The time-line of World War 2 may very well have begun at the end of World War 1 in 1918, because only three years later Adolf Hitler was to become the leader of the National Socialist "Nazi" Party in Germany. While he was not yet Chancellor, a dictator, or the Führer he was well on his way to becoming one of the most tyrannical leaders known to the modern world.
In 1933, the real time-line of World War 2 begins with the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor of Germany and finally ends in 1945 when the Allies take over the German government. Adolf Hitler plays an integral and maniacal role in the time-line of World War 2 in that he was the mastermind behind many of the Nazi party's actions.
Hitler had it in mind to make a pure race and eradicate any other that would contaminate it, including the Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, and any other "non-perfect" race; which was everything except the master race. Hitler's master race was what he called the Aryan race (blonde, blue-eyed, tall). World War 2 ended in 1945, shortly after Hitler's suicide with mistress, Eva Braun.
It was in 1945 that the Allied forces overtook the Axis and reclaimed Europe, ending what was to be known as one of the vilest wars known in modern history. Although more than 60 years have gone by, World War 2, Adolf Hitler, and the Holocaust has been permanently burned into the minds of those who lived through it and those who will only hear about it in history class.
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Most wars begin raggedly. In the minds of Englishmen 4 August 1914 is unshakably fixed as the date when the first World war began; yet by then France and Germany had been at war for twenty-four hours, Russia and Germany for three days, Serbia and Austria-Hungary for almost a week. The second World war was vaguer still in its opening; the Russians date it from 22 June 1941, the Chinese from November 1937, the Abyssinians, I suppose, from October 1935, and the Americans from 7 December 1941.
The American date is the most sensible. The war became truly world-wide—much more so than the first World war—only after Pearl Harbor. However, that is not how it seems to English people. We date the second World war from 3 September 1939, the day when Great Britain and France declared war on Germany (not, incidentally, from 1 September, the day when Germany attacked Poland); and among non-Americans, only professional historians can remember the date of Pearl Harbor.
The point is of no great important as long as the reader knows exactly what he is in for and does not feel that he has been sold a book under false pretences. This book seeks to explain the war which began on 3 September 1939. It. Does not attempt to answer the questions: why did Hitler invade Soviet Russia? Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor? Or why did Hitler and Mussolini then declare war on the United States? Even so, the United States could not avoid playing a great, maybe a decisive, part in European affairs.
The German problem, as it existed between the wars, was largely the creation of American policy. The first World war would obviously have had a different end if it had not been for American intervention: the Allies, to put it bluntly, would not have won. Equally, the victory over Germany would have had a different character if the United States had been an Allied, not an Associated, Power.
Everyone knows how the detachment of the United States from the European Allies was asserted when the Senate refused to ratify the treaty of Versailles and, with it, American membership in the League of Nations; but this detachment existed even in the days of closest co-operation, and ratification of the treaty would not have made all that much difference.
Woodrow Wilson regarded the Allies with almost as much distrust as he regarded Germany, or perhaps with more; and American membership in the League, as he envisaged it, would have been far from an asset to the Allied side. Nor did the action of the Senate imply a retreat into isolation. American policy was never more active and never more effective in regard to Europe than in the nineteen-twenties. Reparations were settled; stable finances were restored; Europe was pacified: all mainly due to the United States.
This policy of recovery followed the doctrine of Keynes (and of other economists) that Europe could be made prosperous only by making Germany prosperous. The recovery of Germany was America’s doing. It was welcomed by most people in Great Britain and even by a certain number in France. It would have happened, to a lesser extent, in any case. Nevertheless, American policy was a powerful obstacle against any attempt to retard the recovery of Germany and a considerable assistance to those who promoted it.
What indeed—a thought which occurred to many Englishmen also—can you do with Germany except make her the strongest Power in Europe? Still, the process might have taken longer if Americans had not been so insistent that Germany was the main pillar of European peace and civilisation. The treaty of Locarno and the admission of Germany to the League won American approval; this was in fact a strong motive for them. The same applied to disarmament.
Every step towards treating Germany as an equal and towards dismantling the special securities which France obtained at the end of the first World war received American backing, tempered only by impatience that the steps were slow and halting.
Until 1931 or thereabouts, the policy of the Western Powers, Great Britain and France, met broadly with American approval. Then things changed. This was partly because of events in the Far East. When Japan acted in Manchuria, the United States wished to enlist the League of Nations against her; while Great Britain and France thought that the League had enough to do in Europe without attempting to extend its principles to the Far East.
