and trench warfare, particularly on the western front. Over 9 million soldiers died, a figure which far exceeded the military deaths in all the wars of the previous hundred years combined. The enormous losses on all sides resulted in part from the introduction of new weapons, like the machine gun and gas warfare, as well as from the failure of military leaders to adjus t their tactics to the increasingly mechanized nature of warfare.

The Great War was a defining experience for the German military. Perceived failures on the battlefield and the homefront shaped its beliefs about war and informed its interpretation of the relationship between civilians and soldiers.

October 1916: The German Military’s Jewish Census

During World War I, approximately 100,000 of the roughly 600,000 soldiers who served in the German military were Jewish. Many were German patriots who saw the war as an opportunity to prove their loyalty to their country. However, antisemitic newspapers and politicians claimed that Jews were cowards who were shirking their duty by staying away from combat. To prove this claim, the Minister of War began an investigation into the number of Jews serving in the front lines. For reasons that are not clear, the results were never published, which allowed antisemites to continue to question Jewish patriotism after the war.

November 11, 1918: The Armistice and the Stab-in-the-Back Legend

After more than four years of fighting, an armistice, or ceasefire, between defeated Germany and the Entente powers went into effect on November 11, 1918. For the German people, the defeat was an enormous shock they had been told that victory was inevitable.

One way some Germans made sense of their sudden defeat was through the “stab-in-the-back” legend. The legend claimed that internal “enemies”—primarily Jews and communists—had sabotaged the German war effort. In truth, German military leaders convinced the German emperor to seek peace because they knew that Germany could not win the war, and they feared the country’s imminent collapse. Many of these same military leaders then spread the stab-in-the-back legend to deflect blame for the defeat away from the military.

June 28, 1919: The Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, was signed on June 28, 1919. Germany’s newly formed democratic government saw the treaty as a “dictated peace” with harsh terms.

In addition to other provisions, the treaty artificially limited German military power. It restricted the German army to a 100,000-man volunteer force, with a maximum of 4,000 officers, who were each required to serve for 25 years. This was intended to prevent the German army from using rapid turnover to train more officers. The treaty forbade production of tanks, poisonous gas, armored cars, airplanes, and submarines and the import of weapons. It dissolved the elite planning section of the German army, known as the General Staff, and closed the military academies and other training institutions. The treaty demanded the demilitarization of the Rhineland, forbidding German military forces from being stationed along the border with France. These changes greatly limited the career prospects of German military officers. 1

January 1, 1921: The German Military is Reestablished

The new German republic, known as the Weimar Republic, faced many difficult tasks. One of the most challenging was the reorganization of the military, called the Reichswehr. The government reinstituted the Reichswehr on January 1, 1921 under the leadership of General Hans von Seeckt. The Reichswehr’s small and homogenous officer corps was characterized by antidemocratic attitudes, opposition to the Weimar Republic, and attempts to undermine and circumvent the Treaty of Versailles.

Throughout the 1920s, the military repeatedly violated the treaty. For example, the disbanded General Staff simply transferred its planning to the newly established “Troop Office.” The military also secretly imported weapons that had been banned by the Treaty of Versailles. It even signed an agreement with the Soviet Union, which allowed it to conduct prohibited tank exercises in Soviet territory. The Reichswehr’s mid-level officers later became the leaders of the military under Hitler.

July 27, 1929: The Geneva Convention

On July 27, 1929, Germany and other leading countries signed the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War in Geneva. This international agreement built on the earlier Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 to increase protections for prisoners of war. The convention was one of several important international agreements regulating war in the 1920s. The Geneva Protocol (1925) updated restrictions relating to the use of poison gas. In 1928, the Kellogg-Briand Pact renounced war as a national policy.

These postwar agreements were an attempt to update international law in a way that would prevent another conflict as destructive as World War I. However, the dominant attitude within the German army was that military necessity always outweighed international la w. L ike many other nations, Germany bent or broke the rules when it found it advantageous to do so .

February 3, 1933: Hitler Meets with Top Military Leaders

Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. Just four days later, he met privately with top military leaders to attempt to win their support. This was especially important because the military had historically played a very important role in German society and therefore had the ability to overthrow the new regime.

