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The German invasion of Poland on 1 September, 1939, designated as Fall Weiss (Case White), was the event that sparked the outbreak of World War II in Europe. The campaign has widely been described as a textbook example of Blitzkrieg, but it was actually a fairly conventional campaign as the Wehrmacht was still learning how to use its new Panzers and dive-bombers. The Polish military is often misrepresented as hopelessly obsolete and outclassed by the Wehrmacht, yet in fact it was well-equipped with modern weapons and armor. Indeed, the Polish possessed more tanks than the British and had cracked the German Enigma machine cipher. Though the combined assault from Germany and the Soviet Union defeated Poland, it could not crush the Polish fighting spirit and thousands of soldiers and airmen escaped to fight on other fronts. The result of Case White was a brutal occupation, as Polish Slavs found themselves marginalized and later eliminated, paving the way for Hitler's vision of Lebensraum (living space) and his later betrayal and invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Using a wide array of sources, Robert Forczyk challenges the myths of Case White to tell the full story of the invasion that sparked history's greatest conflict.Show more
Even after the legendary evacuation from Dunkirk in June 1940 there were still large British formations fighting the Germans alongside their French allies. After mounting a vigorous counterattack at Abbeville and then engaging a tough defence along the Somme, the British were forced to conduct a second evacuation from the ports of Le Havre, Cherbourg, Brest, and St Nazaire. While France was in its death throes, politicians and soldiers debated what to do-flee to England or North Africa, to seek an armistice. Case Red captures the drama of the final three weeks of military operations in France in June 1940, and explains the great impact it had on the course of relations between Britain and France during the remainder of the war. It also addresses the military, political, and human drama of France's collapse in June 1940, and how the windfall of captured military equipment, fuel, and industrial resources enhanced the Third Reich's ability to attack its next foe-the Soviet Union.Show more
In May 1940, Nazi Germany was master of continental Europe. The only European power still standing was Great Britain-and the all-conquering German armed forces stood poised to cross the Channel. Following the destruction of the RAF fighter forces, the sweeping of the Channel of mines, and the wearing down of the Royal Naval defenders, two German army groups were set to storm the beaches of southern England. Despite near-constant British fears from August to October, the invasion never took place after first being postponed to spring 1941 before finally being abandoned entirely. Robert Forczyk, author of Where the Iron Crosses Grow, looks beyond the traditional British account of Operation Sea Lion, complete with plucky Home Guards and courageous Spitfire pilots, at the real scale of German ambition, plans, and capabilities. He examines, in depth, how Operation Sea Lion fitted in with German air-sea actions around the British Isles as he shows exactly what stopped Hitler from invading Britain.Show more
The Crimea was one of the crucibles of the war on the Eastern Front, where first a Soviet and then a German army were surrounded, fought desperate battles, and were eventually destroyed. The fighting in the region was unusual for the Eastern Front in many ways, in that naval supply, amphibious landings, and naval evacuation played major roles, while both sides were also conducting ethnic cleansing as part of their strategy—the Germans eliminating the Jews and the Soviets purging the region of Tartars. From 1941, when the Soviets first created the Sevastopol fortified region, the Crimea was a focal point of the war in the East. German forces under the noted commander Manstein conquered the area in 1941–42, which was followed by two years of brutal colonization and occupation before the Soviet counteroffensive in 1944 destroyed the German 17th Army.Show more