The divergence went deeper. Americans attached great value to “non-recognition”; with a fine old-fashioned loyalty to nineteenth-century liberalism, they believed that moral disapproval would be effective in itself. The belief had already been proved false.
The United States had refused to recognize the Soviet Union ever since 1917 without the slightest effect on anyone. The British particularly thought that the same result, or lack of result, would follow if they applied the principle of non-recognition to Japan.
In their opinion, it was more important to restore peace in the Far East than to preserve their moral virtue. They succeeded, but at the price of permanently offending liberal sentiment in the United States. All this was dead stuff when Republican rule was brought to an end and Franklin D. Roosevelt became President.
In the autumn of 1937 American policy began to change. This was mainly due to the outbreak of war between Japan and China in the Far East, where Americans would have liked to see action by the European Powers, though they could promise none themselves.
More than this, President Roosevelt set out to educate American opinion. As always, he proceeded with great caution, anxious not to outrun his people. His famous “quarantine” speech against aggressors hinted at something more than non-recognition. But how much more? Would the United States even now have supported sanctions against Germany if any such had been imposed? In any case, the “quarantine” speech was ill-received in the United States.
Roosevelt retreated, explaining that he had meant nothing in particular. Soon afterwards he renewed his attempt at education. His proposal for a world conference to consider the grievances of the dissatisfied Powers was made in the hope of demonstrating to Americans the mounting dangers throughout the world; but it contained no prospect that the United States would actively support the Powers who were trying to maintain some sort of peaceful order in the world. Roosevelt seems to have hoped, so far as one can follow the devious workings of his mind, that events would educate Americans where he had failed to do so.
He’s been called a number of things, including military genius, a legend, and a son-of-a-bitch. But, almost 50 years after his death, he’s still considered to be the one U.S. Army General epitomizing the fighting soldier of World War II. Patton was a man of contradictory characteristics. He was a noted horseman and polo player, a well-known champion swordsman, and a competent sailor and sportsman.
He was an amateur poet. Sixteen of his analytical papers were published in military magazines, the trade journals of the military profession. While he was a rough and tough soldier, he was also a thoughtful and sentimental man. Unpredictable in his actions, he was always dependable. He was outgoing, yet introverted.
History proves him to be a complex and paradoxical figure. He’s mostly remembered for his unique brand of leadership. It was a role he cultivated and fully exercised. He managed to obtain a supreme effort from his men. His charisma, symbolized by a flamboyant and well-publicized image, stimulated his troops to an incredible level.
Throughout the war, Patton and his warriors had given a magnificent performance. Third Army had gone farther, faster, conquered more territory, killed, wounded, and captured more enemy soldiers than any other Army in the recorded history of war. Patton died at the age of 60 in December, 1945 as a result of an automobile accident near Mannheim, Germany.
The term age of 60 is expressly used instead of 60 years old. Patton was never old. Men half his age were hard pressed to keep up with him. He was always the most modern of warriors, always looking for a new, better way to do his job. It has often been voiced by those who knew well him that perhaps it was a good thing for him to die when he did.
He died at the peak of his success, known for the many great things he had accomplished. He would have been disgusted at the way the American politicians wasted and perverted the great victory American fighting men had won. The United States had destroyed the German Nazis only toeplace them with what Patton called, “... the Mongolian savages known as Russians.”
Anzac day signifies the first day of major military action which involved the Australian And New Zealand Corps (Anzac). The Anzacs were part of the allied expedition set out to take control of Gallipoli (Turkey). The initial goal of the Anzacs was to eliminate Turkey from the war, however this wasn't the case with fierce resistance from both sides with over 8000 Australian soldiers being killed.
The large number of Australian casualties had a profound effect on the Australian population with April 25th being remembered as one of great sacrifice and created a legacy for all Australians which became know as the "Anzac legend" which became an important part of Australia And New Zealands national identity.
The Anzac Legend is embedded deep within the Australia and New Zealand culture. Its stands for: determination, mateship, being faithful whilst remaining steadfast, and never accepting defeat. The Anzac legacy is timeless with every Australian and New Zealander, and is a commemoration of the sacrifices which were made to make both countries free.
It's a time of reflection and appreciation of all the privileges we have today. Anzac day ceremonies In Australia, veterans from all past Wars and current serving members of the defence force take part in nation wide marches in recognition of the Anzacs. The ceremonies are then followed by social gatherings, in which traditional games such as two up (a form of gambling involving two dice) are played. Gatherers will often partake in a drink of rum mixed with milk, as well as "Anzac Cookies" at the event. Also on Anzac Day Sporting matches take place such as the traditional Rugby League Anzac day test much between Australia and New Zealand.
