80th Anniversary of the Beginning of World War Two

May 2017
1,128
France
#41
I agree with you when you say that some old soldiers of 14-18 fought in 39-45,and that there was a treaty which closed the franco-prussian war of 70-71 (Francfort).But there was also in 14-18 old soldiers,generals ,who fought in 70-71.One of my gran aunts,Valentine Dupuy Montbrun (1860-1940),teacher in a protestant school girl in Alsacia,suicided herself for escaping to a third occupation in 1940.
 
Dec 2015
3,742
USA
#42
Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War Two in Europe, which began on September 1st, 1939, with Germany's attack on Poland. Only days later Britain and France declared war on Germany, honouring their obligations to Poland. As the evidence points out, Hitler and the leadership of the Third Reich believed Western powers have no stomach for a fight, encouraged by Britain and France's lukewarm response to Hitler's actions in Czechoslovakia and the Rhineland. The British policy of appeasement had convinced Hitler he could get away with attacking Poland (despite previous signals from Britain it would not stand by if Germany invades the country). Hitler's attitude towards Britain was best summarized in his dismissive attitude towards Chamberlain following the Munich Peace Conference. Hitler felt cheated by the British PM's peace initiative, for he had already resolved by that time to deal with the Czechs with force. However, as in the case of the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, Hitler's intention to provoke Western powers over the question of Sudetenland was met with resistance and concern in the German high command. Top ranking German officers were worried that Germany was not prepared for the war against Britain and France and that Hitler's policy was leading towards a disaster. As British historian Ian Kershaw writes in his acclaimed biography of Hitler:



Hitler, Kershaw, XIV, V

Talk of a military coup against Hitler existed during the Rhineland crisis, with the general being fearful of potential British reaction, but clearly, that time, as during the Munich crisis later, their fears proved unfounded.

Kershaw makes it clear British appeasement policy strengthened Hitler's hold over Germany, increased his popularity, as he was now viewed as a hero by the Germans, a man who, without the drop of blood achieved the long-sought reclamation of Germany's status in Europe and the return of territories considered German by the majority of the populace at that time.



Hitler, Kershaw, XIV, V



Hitler, Kershaw, XIV, V

No subsequent war Hitler unleashed had met with any significant resistance from the German military. His campaign against France was not met by resistance, nor, most importantly, was his decision to attack the USSR, and his enthusiasm about a swift and crushing military blow against the Soviets was shared by almost all of his generals. Hitler's frequents disagreements and the long-standing rift between him and the military HQ did not alter the bigger picture: German military had tied its fate with the Hitler regime, despite the opposition of some high ranking officers like Henning von Tresckow, who was one of the principal planners of the 20th July plot which was the last-ditch attempt by some circles in the military to remove Hitler and try to negotiate some kind of a peace with the Allies, or at least, the Western allies.

Back to the outbreak of the war and what I wrote in the beginning, Hitler believed the war with Poland could be localized, and the German government hinted that it was prepared to discuss peace with Britain repeatedly. Hitler offered peace to Britain in his speech to the Reichstag on October 6th but by that time, both sides knew there was no going back. Even though Hitler would entertain the prospects of a separate peace with Britain on many occasions (many people in his inner circle talked about this possibility) his gamble over Poland proved to be one of the significant aspects of his undoing.
Great thread and an important reminder of WW2.

I have some questions and comments for this thread. What do you hope folks learn from WW2? There are tons of #s and statistics, battle plans to discuss, but how much of a moral lesson should folks learn from WW2? In other words when WW2 is taught in grade schools, how much time should be given to discussing the years of battles and the leaders involved, and how much time should be given to the moral lessons of WW2?


How much of a role did China play on the allied side in winning WW2? How many Chinese Communists and Chinese nationalists fought together in WW2?



One thing I have always wondered wrt the Hitler Era is what were Germanys true interest in Poland. Poland like Germany has a Catholic/Christian history one that includes Kings and Grand armies going to battle. How many Germans and Polish folks co operated during WW2. German Poland relations of the 20th century is something I barely know of and would like to learn more of. Was there any sort of a shot at Germany and Poland becoming allies or at least neutral in WW2? And alliances changed in the inter period, think of how Italy and Japan switched sides.

Prior to 1941 and even through WW2, US and British companies operated in Germany, Hitler and Chamberlain shook Hands, The USSR and Germany had a joint invasion of Poland. There were mass pro Third Reich rallies held in London and NYC(was there ever such a rally in the USSR)How should Americans, Soviets and British folks feel today due to the fact all these powers worked with the Third Reich before going to war together as allies against the Reich?

How did Americans, Brits and Soviets feel about the German people as well as Hitler and Reich leaders before and after 1941?
 
May 2017
1,128
France
#43
The US community of Paris didn t wait 1941 for fighting againt Hitler.A lot of them engaged in the Foreign Legion-like in 1870 and 1914-and were affected in first line.They didn t want to pass their time in north Africa,they wanted to fight for the nation of Lafayette.
In 1914,they went with their "personal plane…" (success).
In 1939,they went with their cases of whisky (big successes).
The 2d regiment of Foreign Legion could not forgett them.With the american Legion,each year,i carry the flowers on their cimetaries of Neuilly and Suresnes-Rueil Malmaison.
 
Likes: JoanOfArc007

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,591
San Antonio, Tx
#44
Well, it only became a WORLD War when Germany attacked Poland prompting UK and France to declare war. The Second Sino-Japanese War was not a WORLD War, it only became part of one when Japan attacked the US, the British and the Dutch.
Many years ago, I read a book by an author with the last name of Lukasch (?) called The Last European War. The title is apt. It was not a world war when Hitler attacked Poland. You’re right about this.
 

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