How Hitler Destroyed Europe In Just 2 Short Years

How Hitler Destroyed Europe In Just 2 Short Years

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It’s early morning. The air is still; stars shine  brightly in the sky. There is anticipation in the   atmosphere as if it is waiting for a lightning  storm of metal to break the peacefulness.   Suddenly, the howl of plane engines breaks the  stillness; the roar of diesel engines carries   tanks across the landscape; the marching of  troops shakes the Earth. Nazi Germany has begun   its invasion of Europe. In two short years, Adolf  Hitler will control most of the battle-scarred   continent. How could so much destruction  happen so quickly? One word: Blitzkrieg. The Nazis were able to conquer much of Europe  in an unbelievably short amount of time. But  

once you realize that this was an absolute  necessity, that Hitler and his top generals   had no choice and planned for this, things  become much clearer. The pain of World War   I was still entrenched in the Führer’s mind,  along with the collective consciousness of   the German people. When Hitler and the Nazi  Party began to plan their conquest of Europe,   they knew that it needed to be done quickly  and decisively. Germany could not win a  

prolonged war fought on several fronts,  no matter how badly Hitler wanted it. This meant new tactics needed to be tested  and honed to ensure Nazi German would be   victorious. When Adolf Hitler was appointed  chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933,   he immediately started implementing laws and  using his influence to rev up the German war   machine. Huge amounts of money and resources  were dedicated to research and development  

in order to make sure that Germany had  the fastest tanks, deadliest aircraft,   and most powerful weapons. It was the investment  in wartime technology that allowed the Germans   to devise a plan to conquer their neighbors  and expand the Nazi Empire across Europe. In order to ramp up production and basically  resurrect the German military from scratch,   Hitler needed more land and resources. He  couldn’t start his war without the proper  

equipment and weapons, so the dictator  needed to be strategic about how he   acquired the territory around Germany.  Hitler didn’t want Allied nations to   catch onto his plan until it was too late.  No one wanted to fight another World War,   so many European powers took a non-confrontational  stance when it came to keeping Germany in check.  

Hitler knew this and planned on exploiting the  unwillingness of his enemies to engage in war. On March 7, 1936, German troops entered and  re-occupied the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone   set up by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was  strictly forbidden from reclaiming the Rhineland   by Allied nations after World War I as they knew  it was a resource-rich region that could be used   to fuel the German economy and its manufacturing  centers. Rather than standing up to Hitler,   Allied nations backed down and seceded  the Rhineland to Germany without a fight.

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For the next three years, Germany developed  more powerful weapons and state-of-the-art   vehicles. While more soldiers were  being trained and wartime machinery   was being constructed at factories across  Germany and its newly acquired territories,   Hitler and his advisors discussed how they would  begin their war to create the Third Reich. It’s   not hard to imagine Hitler, Himmler, Göring,  and Goebbels sitting around a table plotting   the destruction of the world because this  is exactly what they did. Hitler’s dreams   didn’t stop with the annihilation of Europe; he  wanted to bring the entire planet to its knees.

As the Nazis strategized the perfect way  to conquer their enemies and cleanse the   continent of anyone they saw as being impure,  wartime production was reaching its pinnacle.   When the summer of 1939 came to an end, Nazi  Germany had everything it needed to launch an   invasion into neighboring countries and begin  its conquest of Europe. Hitler had a plan,   the best military vehicles in the region, and a  desire to conquer anyone who stood in his way. The Naizs decided they would wage war using a form  of warfare that became known as Blitzkrieg. This   word translates to “lightning war.” The Blitzkrieg  tactic would ensure that the Nazis could win  

battles quickly and continuously move towards  their next target. There would be no trenches,   and there would be no slowing down. What made  this type of warfare possible were the advances in   technology that allowed Nazi tanks to be heavily  armored while also being able to travel quickly   across different landscapes. Also, advances in  aviation meant that the Nazis could drop more  

bombs with somewhat better accuracy. On top of  all of this, radio communication had improved,   allowing generals to send orders over  longer distances much quicker than before. All of these technological advances enabled  Germany to wage a Blitzkrieg-style war,   which would result in the destruction of Europe. The Blitzkrieg tactic was simple yet  highly effective. Before an attack,   the German Luftwaffe would conduct a series of  bombing runs behind enemy lines to slow down   reinforcements and supplies. Reconnaissance would  be conducted on the location and the strength   of enemy forces was determined by spies and  scouting units. The intel gathered would be  