The British Army came into being with unification of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland. The British Army has traditionally relied upon volunteer recruits, the only exceptions during the latter part of the First World War, the Second World War and only once during peace time, when conscription was enacted.
At the beginning of the 18th century the standing of the British Army was reduced after the Treaty of Ryswick, and stood at 7,000 troops at home and 14,000 based overseas. In the early 18th century the army was recruited from various sources, and many were mercenaries from continental Europe including Danes, Hessians and Hanoverians. The rest of the army consisted of native people, mainly recruited from the poorest sections of society.
During this period the army was not a popular profession, with low pay, flogging and other barbarous disciplinary measures in the Army. Recruits were aged from 17 to 50 years of age. The army was also kept small by the government, mainly due to the fear that the army would be unduly influenced by the Crown or used to depose the Government. Only during war was this policy abandoned for rapid recruitment. To fill the ranks during wartime, as during the American Revolution, a policy similar to the Navy`s Press Gangs were introduced.
Two acts were passed, the Recruiting Act 1778 and the Recruiting Act 1779 for the impressment of individuals, for some this simply would have been for being drunk and disorderly. The chief advantages of these acts was in the number of volunteers brought in under the apprehension of impressment. To avoid impressment, some recruits incapacitated themselves by cutting off the thumb and forefinger of the right hand. Both acts were repealed in 1780.
Others were enticed to take the King's shilling under false pretences and many men would find they had signed to a lifetime in the army. This global conflict split a majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Spanning much of the globe, World War II resulted in the deaths of over 60 million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.
World War II was the most widespread war in history, and countries involved mobilized more than 100 million military personnel. Total war erased the distinction between civil and military resources and saw the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort; nearly two-thirds of those killed in the war were civilians. For example, nearly 11 million of the civilian casualties were victims of the Holocaust, which was largely conducted in Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union.
Since invading mainland China and French Indochina in 1940, Japan had been subjected to increasing economic sanctions by the United States, Great Britain and Netherlands, and was attempting to reduce these sanctions through diplomatic negotiations. In December 1941, however, the war expanded again when Japan, already into its fifth year of war with China, launched near simultaneous attacks against the United States and British assets in Southeast Asia; four days later, Germany declared war on the United States.
This brought the United States and Japan into the greater conflict and turned previously separate Asian and European wars into a single global one. In 1942, though Axis forces continued to make gains, the tide began to turn. Japan suffered its first major defeat against American forces in the Battle of Midway, where four of Japan's aircraft carriers were destroyed. German forces in Africa were being pushed back by Anglo-American forces, and Germany's renewed summer offensive in the Soviet Union had ground to a halt.
In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and war in Europe followed. The French and British did not declare war at first, hoping they could persuade Hitler through appeasement, but Hitler did not respond. The United Kingdom and France declared war. During the winter of 1939-1940 there was little indication of hostilities since neither side was willing to engage the other directly.
This period was called the Phoney War. In 1940, Germany captured Denmark and Norway in the spring, and then in the early summer France and the Low Countries. The United Kingdom was then targeted; the Germans attempted to cut the island off from vitally needed supplies and obtain air superiority in order to make a seaborne invasion possible.
This never came to pass, but the Germans continued to attack the British mainland throughout the war, primarily from the air. Unable to engage German forces on the continent, the United Kingdom concentrated on combating German and Italian forces in the Mediterranean Basin. It had limited success however; it failed to prevent the Axis conquest of the Balkans and fought indecisively in the Western Desert Campaign.
It had greater success in the Mediterranean Sea, dealing severe damage to the Italian Navy, and dealt Germany's first major defeat by winning the Battle of Britain. In June 1941, the war expanded dramatically when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, bringing the Soviet Union into alliance with the United Kingdom. The German attack started strong, overrunning great tracts of Soviet territory, but began to stall by the winter.
Germany and France had been struggling for dominance in Continental Europe for 80 years and had fought two previous wars, the Franco-Prussian War and World War I. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Communist revolutionary movements began spreading across Europe, briefly taking power in both Budapest and Bavaria; in response, fascist and nationalist groups were born.
In 1922, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his fascist party took control of the Kingdom of Italy and set the model for German dictator Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party, which, aided by the civil unrest caused by the Great Depression, took power in Germany and eliminated its democratic government, the Weimar Republic.
These two leaders began to re-militarize their countries and become increasingly hostile. Mussolini first conquered the African nation of Abyssinia and then seized Albania, with both Italy and Germany actively supporting Francisco Franco's fascist Falange party in the Spanish Civil War against the Second Spanish Republic (which was supported by the Soviet Union).