The military leadership did not fully trust or support Hitler because of his populism and radicalism. However, the Nazi Party and the German military had similar foreign policy goals. Both wanted to renounce t he Treaty of Versailles, to expand the German armed forces, and to destroy the communist threat. In this first meeting, Hitler tried to reassure the German officer corps. He talked openly about his plans to establish a dictatorship, reclaim lost land, and wage war. Almost two months later, Hitler showed his respect for the German military tradition by publicly bowing to President Hindenburg, a celebrated World War I general.

February 28, 1934: The “Aryan Paragraph”

Passed on April 7, 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service included the Aryan Paragraph. The paragraph called for all Germans of non-Aryan descent (i.e. Jews) to be forcibly retired from the civil service.

The Aryan Paragraph did not initially apply to the armed forces. On February 28, 1934, however, Defense Minister Werner von Blomberg voluntarily put it in effect for the military as well. Because the Reichswehr discriminated against Jews and blocked their promotion, the policy affected fewer than 100 soldiers. 2 In a memorandum to high level military leaders, Colonel Erich von Manstein condemned the firings on the basis of the traditional values of the German military and its professional code, to little effect. Blomberg’s decision to apply the Aryan Paragraph was one of many ways that senior military officials worked with the Nazi regime. They also added Nazi symbols to military uniforms and insignia and introduced political education based on Nazi ideals into military training.

June 30- July 2, 1934: “The Night of the Long Knives”

In 1933-1934, Hitler put an end to efforts by SA leader Ernst Röhm to replace the professional army with a people’s militia centered on the SA. Military leaders demanded that Röhm be stopped. Hitler decided that a professionally trained and organized military better suited his expansionist aims. He intervened on the military’s behalf in exchange for their future support.

Between June 30 and July 2, 1934, the Nazi Party leadership murdered the leadership of the SA, including Röhm, and other opponents. The murders confirmed an agreement between the Nazi regime and the military that would remain intact, with rare exceptions, until the end of World War II. As part of this agreement, military leaders supported Hitler when he proclaimed himself Führer (leader) of the German Reich in August 1934. The military leaders immediately wrote a new oath that swore their service to Hitler personally as the personification of the German Nation. 3

March 1935-March 1936: Creating the Wehrmacht

In early 1935, Germany took its first public steps to rearm, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. On March 16, 1935, a new law reintroduced the draft and officially expanded the German army to 550,000 men.

In May, a secret Reich Defense Law transformed the Reichswehr into the Wehrmacht and made Hitler its Commander-in-Chief, with a “Minister of War and Commander of the Wehrmacht” under him. The name change was largely cosmetic, but the intent was to create a force capable of a war of aggression, rather than the defensive force created by the treaty. In addition, the conscription law excluded Jews, much to the disappointment of those Jewish men who wanted to prove their continuing loyalty to Germany. Military leaders worked with the Nazi regime to expand arms production. In March 1936, the new Wehrmacht remilitarized the Rhineland.

November 5, 1937: Hitler Meets with Top Military Leaders Again

On November 5, 1937, Hitler held a small meeting with the foreign minister, the war minister, and the heads of the army, navy and air force. Hitler discussed his vision for Germany’s foreign policy with them, including plans to absorb Austria and Czechoslovakia soon, by force if necessary, with further expansion to follow. 4 The Commander-in-Chief of the Army Werner Freiherr von Fritsch, Minister of War von Blomberg, and Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath objected, not on moral grounds, but because they believed Germany was not ready militarily, especially if Britain and France joined the war. In the days and weeks that followed, several other military leaders who learned of the meeting also expressed their disapproval.

January-February 1938: The Blomberg-Fritsch Affair

In early 1938, two scandals involving top Wehrmacht leaders allowed the Nazis to remove commanders who did not fully support Hitler’s plans (as laid out in the November meeting). First, Minister of War Blomberg had recently married, and information came to light that his wife had “a past,” involving, at the least, pornographic pictures. This was completely unacceptable for any army officer. Hitler (with the full support of the other senior generals) demanded Blomberg’s resignation. Around the same time, Commander-in-Chief of the Army von Fritsch resigned after Himmler and Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring trumped up false charges of homosexuality against him.