used to identify weak points in the enemy line,  which would be exploited. It was these locations   where tank divisions struck and signaled the  beginning of the end for Germany’s enemies. When the time was right, the order would  be given for heavily armored Panzer tanks   to advance. They would crash into the enemy line  supported by troops and artillery. At this point,  

the goal was not to defeat the enemy, or even to  win the battle. Instead, the Nazi forces would   focus their efforts on a specific spot until they  could break through and move past enemy forces.   Once the line was breached, the tanks would flood  through the opening, followed by infantry and   heavily armed vehicles. The tanks would continue  to push forward as the rest of the military forces   secured key points along the corridor that  the tanks had created through enemy territory. This corridor would then be used to flood more  troops into enemy-controlled territory. They  

would be followed by convoys full of supplies  to make sure that Nazi forces had the munitions   and resources they needed to continue their  advance forward. This same tactic would be   carried out at numerous weak spots along the  enemy line, creating multiple points where   Nazi forces could enter and advance deeper into  enemy territory. While all this was happening,   the Luftwaffe would be called once again  to conduct bombing runs on airbases,   supply depots, and convoys. This kept the  enemy from resupplying their front lines   as the Nazi ground forces slowly  started to encircle their armies.

By driving a hole through the enemy line, it  caused mass disorganization among their foes.   As the enemy tried to regroup, they would find  that the Nazis had set up blockades all along   the corridor that they had created and were  using to advance further into the region. This   meant that enemy forces were isolated from one  another and could not regroup. The Nazis would   then send troops to open the breach wider to  allow for more maneuverability. These soldiers,   accompanied by artillery, would ensure  the gap was heavily fortified to keep   enemy forces from refilling it. If the enemy  was ever allowed to close their lines before  

the Panzers could encircle them, it could  lead to devastating losses for the Nazis. However, it was rare that once the Germans  broke an enemy line and started sending   troops and supplies through the gap,  they would ever be outmaneuvered. The   speed at which the tanks moved and the  constant bombardment by German aircraft   and artillery almost guaranteed a victory in  the early years of the war. The forces that   were now behind enemy lines would circle  back around and trap any forces that did   not retreat fast enough. These soldiers would  either be forced to surrender or slaughtered. This form of warfare was the go-to tactic for  the Nazis, and it worked better than anyone   could have ever imagined. The Blitzkrieg  style of warfare is what allowed the Nazis  

to destroy practically every army they came  up against. Using their superior vehicles,   weapons, and tactics, the Germans were able  to invade and capture country after country.   A wave of destruction swept through Europe,  and it all started on September 1, 1939.

It was 4:45 in the morning as the  Schleswig-Holstein battleship bobbed   up and down in the black waters of the Baltic  Sea. The captain of the vessel was given the   order to fire on a military transit depot located  in Westerplatte, Poland. At the same time, Nazi   forces were already crossing the Polish border in  a Blitzkrieg fashion. As German troops advanced,   Luftwaffe aircraft flew overhead to carry  out bombing runs on key military bases and   supply centers. The initial days of the  invasion of Poland would show the world  

just how deadly the Nazi military could  be. Even more terrifying was how quickly   German forces were able to plow through  Polish forces and capture the country. The Nazis found weak points along the  border and exploited them. They drove   a wedge through entire army groups, encircled  them, and forced a surrender. Polish leaders   pleaded with France and Britain for help as  they had agreed to protect the integrity of   the Polish borders only five months earlier.  Their cries for help were met with silence.