Hitler then broke the Treaty of Versailles by increasing the size of the Germany's military, and re-militarized the Rhineland. He started his own expansion by annexing Austria and sought the same against the German-speaking regions (Sudetenland) of Czechoslovakia. Following the end of the war, a rapid period of decolonization also took place within the holdings of the various European colonial powers.
These primarily occurred due to shifts in ideology, the economic exhaustion from the war and increased demand by indigenous people for self-determination. For the most part, these transitions happened relatively peacefully, though notable exceptions occurred in countries such as Indochina, Madagascar, Indonesia and Algeria.
In many regions, divisions, usually for ethnic or religious reasons, occurred following European withdrawal; this was seen prominently in the Mandate of Palestine, leading to the creation of Israel and Palestine, and in India, resulting in the creation of the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.
After Indian independence and partition in 1947 and under the Tripartite Agreement, six Gurkha regiments joined the post-independence Indian Army. Four Gurkha regiments, the 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 10th Gurkha Rifles, joined the British Army on January 1, 1948.
They formed the Brigade of Gurkhas and were stationed in Malaya. During the Malayan Emergency, Gurkhas fought as jungle soldiers as they had done in Burma. They also formed four new units Gurkha Engineers, Signals, Transport and Military Police.
They were also used for convoy escort duties, security of the new villages and ambushing guerrillas. In the year of Malayan independence, Gurkha Signals units monitored communications during the first free elections. One Gurkha battalion 2nd Gurkha Rifles - was stationed in Tidworth, Wiltshire in 1962.
On December 7, the unit was deployed to Brunei on a days notice at the outbreak of the Brunei Revolt. The forthcoming Indonesian Confrontation saw the formation of the Gurkha Independent Parachute Company on April 1, 1963. The unit was disbanded in 1972.
The 2/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles marching through Kure soon after their arrival in Japan as part of the Allied forces of occupation The 2/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles marching through Kure soon after their arrival in Japan as part of the Allied forces of occupation After that conflict ended, the Gurkhas were transferred to Hong Kong, where they had security duties during the upheavals of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
Amazing Wartime Facts from WWII 1. The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937) 2. The first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940). 3. The highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. 4. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN.
He was wounded in combat and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress). 5. At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top US Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”), the shoulder patch of the US Army’s 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler’s private train was named “Amerika”.
All three were soon changed for PR purposes. 6. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps that the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions, your chance of being killed was 71%. Not that bombers were helpless. A B-17 carried 4 tons of bombs and 1.5 tons of machine gun ammo.
The US 8th Air Force shot down 6,098 fighter planes, 1 for every 12,700 shots fired. 7. Germany’s power grid was much more vulnerable than realized. One estimate is that if just 1% of the bombs dropped on German industry had instead been dropped on power plants, German industry would have collapsed. 8. Generally speaking, there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes.
He died while a passenger on a cargo plane. 9. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th found with a tracer round to aid in aiming. That was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction.
Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. That was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down. 10.
When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act). Don't believe me? Take a look at this. 11. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn’t worth the effort. 12.
A number of air crewmen died of farts. (ascending to 20,000 ft. in an un-pressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand 300%!) 13. The Russians destroyed over 500 German aircraft by ramming them in midair (they also sometimes cleared minefields by marching over them).
“It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army”. Joseph Stalin 14. The US Army had more ships that the US Navy. 15. The German Air Force had 22 infantry divisions, 2 armor divisions, and 11 paratroop divisions.
None of them were capable of airborne operations. The German Army had paratroops who WERE capable of airborne operations. 16. When the US Army landed in North Africa, among the equipment brought ashore were 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants. 17. Among the first “Germans” captured at Normandy were several Koreans.
They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were capture by the US Army. 18.
The Graf Spee never sank, The scuttling attempt failed and the ship was bought by the British. On board was Germany’s newest radar system. 19. One of Japan’s methods of destroying tanks was to bury a very large artillery shell with on ly the nose exposed. When a tank came near the enough a soldier would whack the shell with a hammer.
“Lack of weapons is no excuse for defeat.” – Lt. Gen. Mataguchi 20. Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the fire-fight. It would have been worse if there had been Japanese on the island. 21. The MISS ME was an unarmed Piper Cub. While spotting for US artillery her pilot saw a similar German plane doing the same thing.
He dove on the German plane and he and his co-pilot fired their pistols damaging the German plane enough that it had to make a forced landing. Whereupon they landed and took the Germans prisoner. It is unknown where they put them since the MISS ME only had two seats. 22. Most members of the Waffen SS were not German. 23. The only nation that Germany declared was on was the USA. 24.
