The European Theater of World War II The Second World War is the most terrible war ever fought in the history of the world. The war claimed highest number of lives that any war could claim in the history. The war was fought almost all over the world. Most of the countries in the world were directly or indirectly involved in the war…
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The war started in September 1939 when Hitler’s Germany initiated an attack on Poland while Britain and France called for a war against Germany. Most of the battles fought in the war were fought over the control of different territories in the continent2. It is said that the seed of the Second World War was hidden in the First World War itself. Germany’s humiliation in the Versailles Treaty had injured the German national pride. Hitler used this sentiment cleverly; and rose in the power. Germany went through a lot of economic difficulties3. Germany experienced a severe economic depression during the early 1920s. Hitler blamed it on the terms imposed on Germany at end of the First World War. Hitler stirred up the injured German pride and rose to power in Germany. His Nazi party won the parliamentary election in July 1912 and in January 1933 he became the chancellor of Germany4. German Invasion of Poland: On 1st September 1939 Hitler’s army marched into Poland. On September 3, Britain and France initiated war against Germany to safeguard Poland. This is known as the official beginning of the war. However Hitler’s aggression started the year before, when he annexed Austria with Germany with support from Mussolini’s Italy. Then Hitler threatened Czechoslovakia and wanted Sudetenland. In the Munich Pact the Czechs gave away Sudetenland on French and British request. However, few months after Hitler took reminder of Czechoslovakia violating the Munich pact. During this period Poland continued to get threats from Germany. Britain vowed to help Poland if Germany threatens its independence. Poland already had a mutual treaty with France5 (Feldman, 2000, pp. 38-43). So, when Germany attacked Poland, Britain and France went on to wage a war against Germany. Poland had a strong military force but they were no match to the German panzer division and the motorized division; in addition the Germans had a large fleet of modern aircrafts where, the Poles had a medium size fleet of obsolete aircrafts. Germany used tanks and air power simultaneously. Its bombers continued to bomb Warsaw for days. This is famously known as the blitzkrieg. Within a few days Germany took almost whole of the country. The remaining small part of the Poland was controlled by the Soviet Union; as the soviet force invaded that part of Poland in the name of defending Poland and itself6. However after the takeover of Poland nothing much happened. Although Britain and France declared war on Germany they took a defensive stand. This was called by the U. S. newspapers the Phony War7. The Soviet Finnish War: In the year 1939 Finland was the victim of an invasion led by Soviet Union. But they did not get much success; the Finnish army, though heavily outnumbered, fiercely resisted the red army. This rose world opinion against the Soviet Union. This also gave England and France an opportunity to enter Finland and help it. Britain and France had also other aims; they wanted an opening to enter Germany. The asked for help from Norway and Sweden too. But both the countries refused permission to build a camp on their soil8. Attack on Denmark and Norway: The month of April, 1940 witnessed the attack on Norway and Denmark by Hitler. Denmark surrendered at once. But, Norway decided to fight9. With the help from the British and the French, Norway put up a resistance for sometime. At last they surrendered
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