Nazi troops continued to flood across  the Polish border, and although France   and Britain eventually declared war on  Germany, it was too late. Poland had been   completely captured and occupied in just  over a month. This showed the terrifying   speed at which Germany could attack,  dismantle, and conquer an entire nation. To be fair, the Nazis did have a little help  with the invasion of Poland from East Prussia   and the Soviet Union. However, in the battles  to come, Germany would not need or want help as  

their Blitzkrieg would rip through enemy lines  and allow them to capture thousands of Allied   soldiers, decimate entire armored divisions, and  systematically destroy specific parts of Europe. After the dust had settled in Poland,  the rest of Europe looked on in horror   at what Adolf Hitler and his forces had done.  There was a mobilization of every able-bodied   man in the countries to the west of Germany.  No one wanted to believe it, but deep down,   they knew it was only a matter of time before  the full might of the Nazi military would advance   across their borders. Hitler claimed that Poland  had attacked Germany first and that he was just   rescuing the Polish people who were ethnically  German. This clearly wasn’t true, but the Allies   didn’t want to be thrown into another catastrophic  war so soon after World War I had ended. And since  

Poland had been completely captured, there  was no longer an ally to save in the region. This was messed up as the Polish people were  now forced to serve Hitler and the Nazis while   the Allies turned a blind eye. They hesitated to  take decisive action and instead slowly prepared   to defend themselves. No one thought that Germany  would attack again so soon after their invasion   of Poland since the fighting of the previous  World War was relatively slow and tedious.  

It wasn’t until Hitler’s next move that the  Allies realized just how greatly they had   underestimated the Führer’s thirst for blood.  They would not be engaging in trench warfare   like in World War I. The German Blitzkrieg was  an entirely different animal that the Allies   would need to adjust for. Unfortunately,  the very nature of the Nazi tactic meant   there would be no time to plan or set up  defenses to counteract Hitler’s Lightning   War. Six months after Poland fell and  as Allied governments were still trying   to figure out what to do about Adolf Hitler  and his new regime, the unthinkable happened. On April 9, 1940, Germany  invaded Denmark. Once again,  

the Luftwaffe was sent in on bombing runs  to decimate supply depots and military   bases. The Nazis also deployed paratroopers  behind the enemy’s lines, which sped up the   encirclement of their forces. The Blitzkrieg  tactic used in Poland was still in effect,   but there were new components that Nazi  military leaders had implemented. Denmark   knew there was no way they would be able to stop  the Nazi forces surging across their borders. German tanks pushed further north as  ships carrying Nazi troops landed at   major ports throughout the country. However,   the invasion of Denmark was only the beginning  of Hitler's plans. It took one day for the Natzi  

Blitzkrieg to conquer the country before  they headed to their next target, Norway. However, something incredible happened in  the middle of all this chaos. When word   got out that the Nazis were rounding up  Jews and deporting them from the country,   the Danish people came together as a sort of  underground network. Non-Jewish households   would hide Jews until they could secure safe  passage to Sweden. Thousands of Jews living in   Denmark were saved this way. They were hidden  aboard fishing vessels that would then sail  

into the Baltic. At the time, there wasn’t a  significant Nazi naval presence in the region,   and what was there couldn’t be bothered with  searching every fishing boat leaving the docks. Once in Sweden, the Jewish people found asylum  as the country remained remain neutral throughout   the war and would be spared from the  onslaught of Nazi forces due to its   location and a little bit of luck. Later in  the war, the Nazis did pass through Sweden,   but Germany would never occupy the country.  However, the nation next to Sweeden wouldn’t  

be so lucky as the Nazi plague went through  Denmark and into Norway the following day. Norway posed a slight problem for the Nazi tactic  used thus far. The country was long and narrow,   and the terrain was mountainous and heavily  forested. This was not ideal for deploying   tanks and using them to bash through enemy  lines. Therefore, the Nazis had to use their  

Navy to drop heavy weapons and vehicles on  Norway’s shores and then maneuver them into   position. Paratroopers were airdropped in, but  unlike Denmark, conquering Norway wasn’t as easy. The Norwegians put up a fight and  managed to sink several Nazi ships,   which stalled their invasion force. It took a  couple of months, but Germany finally defeated   Norway and began using its heavy water facilities  to conduct experiments that could lead to the   development of the atomic bomb. Thankfully,  Norwegian resistance forces sabotaged these   facilities before the Nazis could complete their  research, saving Europe from a nuclear holocaust. Once Germany secured the countries to its  north, it was time to move west. In May of   1940, Adolf Hitler launched his offensive  across Europe. This would prove to be the  

most destructive and successful campaign for the  Germans during World War II. In the coming weeks,   the Nazis would use Blitzkrieg tactics to  decimate entire armies all the way into   France. After this offensive, the Nazi Empire  would extend across the European continent. On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, the  Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France. In Belgium,  