During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong, British officers objected to Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the officer’s mess. No enlisted men allowed! 25. Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr was rescued in the nick of time from German occupied Denmark.
While Danish resistance fighters provided covering fire he ran out the back door of his home stopping momentarily to grab a beer bottle full of precious “heavy water”. He finally reached England still clutching the bottle, which contained beer. Perhaps some German drank the heavy water… Contributed by Ronald Padavan, LTC, CAP MIWG Chief of Staff MSGT, USAF (Ret.) Past President Lodge 143, Fraternal Order of Police.
In his prison cell at Nuremberg, Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, wrote a brief memoir in the course of which he explored the reasons for Germany's defeat. He picked out three factors that he thought were critical: the unexpected 'power of resistance' of the Red Army; the vast supply of American armaments; and the success of Allied air power.
This last was Hitler's explanation too. When Ribbentrop spoke with him a week before the suicide in the bunker, Hitler told him that, 'the real military cause of defeat' was the failure of the German Air Force. For all his many failings Ribbentrop was closer to the truth than he might have realised. For the Allies in World War Two, the defeat of Germany was their priority. Italy and Japan never posed the same kind of threat as the European superpower they fought alongside. Their defeat, costly though it was, became irresistible.
The key to ending the world crisis was the defeat of Hitler's Germany. This outcome was not pre-ordained, as is so often suggested, once the British Empire was joined by the USSR and the USA in 1941. The Allies had to mobilise and utilise their large resources effectively on the battlefield and in the air. This outcome could not be taken for granted. British forces were close to defeat everywhere in 1942. The American economy was a peacetime economy, apparently unprepared for the colossal demands of total war.
The Soviet system was all but shattered in 1941, two-thirds of its heavy industrial capacity captured and its vast air and tank armies destroyed. This was a war, Ribbentrop ruefully concluded, that 'Germany could have won'. Soviet resistance was in some ways the most surprising outcome. The German attackers believed that Soviet Communism was a corrupt and primitive system that would collapse, in Goebbels' words 'like a pack of cards'. The evidence of how poorly the Red Army fought in 1941 confirmed these expectations.
More than five million Soviet soldiers were captured or killed in six months; they fought with astonishing bravery, but at every level of combat were out-classed by troops that were better armed, better trained and better led. This situation seemed beyond remedy.
Yet within a year Soviet factories were out-producing their richly-endowed German counterparts - the Red Army had embarked on a thorough transformation of the technical and organisational base of Soviet forces, and a stiffening of morale, from Stalin downwards, produced the first serious reverse for the German armed forces when Operation Uranus in November 1942 led to the encirclement of Stalingrad and the loss of the German Sixth Army.
As the war in Europe spread in the late '30s, the U.S. Military wanted a new light-weight, four-wheel-drive, reconnaissance vehicle. They solicited bids for command/reconnaissance car with an 80" wheelbase and weighing 1300 lbs in June of 1940. Three companies responded: Bantam, Ford and Willys. The Bantam Car Company had the leading contender based on overall design, but Willys had the wonderful "Go Devil" flat-head four cylinder engine. Ford had some good ideas too and there was a pooling of ideas that surely violated the spirit, if not the letter, of intellectual property, trade-mark, and other laws, but served the governments needs.
The final winner after a few resubmittals was the GPW. "G" for government, "P" for pigmy (a Ford term) and "W" for Willys. One story has it that the lowly, uninformed GI's thought "GP" was for general purpose, and pronounced it "jeep". Other people say that the word "jeep" was slang for any wonderfully multipurpose thing. The Popeye cartoon had a character, named "Eugene the Jeep" in 1936, who had all kinds of amazing powers. Anyway, the source of the name "Jeep" is now vailed by the passage of time... The first working prototype was displayed before the September deadline.
By the end of the war in 1945, more than seven hundred thousand jeeps had been produced by the Willys-Overland Company, owner of the design, and the Ford Motor Company. The film recounts the origin of the name "jeep" in the quick pronunciation of "G.P."--although the initials initially came not from "General Purpose" but from Ford's duller production abbreviation: "G" for government vehicle and "P" being the symbol for eighty-inch-wheelbase cars.
When The Autobiography of a Jeep was released midwar in 1943, the Allies could look to successes reflected in the shots of President Roosevelt riding in a jeep to meet with Churchill at Casablanca after the victory in North Africa.
The British officers were mainly drawn from affluent backgrounds, most having attended public schools, it was said that the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was 'won on the playing fields of Eton'. This was largely in part to the sale of commissions, finally abolished due to the Cardwell reforms, and the further Childers Reforms. In spite of its abolishment, the status of an officer being from a privileged background and that of another rank being from a less privileged one has, for the most part, endured into the 21st century.