The two resignations became known as the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair. They gave Hitler the opportunity to restructure the Wehrmacht under his control. The position of Minister of War was taken over by Hitler himself, and General Wilhelm Keitel was appointed as the military head of the armed forces. Fritsch was replaced with the much more pliable Colonel-General Walther von Brauchitsch. These changes were just the most public. Hitler also announced a series of forced resignations and transfers at a cabinet meeting in early February.

March 1938-March 1939: Foreign Policy and Expansion

From March 1938 to March 1939, Germany made a series of territorial moves that risked a European war. First, in March 1938, Germany annexed Austria. Hitler then threatened war unless the Sudetenland, a border area of Czechoslovakia containing an ethnic German majority, was surrendered to Germany. The leaders of Britain, France, Italy, and Germany held a conference in Munich, Germany, on September 29–30, 1938. They agreed to the German annexation of the Sudetenland in exchange for a pledge of peace from Hitler. On March 15, 1939, Hitler violated the Munich Agreement and moved against the rest of the Czechoslovak state. These events sparked tension within the military’s High Command. General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the General Staff, had long protested the prospect of another unwinnable war. However, his colleagues refused to back him up—they were willing to hand over the reins of strategy to the Führer. Beck resigned, to no effect.

September 1, 1939: Germany Invades Poland

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded and quickly defeated Poland, beginning World War II. The German occupation of Poland was exceptionally brutal. In a campaign of terror, German police and SS units shot thousands of Polish civilians and required all Polish males to perform forced labor. The Nazis sought to destroy Polish culture by eliminating the Polish political, religious, and intellectual leadership. These crimes were perpetrated mainly by the SS, although Wehrmacht leaders were in full support of the policies. Many German soldiers also participated in the violence and looting. Some in the Wehrmacht were unhappy with the involvement of their soldiers, shocked by the violence, and concerned about the lack of order among the soldiers. Generals Blaskowitz and Ulex even complained to their superiors about the violence. However, they were quickly silenced. 5

April 7-June 22, 1940: The Invasion of Western Europe

In the spring of 1940, Germany invaded, defeated, and occupied Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France. This string of victories—especially the astoundingly quick defeat of France—greatly increased Hitler’s popularity at home and within the military. The few military officers who had objected to his plans now found their credibility destroyed and the potential to organize opposition to the regime reduced. After the victory in Western Europe, Hitler and the Wehrmacht turned their attention to planning an invasion of the Soviet Union.

March 30, 1941: Planning the Invasion of the Soviet Union

On March 30, 1941, Hitler spoke secretly to 250 of his principal commanders and staff officers on the nature of the upcoming war against the Soviet Union. His speech emphasized that the war in the East would be conducted with extreme brutality with the aim of destroying the communist threat. Hitler’s audience knew he was calling for clear violations of the laws of war, but there were no serious objections. Instead, following Hitler’s ideological position, the military issued a series of orders that made it clear they intended to wage a war of annihilation against the communist state. The most notorious of these orders include the Commissar Order and the Barbarossa Jurisdiction Decree. Together these and other orders established a clear working relationship between the Wehrmacht and the SS. In addition, the orders clarified that soldiers would not be punished for committing acts contrary to the internationally agreed upon rules of war.

April 6, 1941: The Invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece

The Axis powers invaded Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941, dismembering the country and exploiting ethnic tensions. In one region, Serbia, Germany established a military occupation administration that exercised extreme brutality against the local population. During the summer of that year, German military and police authorities interned most Jews and Roma (Gypsies) in detention camps. By the fall, a Serbian uprising had inflicted serious casualties upon German military and police personnel. In response, Hitler ordered German authorities to shoot 100 hostages for every German death. German military and police units used this order as a pretext to shoot virtually all male Serbian Jews (approximately 8,000 men), approximately 2,000 actual and perceived communists, Serb nationalists and democratic politicians of the interwar era, and approximately 1,000 Romani men.

June 22, 1941: The Invasion of the Soviet Union

German forces invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Three army groups, consisting of more than three million German soldiers, attacked the Soviet Union across a broad front, from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south.