the Nazis launched a series of air raids.  This was done to demolish bases and weaken   the Allied air force in the region. It  was vital for the German Blitzkrieg that   they maintained air superiority so that bombs  could be dropped behind enemy lines to disrupt   resupply routes. After the Luftwaffe completed  its bombing runs, tanks, armored vehicles,   and infantry rushed toward the Belgian  lines. They almost immediately broke   through and began creating a Nazi corridor  deeper and deeper into Allied territory. This same tactic worked  again and again. By May 28th,  

all of Belgium was under Nazi control. Their  troops had either surrendered, fled to France,   or were dead on the battlefield. Everywhere  the Nazi war machine went, it left destruction   in its wake. Entire cities were reduced to  rubble, and towns were wiped off the map.

The invasion of the Netherlands started at the  same time as Belgium, but the Luftwaffe used   a slightly different tactic. The planes  flew over the Netherlands and into the   North Sea. This suggested they were headed to  England to carry out air raids there. However,   this was decoy. When the Dutch let their  guard down, the bombers turned around  

and destroyed numerous military installations  along with the city of Rotterdam. Now that the   Dutch airfields were obliterated, the Nazis  began to drop paratroopers into the country.   On the front lines, Panzer tank divisions  slammed into the entrenched Dutch forces,   breaking their defenses, and with the help  of the paratroopers already in the country,   encircled the Allied forces. Four days later,  the Netherlands was under Nazi occupation. It  

was the fear that other cities would be bombed  to oblivion like Rotterdam had been and the speed   at which the Nazi military swept through the  country that prompted such a quick surrender. There was also a surprisingly unique group  of Nazi soldiers fighting in the Netherlands.   German forces were spread out across the borders  of several countries, meaning that every soldier   counted. When the Blitzkrieg broke the Dutch  line of defense, the 1st Kavalleriedivision   shot through the gap to start the encirclement  process. What is unique about this unit is that  

it was a cavalry division. It may seem strange  that the Nazis brought horses to a tank fight,   but the cavalry could get behind the enemy  and capture Dutch soldiers efficiently. It   makes sense that the Nazis would still use cavalry  during World War II, as horses could cross rough   terrain much quicker than vehicles could. And  in Blitzkrieg warfare, timing was everything.

Luxembourg succumbed to the Lightning  warfare of the Nazis in just one day.   Few Allied soldiers were stationed in the country,   so the Panzer divisions rolled across the  border mostly unopposed. Nazi troops captured   strategic points as they brought up the rear  to ensure the front lines could be resupplied.

The Nazis now needed to find a way into France.  The Allied forces had set up a formidable line of   defense using the Maginot Line, a series of  fortifications built to protect France from   another repeat of what happened in World War I.  And now that Germany was once again knocking on   their door, the French were glad to have it.  There was only one problem. The fortifications   did not extend across the entire French border.  The Maginot Line had been completed on the   French-German border but not along the border of  Belgium. The French thought that the countries  

to its North East would act as a buffer to  stop a German invasion. They were wrong. The Nazis realized that by passing  through the Ardennes Forest in Belgium,   they could reach France and breach the Allied  defenses. General Paul Ludwig von Kleist ordered   his Panzers through the dense Ardennes. They  came out of the forest near the French border,   where they met little resistance. Simultaneously,  German forces defeated the Allies in the Somme   valley. Both of these Nazi advances cut off groups  of soldiers from the rest of their comrades. The Nazis pushed further and further into  France, making sure to continuously create   corridors that their troops and supplies  could pass through while also cutting off   and encircling as many Allied units as possible.  The British Expeditionary Force, French army,  

and leftover Belgian units were pushed all  the way back to Dunkirk, where Operation   Dynamo was conducted to evacuate as many  soldiers as possible from France to Britain. What is incredible about this event in World War  II is that Hitler ordered his forces to halt just   outside of Dunkirk. This was an odd choice since  the whole battle plan for Germany was based around   the Blitzkrieg tactic. Stopping his forces instead  of continuing with this plan made no sense,   and ironically, is one of the things that  cost Adolf Hitler the war. Giving the Allies   time to evacuate a large part of their forces  out of France meant that they could regroup   and fight later in the war. If Hitler had  stuck to his Blitzkrieg plan at Dunkirk,   it’s likely that the Nazis would have  defeated and captured an enormous amount   of Allied soldiers, which would have made a  Nazi victory in Europe all but inevitable.