The Royal Family traditionally had its members serve in the Armed Forces, usually with the Royal Navy though many have served with the Army. This tradition has continued into the 21st century, with Prince Harry and Prince William both joining the Army as officers.
Foreign Royals have also served in the Army, such as Eugène Bonaparte the son of Napoléon III, was commissioned into the Royal Artillery, but was killed in 1879 while serving in South Africa during the Anglo-Zulu War. Also later in the 20th Century King Abdullah II of Jordan served as a Second Lieutenant with the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own).
The origins of the Second World War are generally viewed as being traced back to the First World War (1914-1918). In that war Germany under the ultra-nationalistic Kaiser Wilhelm II along with its allies, had been defeated by a combination of the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia and others. The war was directly blamed by the victors on the miltant nationalism of the Kaiser's Germany; it was Germany that effectively started the war with an attack on France through Belgium.
France, which had suffered a previous defeat at the hands of Prussia (a state that merged one year later with others to form Germany) in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, demanded revenge for its financial devastation during the First World War (and its humiliation in the earlier war) ensured that the various peace treaties, specifically the Treaty of Versailles imposed tough financial reparations and restrictions on Germany. A new democratic German republic, known as the Weimar Republic, came into being. After some success it was hit by hyperinflation and other serious economic problems.
Right wing nationalist elements under a variety of movements, but most notably the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler, sought to blame Germany's "humiliating" status on the harshness of the post-war settlement, on the weakness of democratic government, and on the Jews, whom it claimed possessed a financial stranglehold on Germany. Hitler was appointed Reichskanzler (Chancellor) on January 30, 1933, by the aged President von Hindenburg. Hitler's government exercised much of its power through the special emergency powers possessed by the President under the constitution.
These powers enabled a government with the President's powers to effectively bypass the Reichstag (federal parliament). Under a further disastrous clause in the Weimar constitution when the President died, his office was temporarily assumed by the Chancellor. As a result, when Hindenburg died, the immense powers of the presidency fell into the hands of Adolf Hitler.
Through the possession of those powers and an Enabling Act that allowed the nazi government to bypass and ignore the constitution, Hitler ensured his possession of the presidential powers became permanent and so gained dictatorial control over Germany. The Italian economy also fell into a deep slump following World War I. Anarchists were endemic, Communist and other Socialist agitators abounded among the trade unions, and many were gravely worried that a Bolshevik-style Communist revolution was imminent.
After a number of liberal governments failed to rein in these threats, Italy's King Victor Emmanuel III invited right-wing politician Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party to form a government in 1922, following their largely symbolic Marca su Roma (March on Rome).
The Fascists maintained an armed paramilitary wing, which they employed to fight Anarchists, Communists, and Socialists. Within a few years, Mussolini had consolidated dictatorial power, and Italy became a police state. On January 7, 1935, he and French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval signed the Italo-French agreements.
Meanwhile in Germany, once political consolidation (Gleichschaltung) was in place, the Nazis turned their attention to foreign policy with several increasingly daring acts. On March 16, 1935, the Versailles Treaty was violated as Hitler ordered Germany to re-arm. Germany also reintroduced military conscription (the treaty stated that the German Army should not exceed 100,000 men). These steps produced nothing more than official protests from Britain and France, for they were more serious about enforcing the economic provisions of the treaty than its military restrictions.
Many Brits felt the restrictions placed on Germany in Versailles had been too harsh, and they believed that Hitler's aim was simply to undo the extremes of the treaty, not to go beyond that. Faced with no opposition, Hitler moved troops into the Rhineland on March 7, 1936. Under the Versailles treaty, the Rhineland should have been demilitarized, for France wanted it for a buffer between herself and Germany. But, as before, Hitler's defiance was met with inaction.
The first German conquest was Austria. After Italy had joined the Anti-Comintern Pact, thereby removing the main obstacle of a Anschluss of Austria, Germany announced the annexation on March 12, 1938, making it a German province: "Gau Ostmark." With Austria secured, Hitler turned his attention to Czechoslovakia. His first order of business was to seize the Sudetenland, a mountainous area in northeast part of the country. With Austria in German hands, the tiny state was nearly surrounded.
Following lengthy negotiations, and blatant war threats from Hitler, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went out of his way with French leaders to appease Hitler, even though the United Kingdom had earlier guaranteed the security of Czechoslovakia.
