Blitzkrieg: Nazi Germany and Great Britain

2601 WordsMar 12, 200511 Pages
BLITZKRIEG (LIGHTNING WAR) In the first phase of World War II in Europe, Germany sought to avoid a long war. Germany's strategy was to defeat its opponents in a series of short campaigns. Germany quickly overran much of Europe and was victorious for more than two years by relying on a new military tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war). Blitzkrieg tactics required the concentration of offensive weapons (such as tanks, planes, and artillery) along a narrow front. These forces would drive a breach in enemy defenses, permitting armored tank divisions to penetrate rapidly and roam freely behind enemy lines, causing shock and disorganization among the enemy defenses. German air power prevented the enemy from adequately…show more content…
On May 10, German forces overran Luxembourg and invaded the Netherlands and Belgium; on May 13 they outflanked the Maginot Line. Their armored columns raced to the English Channel and cut off Flanders, and Allied forces were evacuated from Dunkirk (May 26—June 4). General Weygand had replaced General Gamelin as supreme Allied commander, but was unable to stop the Allied debacle in the "battle of France." On June 22, France signed an armistice with Germany, followed by an armistice with Italy, which had entered the war on June 10. The Vichy government was set up in France under Marshal Pétain. Britain, the only remaining Allied power, resisted, under the inspiring leadership of Winston Churchill, the German attempt to bomb it into submission. While Germany was receiving its first setback in the Battle of Britain, fought entirely in the air, the theater of war was widened by the Italian attack on the British in North Africa (see North Africa, campaigns in, by the Italian invasion (Oct. 28, 1940) of Greece, and by German submarine warfare in the Atlantic Ocean. Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria joined the Axis late in 1940, but Yugoslavia resisted German pressure, and on Apr. 6, 1941, Germany launched attacks on Yugoslavia and Greece and won rapid victories. In May, Crete fell. Great Britain gained a new ally on June 22, 1941, when Germany (joined by Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Finland), invaded the Soviet Union. By Dec.,

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