Other than what happened at Dunkirk, Nazi forces  continued to use the Blitzkrieg tactic across   France to break Allied lines. After Hitler  finally took Dunkirk by once again ordering   his troops forward, he ordered his Panzer  divisions to proceed deeper into France,   where they captured Paris and  dismantled the French government. On June 22, 1940, the Second Armistice at  Compiègne was signed. This divided France   into two halves: the German-occupied north and the  Free Zone in the south. The new Vichy government   was set up and led by a fascist named Marshal  Philippe Pétain. The new French State was run   by a puppet government, and even though southern  France technically wasn’t occupied by Germany,   Pétain would do anything Hitler asked  of him. It was at this point in history  

that Hitler's empire spanned from Poland  all the way across Europe to the Atlantic   Ocean. The only two unoccupied countries  on the European continent were Switzerland   and Sweden. Both of these nations claimed  they would remain neutral, and therefore,   Hitler saw no rush to invade them as there  were much more pressing matters at hand. It’s worth noting that less than a year after  Nazi Germany declared war by invading Poland,   it controlled a massive amount of land in  Europe. Spain and Portugal were both run   by fascists who were in awe of Hitler’s  strength and would be left to their own   devices for the time being. The Nazi’s  Blitzkrieg had left northern Europe’s  

landscape scared with craters and littered  with the ruins of what were once towns. It   would take some time before things could be  rebuilt, but the only thing on Hitler's mind   was ramping up his concentration camp program and  procuring the rest of Europe for his Third Reich. Just under a year after conquering France,  Adolf Hitler desperately needed to secure   more resources to continue fueling his  military. However, there were pressing   matters to attend to in southern Europe. Italy  had been a devout ally but pretty useless when  

it came to capturing Northern Africa and  keeping Allied forces in the region at   bay. Hitler decided he needed to send help  to keep enemy forces from attacking Germany   from the south. To do this, the Nazis needed  to gain control of a couple more countries. In April of 1941, Hitler launched an  air attack of epic proportions against   Yugoslavia. Nazi forces had spent the past  several months dealing with uprisings and   replacing their lost men and vehicles  from the Blitzkrieg through Europe.   However, ever since the massive offensive into  France, things had been pretty quiet, until now.

Panzer tanks pushed their way into Yugoslavia  from the north. Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria,   who were all Nazi allies launched troops into  Yugoslavia from all sides. The Blitzkrieg tactic   was used once again, and 12 days after the  invasion began, it was over. The swiftness  

of the victory mostly came about due to the  several Panzer divisions that were deployed   in the region to smash through enemy lines just as  they had done in all of their previous victories. As the Nazis forced their way through  Yugoslavia, they also invaded Greece.   Again this started with a bombardment from  the skies followed by a Panzer corps wedging   themselves between Allied forces. It took until  the very end of April, but by the summer of 1941,   Germany and its allies controlled  almost all of continental Europe. It had been just under two years since  Hitler started World War II and Europe   was now in shambles. Every single country  that Germany attacked and occupied had been   ravaged by the Blitzkreig style of fighting  and the subsequent extraction of resources   and manpower by the Nazis to continue their  war effort. It was the superior weapons,  

vehicles, and tactics that allowed  Adolf Hitler to rewrite borders,   decimate nations, and force multitudes  of people into serving his Third Reich. But he got greedy. Hitler wanted more, and the  only way he could get more was by invading the   Soviet Union. This decision would lead to his  demise and the collapse of the Nazi Empire he   had built. If Hitler had continued to use his  Lightening Warfare to control all of Europe and   left the Soviets alone, there is a very real  possibility that everyone in Europe would be   speaking German and Sieg Heiling the Nazi flag.  Luckily, Adolf Hitler made several mistakes,   and the war dragged on for longer  than he had anticipated. However,  

there is no denying that it only took him  two short years to bring most of Europe to   its knees, and this was all thanks to  Germany’s Blitzkrieg style of warfare. Now watch “Hitler's Plans for the World if   He Won.” Or check out “What  Happened to Hitler's Body.”

2023-02-27 07:53

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