• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
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  • W
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  • WAR GUILT AND REPARATIONS
  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • W

    style='font-size:31.5pt;font-family:ATClassicRoman;color:black'>ORLD WAR II AND HOLOCAUST

     

    WAR IN THE WEST

    Resuming the offensive, Germany attacked Denmark and Norway on April 9,

    1940. Those areas were of strategic importance as Great Britain had already set

    mines to stop the supply of Swedish iron ore from Norwegian ports, one that

    was essential for German steel production. Denmark surrendered immediately,

    but the Norwegians after a strong resistance with the assistance of 50,000

    British troops capitulated on June 9. The Norwegians did some harm to the

    German navy by sinking the cruiser Blücher and damaging the battleship

    144

    Deutschland and the cruiser Emden. Nevertheless, the Germans seized the capital

    and established their own puppet government under Vidkun Quisling,

    whose name became synonymous with traitor during the war. A positive result

    for the democracies, however, was the fall of British prime minister Neville

    Chamberlain, whose policy of appeasement had failed to prevent war. As an

    advocate of taking a hard line toward Hitler, Winston Churchill now became

    Englands new prime minister on May 10, 1940. He had been an early and

    forceful critic of Hitler and the British policy of appeasement.

    On May 10 the Germans launched their attack on the Netherlands, Belgium,

    and France. Instead of repeating their World War I strategy and being unable

    to directly assault the Maginot defensive line through Belgium, the Germans

    planned to attack through Luxembourg and the Ardennes forest. The success

    of this strategy made its author, General Erich von Manstein, famous. The

    panzer divisions raced across northern France and split the Allies, trapping the

    British army at Dunkirk. From there the British accomplished what was a

    heroic and remarkable rescue of some 330,000 troops. On June 5 the Germans

    invaded southern France and were joined by Italian forces after Mussolini

    declared war on France. The French were never able to mount a counteroffensive

    and surrendered on June 22. At the end of the campaign the German

    armies occupied about three-fifths of France while the Vichy regime headed by

    Marshal Henri Pétain controlled the rest. The Vichy regime was a puppet state,

    and the French government took up residence in England. Hitler was overjoyed

    that he had revenged the German defeat of World War I. He also proved to himself

    that he had been correct in pursuing the risky policies that had brought

    Germany a resounding victory and that the generals and diplomats who had

    opposed this strategy were wrong. The dictator was now convinced that he was

    a military genius, and the German people hailed him as a conquering hero.

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