However, the Munich Agreement of September 30, 1938, then allowed German troops to occupy the Sudetenland. Czech representatives were not allowed at the conference; their government strongly opposed giving up the Sudetenland but they were powerless in the face of German military might and British and French unwillingness to support them.
A few months after that, in March 1939, the remaining Czech lands passed into German hands as well. March 14 Slovakia declared her independence, recognized by France, Britain and other important powers. The Slovak state tried to avoid nazification, but was finally occupied by Nazi-Germany in September 1944. Italy, facing opposition to its wars in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) from the League of Nations, forged an alliance with Nazi Germany, which had withdrawn from the League in 1933. In May of 1939, Italy and Germany thus formed the Pact of Steel, which deepened their alliance and established a Rome-Berlin "Axis."
In September, 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria under false pretexts and captured it from the Chinese. In 1933, Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party became leader of Germany. Under the Nazis, Germany began to rearm and to pursue a new nationalist foreign policy. By 1937, Hitler also began demanding the cession of territories which had historically been part of Germany, like the Rhineland and Gdansk. In July 1937, Japan launched a large scaled invasion of mainland China, beginning with the bombing of Shanghai and Guangzhou and followed by the Nanking massacre in December.
In Europe, Germany, and to a lesser extent Italy, asserted increasingly hostile and aggressive foreign policies and demands, which the United Kingdom and France initially attempted to diffuse primarily through diplomacy and appeasement. In 1944, the outcome of the war was becoming clearly unfavorable for the Axis.
Germany became boxed in as the Soviet offensive became a juggernaut in the east, pushing the Germans out of Russia and pressing into Poland and Romania; in the west, the Western Allies invaded mainland Europe, liberating France and the Low Countries and reaching Germany's western borders.
While Japan launched a successful major offensive in China, in the Pacific, their navy suffered continued heavy losses as American forces captured airfields within bombing range of Tokyo. In 1945 the war ended. In Europe, a final German counter-attack in the west failed, while Soviet forces captured Berlin in May, forcing Germany to surrender. In Asia, American forces captured the Japanese islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa while British forces in Southeast Asia managed to expel Japanese forces there.
Initially unwilling to surrender, Japan finally capitulated after the Soviet Union invaded Manchukuo and the United States dropped atomic bombs on the mainland of Japan. In an effort to maintain international peace,the Allies formed the United Nations, which officially came into existence on 24 October, 1945. Regardless of this though, the alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over, and the two powers each quickly established their own spheres of influence.
In Europe, the continent was essentially divided between Western and Soviet spheres by the so-called Iron Curtain which ran through and partitioned Allied occupied Germany and occupied Austria. In Asia, the United States occupied Japan and administrated Japan's former islands in the Western Pacific while the Soviets annexed Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands; the former Japanese governed Korea was divided and occupied between the two powers.
Mounting tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union soon evolved into the formation of the American-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact military alliances and the start of the Cold War between them.
Economic recovery following the war was varied in differing parts of the world, though in general it was quite positive. In Europe, West Germany recovered quickly and doubled production from its pre-war levels by the 1950s.Italy came out of the war in poor economic condition, but by 1950s, the Italian economy was marked by stability and high growth.
The United Kindgom was in a state of ecomonic ruin after the war,and continued to experience relative economic decline for decades to follow.France rebounded quite quickly, and enjoyed rapid economic growth and modernization.
The Soviet Union also experienced a rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era. In Asia, Japan experienced incredibly rapid economic growth, and led to Japan becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world by the 1980s. China, following the conclusion of its civil war, was essentially a bankrupt nation. By 1953, economic restoration seemed fairly successful as production had resumed pre-war levels.This growth rate mostly persisted, though it was briefly interrupted by the disastrous Great Leap Forward economic experiment.
At the end of the war, the United States produced roughly half of the worlds industrial output; by the 1970s though, this dominance had lessened significantly. The British and French governments followed a policy of appeasement in order to avoid military confrontation after the high cost of the First World War. This policy culminated in the Munich Agreement in 1938, which would give the Sudetenland to Germany in exchange for Germany making no further territorial claims in Europe.
In March 1939, Germany annexed the remainder of Czechoslovakia. Mussolini, following suit, annexed Albania in April. The failure of the Munich Agreement pushed the United Kingdom and France to prepare for war with Germany.
France and Poland pledged on May 19, 1939, to provide each other with military assistance in the event either was attacked. The following August, the British guaranteed the same. On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which provided for sales of oil and food from the Soviets to Germany, thus reducing the danger of a British blockade such as the one that had nearly starved Germany in World War I.
