September 5th in German History: The Birth of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb

During the Second World War, all branches of the German military committed war crimes to some degree. Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb was a member of the old guard of the Wehrmacht who was fired by Hitler and who claimed to to have been innocent. He was born on September 5th, 1876. Leeb was born inContinue reading “September 5th in German History: The Birth of Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb”

September 4th in German History: Fritz Todt is Born

A few days ago, I discussed Albert Speer. Speer was catapulted to the height of his power by the death of another man, Fritz Todt. Todt was the Minister for Armaments and Production before his death in 1942. He was born on September 4th, 1891. Todt was born in Baden, in the south of Germany,Continue reading “September 4th in German History: Fritz Todt is Born”

September 3rd in German History: France and the UK begin the blockade of Germany

In every war Germany has fought with the UK, the Royal Navy has been able to cut off Germany from oceanic trade. WWII was no different. On September 3rd, two days after Germany invaded Poland, Great Britain and France used their navies to stop the passage of trade vessels to German ports. The initial phaseContinue reading “September 3rd in German History: France and the UK begin the blockade of Germany”

September 2nd in German History: Germany Annexes the Free City of Danzig

For nineteen years the Free City of Danzig was an independent city-state inside of the Polish-controlled Danzig corridor between Germany and its exclave of East Prussia. It stood as a reminder of Germany’s defeat in WWI and saw a great deal of tension between its German and Polish populations. In 1939, Germany demanded that PolandContinue reading “September 2nd in German History: Germany Annexes the Free City of Danzig”

September 1st in German History: The Death of Albert Speer

Albert Speer was a German architect and industrialist who was responsible for armaments organization during the latter years of WWII. During the decades after the war, he was often credited with significant increases in German weapons production and with being less brutal than other Nazis. He died on September 1st, 1981. Speer was born inContinue reading “September 1st in German History: The Death of Albert Speer”

August 31st in German History: The Gleiwitz Incident

One of the realities of international relations is that even the most bellicose of nations need justification, however flimsy, to initiate war. When Germany invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939, the stated pretext was a series of Polish attacks on German military installations. The most significant of these attacks was the Gleiwitz incident, which sawContinue reading “August 31st in German History: The Gleiwitz Incident”

August 30th in German History: The Battle of Tannenberg

In the first months of WWI, both the Eastern and Western Fronts were very mobile. In the west, Germany advanced into Belgium and France outflanking their enemy and occupying valuable territory. In the east, Russian, German, and Austrian armies clashed, the use of railways enabling the easy movement and concentration of forces. The initial RussianContinue reading “August 30th in German History: The Battle of Tannenberg”

August 29th in German History: German Reich Dissolves the Danish Government

The first years of the Second World War saw Germany quickly overrun most of Western and Eastern Europe. These nations were placed under harsh occupations which saw freedoms restricted and reprisals carried out against any who resisted. However, not all conquered nations were so harshly treated, at least initially. Denmark, which surrendered within six hours,Continue reading “August 29th in German History: German Reich Dissolves the Danish Government”

August 28th in German History: The Battle of Heligoland Blight

The beginning of the 20th century had seen a great shift in German foreign policy. Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to assert Germany’s position on the world stage. To this end, he pursued a program of naval construction with the intent of building a fleet that could contend with the Royal Navy. The resulting naval armsContinue reading “August 28th in German History: The Battle of Heligoland Blight”

August 27th in German History: The Sarny Massacre Begins

When discussing the Second World War, one has to remember that battles were important not just in that they determined the outcome of the war. All too often, the military outcomes were life or death matters for civilian populations. When Poland fell in 1939 its occupiers, the USSR and Nazi Germany, set about killing unwantedContinue reading “August 27th in German History: The Sarny Massacre Begins”