Wehrmacht History 1935 to 1945

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From The German Perspective




Admiral Graf Spee

History

Admiral Graf Spee
Commissioned 6 January 1936

A plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935. With Adolf Hitler anxious for the propaganda advantages of the return of the Saar to Germany, Joseph Goebbels designed a concerted campaign to sway voters. The support of the local Catholic authorities for a return also helped, as did concerns about Bolshevism, against which Adolf Hitler was seen as a bulwark. With a voter participation of 98%, the result of the plebiscite was that the overwhelming majority, 90.8%, voted to return to Germany, with only 8.8% wanting to retain the status quo, principally as they did not wish to be ruled by National Socialists. A third option of joining France received 0.4% of the vote.

Admiral Hipper Heavy cruiser
Launched 6 February 1937

Adolf Hitler met with Konstantin von Neurath and his Ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop on 12 February 1936 to ask their opinion of the likely foreign response to remilitarisation Konstantin von Neurath endorsed remilitarisation, but contended that Germany should negotiate more before doing so while Joachim von Ribbentrop argued for unilateral remilitarisation at once. Joachim von Ribbentrop told Adolf Hitler that if France went to war in reaction to German remilitarisation, then United Kingdom would take arms with France, an assessment of the situation that Konstantin von Neurath did not agree with, but one that encouraged Adolf Hitler to go ahead with remilitarisation.

Hansa Auxiliary cruiser
Commissioned 12 February 1944

Friedrich Karl Topp
Takes command of the Battleship Tirpitz on 25 February 1941 to 24 February 1943

Z38 Destroyer
Commissioned 20 March 1943

On 31 March 1937, Bombers of the Luftwaffe Condor Legion in Spain, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed the mountain strongholds of the Republicans, not easily reached by artillery, and battered the key village of Ochandiano before it was quickly taken by the Army of Navarre. In the same region, the Spanish Nationalist forces, commanded by General Emilio Mola y Vidal, began an offensive against Basque forces in Vizcaya with the intention of capturing the Basque stronghold of Bilbao.

On 10 April 1938, At the Reichstag elections were held in Germany including recently annexed Austria on 10 April 1938. They were the final elections to the Reichstag during National Socialists rule and took the form of a single-question referendum asking whether voters approved of a single National Socialists Party list for the 813 member Reichstag as well as the recent annexation of Austria the Anschluss. Turnout in the election was officially 99.5% with 98.9% voting yes. In the case of Austria, Adolf Hitler's native soil, 99.71% of an electorate of 4,484,475 officially went to the ballots, with a positive tally of 99.73%.

Cap Arcona Troop ship
Sunk 3 May 1945

On 6 May 1939, Carl Friedrich Goerdeler tells the British government that the German and Russian governments are secretly beginning a reconciliation with the aim of carving up Eastern Europe between them. Carl Friedrich Goerdeler also informs the British of German economic problems which he states threaten the survival of the national socialist regime, and advises that if a firm stand is made for Poland, then Adolf Hitler will be deterred from war.

The Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed at 6 50 PM on 22 June 1940 near Compiègne. Adolf Hitler deliberately chose Compiègne Forest as the site to sign the armistice due to its symbolic role as the site of the 1918 Armistice with Germany that signalled the end of World War I with a German defeat.

On 5 July 1941, Russian Front, Fighting reported that Murmansk, Kandalaksha and on Karelian Isthmus. Berlin claimed advance despite stubborn resistance. Soviet forces repulsed repeated attempts to cross rivers Beresina and Drut. The Wehrmacht claimed that forces east of Minsk had reached river Dnieper. In Ukraine Russians admitted that enemy tank thrust was developing in direction of` Novgorod-Volinsk. In Bessarabia the Wehrmacht crossed the river Pruth at several points, but further advance was held. Hungarians claimed capture of Stanislawowp, and Kolomea.

On 7 August 1942, South Pacific (SOPAC). First Marine Division invades Guadalcanal. Eleventh Air Force. 3 United States Army Air Force (USAAF) B-24 Liberator heavy bombers dispatched to bomb Kiska return with their bombs due to solid overcast. 4 more B-24 Liberator heavy bombers also depart for Kiska. 1 turns back with mechanical trouble, the others abort mission over target due to undercast. 1 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers, 4 P-38 Lightning fighters and an LB-30 bomber fly 2 air coverage missions at Nazan Bay for Navy tenders.

Otto Fein
Takes command of the Battleship Gneisenau on 20 August 1940 to 11 April 1942

On 3 September 1943, Twelfth Air Force. United States Army Air Force (USAAF) P-40 fighters on sweep over Sardinia hit Pula and Capo Carbonara radar installations. A-20 Havoc light bombers, A-36 Apache dive bomber fighters (and The British Royal Air Force (RAF) light bombers) hit gun positions throughout toe of Italy, attack airfields at Crotone and Camigliatello, and hit railway yards at Marina di Catanzaro and Punta di Staletti, troop concentration near Santo Stefano d'Aspromonte and road junctions and bridges at Cosenza. British Eighth Army lands on toe of Italy between Reggio di Calabria and Villa San Giovanni (Operation BAYTOWN). Italian government signs surrender terms.

17 September 1944, Operation Market Garden, United Kingdom-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics-Italy-United Kingdom shuttle mission is completed as 72 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers and 59 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers fly without bombs from Italy to United Kingdom. 2 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers and a P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers abort and a P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers crash lands South West of Paris. 70 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers and 57 P-51 Mustang fighter-bombers land safely in United Kingdom. Over 800 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers escorted by 3 fighters groups bomb 117 flak batteries and installations and an airfield, all in the Netherlands. 16 fighters groups escort aeroplanes of First Allied Airborne Army making parachute and glider drop of 20,000 troops into the Netherlands to secure axis of advance toward Zuider Zee for British Second Army, as part of MARKET-GARDEN, 17-30 September 1944. Troops dropped are I Airborne Corps, consisting of British 1st Airborne Division (with Polish Parachute Brigade) and United States 82d and 101st Airborne Division. The fighters groups also bomb and strafe flak positions and other ground targets, encountering intense flak and about 30 fighters. 16 United States fighters are lost. Claims include 8 aeroplanes and 107 flak positions destroyed.

On 14th October U-47 commanded by Günther Prien attacks a strongly defended naval base of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands and sinks the British battleship HMS Royal Oak.

Nürnberg Light cruiser
Commissioned 2 November1935

Thor HSK 4 Auxiliary cruiser
Destroyed 30 November 1942

Gallery

Admiral Graf Spee
Admiral Hipper Heavy cruiser
Hansa Auxiliary cruiser
Z38 Destroyer
Cap Arcona Troop ship
U-47
Nürnberg Light cruiser
Thor HSK 4 Auxiliary cruiser

Sources

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