Also included was a secret agreement that would divide Central Europe into German and Soviet areas of interest, including a provision to partition Poland. Each country agreed to allow the other a free hand in its area of influence, including military occupation.
Japan's next plan, motivated by the earlier bombing on Tokyo, was to seize the Midway Atoll as this would seal a gap in their perimeter defences, provide a forward base for further operations, and lure American carriers into battle to be eliminated; as a diversion, Japan would also send forces to occupy the Aleutian Islands.
In early June, Japan put their operations into action but the Americans, having broken Japanese naval codes in late May, were fully aware of the Japanese plans and force dispositions and used this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy.
With their capacity for amphibious assault greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan chose to focus on an overland campaign on the Territory of Papua in another attempt to capture Port Moresby. For the Americans, they planned their next move against Japanese positions in the southern Solomon Islands, primarily against the island of Guadalcanal, as a first step towards capturing Rabaul, the primary Japanese base in Southeast Asia.
Both plans started in July, but by mid-September the battle for Guadalcanal took priority for the Japanese, and troops in New Guinea were ordered to withdraw from the Port Moresby area to the northern part of the island.
Guadalcanal soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in a battle of attrition. By the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops.
The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) is a regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Royal Gurkha Rifles are now the sole infantry regiment of the British Army Gurkhas. Like the other Gurkha regiments of the British and Indian armies, the regiment is recruited from Gurkhas from Nepal, which is a nation independent of the United Kingdom and not a member of the Commonwealth.
The regiment was formed in 1994 from the amalgamation of the four separate Gurkha regiments in the British Army:The Royal Gurkha Rifles are considered to be some of the finest soldiers in the world, as is evidenced by the high regard they are held in for both their fighting skill, and their smartness of turnout on parade.
Their standard of drill is considered to be on a par with that of the Foot Guards and in July 1997 the regiment mounted the guard at Buckingham Palace. The two battalions of the rgr are formed as light role infantry; they are not equipped with either armoured or wheeled vehicles.
One battalion is based at Shorncliffe, near Folkstone in Kent as part of 52 infantry brigade, and is available for deployment to most areas in Europe and Africa. The other is based at the British garrison in Brunei as part of Britain's commitment to maintaining a military presence in SE Asia. The two battalions rotate in each role, usually for three years at a time. As part of the restructuring of the infantry, the UK based battalion was transferred from 2 infantry brigade to 52 infantry brigade, to be given a more mainstream role.
Together with the royal Irish regiment and the Argyll and Sutherland highlanders (5 Scots), the UK based rgr battalion will rotate as part of 16 air assault brigade—it will spend five years with this formation, followed by two years as a light infantry battalion with 52 brigade. 2rgr will taken on this role for the first time in 2010.
The proximity to Afghanistan has meant that the Brunei based battalion has been called upon to deploy as part of the British force. Twice during its most recent Brunei posting the 2nd battalion was deployed as the Afghanistan roulement infantry battalion, while the 1st battalion deployed as part of 52 infantry brigade in late 2007. During this tour, cornet HRH prince henry of Wales was attached for a period to the 1rgr battle group as a forward air controller.
“We shall not flag or fail, we shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we will fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender…” ~Winston Churchill His courage and will spurred the people of the United Kingdom to fight back, to defend their land, to never surrender. As the Prime Minister of England, he visited battle sites and fortresses, inspected defences himself and visited the wounded.
He would walk through the streets of a city as bombs were falling from the open sky, and everywhere he went, he held up his two fingers: his ‘v’ for victory. To me, Winston Churchill was not only an important figure in British and World War history; he is a role model for the world, someone our leaders should aspire to be. If you had known Winston Churchill as a child, you would have never thought that he would turn out to be such an impacting leader.
The boy did not do well in school, and often stuttered when he spoke. Later, and with stunning perseverance, Churchill overcame his stuttering speech problem, and he is often quoted, even so long after his death. Lord Randolph Churchill, his father, enrolled him in a military college thinking that it was his only option.
Churchill proved a good soldier, graduating 8th in his class of 150. In between stations at war during WWI, and during his military schooling, he worked to educate himself. He studied boxes upon boxes of books that his mother sent him. One day in the war, on the battlefield, he was captured by opposing soldiers. Finally after a torturous length of time he escaped, and travelled miles and miles to get out of enemy territory.
When he, at last, got back to England, he was declared a war hero. His status helped him gain a seat in Parliament. He moved up quickly in politics, eventually rising to power as 1st Lord, who makes important decisions regarding war in British government, and lead England through the rest of WWI. After said war was lost, he resigned, considering himself finished, a political failure.
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