In accordance with their orders, German forces treated the population of the Soviet Union with extreme brutality. They burned entire villages and shot the rural population of whole districts in retaliation for partisan attacks. They sent millions of Soviet civilians to perform forced labor in Germany and the occupied territories. German planners called for the ruthless exploitation of Soviet resources, especially of agricultural produce. This was one of Germany’s major war aims in the east.

June 1941-January 1942: The Systematic Killing of the Soviet POWs

From the beginning of the Eastern campaign, Nazi ideology drove German policy towards Soviet prisoners of war (POWs). German authorities viewed Soviet POWs as inferiors and as part of the "Bolshevik menace.” They argued that because the Soviet Union was not a signatory to the 1929 Geneva Convention, its regulations requiring that POWs be given food, shelter, and medical care, and forbidding war work or corporal punishment, did not apply. This policy proved catastrophic for the millions of Soviet soldiers taken prisoner during the war.

By war’s end, over 3 million Soviet prisoners (about 58 percent) died in German captivity (versus about 3 percent of British or American prisoners). This death toll was neither an accident nor an automatic result of the war, but rather deliberate policy. The army and the SS cooperated in the shooting of hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWs, because they were Jews, or communists, or looked “asiatic.” The rest were subjected to long marches, systematic starvation, no medical care, little or no shelter, and forced labor . Time and again German forces were called upon to take "energetic and ruthless action" and "use their arms" unhesitatingly "to wipe out any trace of resistance" from Soviet POWs.

Summer-Fall 1941: Wehrmacht Participation in the Holocaust

Most German generals did not see themselves as Nazis. However, they shared many of the Nazis’ goals. In their opinion, there were good military reasons to support Nazi policies. In the eyes of the generals, communism fed resistance. They also believed the Jews were the driving force behind communism.

When the SS offered to secure the rear areas and eliminate the Jewish threat, the army cooperated by providing logistical support to the units and coordinating their movements. Army units helped round up Jews for the shooting squads, cordoned off the killing sites, and sometimes took part in shootings themselves. They established ghettos for those whom the shooters left behind and relied on Jewish forced labor. When some troops showed signs of unease, the generals issued orders, justifying the killings and other harsh measures.

February 2, 1943 German 6th Army Surrenders at Stalingrad

The Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from October 1942 to February 1943, was a major turning point in the war. After months of fierce fighting and heavy casualties, and contrary to Hitler’s direct order, the surviving German forces (about 91,000 men) surrendered on February 2, 1943. Two weeks later, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels gave a speech in Berlin calling for radicalization of mobilization measures and total war. The speech acknowledged the difficulties the country was facing and marked the beginning of increased desperation on the part of the Nazi leadership.

Their defeat at Stalingrad forced German troops on the defensive and was the beginning of their long retreat back to Germany. This retreat was marked by widespread destruction as the military implemented a scorched earth policy on Hitler’s orders. There was also an increased emphasis on maintaining military discipline, including ruthless arrests of soldiers who expressed doubts about Germany’s final victory.

July 20, 1944: Operation Valkyrie

Although generally unconcerned about Nazi crimes—several of the conspirators had even taken part in the killing of Jews—a small group of senior military officers decided that Hitler had to die. They blamed Hitler for losing the war and felt that his continued leadership posed a serious threat to Germany’s future. They attempted to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944, exploding a small but powerful bomb during a military briefing in his East Prussian headquarters at Rastenburg.

Hitler survived and the plot fell apart. He quickly took his revenge for this attempt on his life. Several generals were forced to commit suicide or face humiliating prosecution. Others were tried before the infamous People’s Court in Berlin and executed. While Hitler remained suspicious of the remaining members of the German officer corps, most continued to fight for him and for Germany until the country’s surrender in 1945.

1945-1948 Major War Crimes Trials

After the German surrender in May 1945, some military leaders were tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The highest ranking generals were included in the trial of 22 major war criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg, Germany beginning in October 1945. Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl, both of the German armed forces high command, were found guilty and executed. Both sought to blame Hitler. However, the IMT explicitly rejected the use of the superior orders as a defense.

Three subsequent IMT trials before an American military tribunal at Nuremberg also focused on the crimes of the German military. Many of those convicted were released early, under the pressure of the Cold War and the establishment of the Bundeswehr. Unfortunately, most perpetrators of crimes against humanity have never been tried or punished.


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