World War II Day by Day - Page 11 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The Second World War (1939-1945).
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By Doug64
#15308389
March 20, Wednesday

Hitler appoints Todt his Minister of Arms


An amiable engineer who built Germany’s motorways has been given the job of mobilizing all available manpower, including the conquered Poles and Czechs, to work in the munitions factories of the Reich. Dr. Fritz Todt, said by foreigners who have met him to be the most likeable of the leading Nazis, becomes Minister for Armaments and Munitions; he will be the biggest employer of labor in Germany, and will also control the allocation of scarce raw materials.

Todt’s labor battalions built the massive Siegfried Line opposite the Maginot Line and have recently been working on the construction of an Ostwall opposite the Stalin Line in the east.
By Doug64
#15308465
March 21, Thursday

The small man with a big task as new French premier


Paul Reynaud, who has succeeded Edouard Daladier as the Prime Minister of France, can be expected to do what he has been chosen by parliament to do: to fight the war with more vigor.

The fall of Daladier took place in a strange, unintended fashion. He went to the Chamber for a vote of confidence, and the Chamber gave it to him by 245 votes to only one—but with no fewer than 294 abstaining. The abstainers didn’t want him to go; they wanted him to get on with things. They were infuriated by his insistence on retaining the portfolios of national defense and foreign affairs as well as the prime ministership. But he chose to take their abstentions as so many votes of no confidence.

Reynaud is a tiny man with hunched shoulders, a deeply lined face, and a nasal, tinny voice; in spite of this he is one of the three or four most respected speakers in the Chamber. Before becoming a minister he was a leading Paris lawyer. He is also an expert on finance, and was Minister of Finance until last night. He has taken a keen interest in defense, and is one of the backers of those officers, like Colonel Charles de Gaulle, who urge that France must rely less on the defensive Maginot Line and more on attack.

Britain steps up its Norwegian patrols

The 4,947-ton German steamer Heddernheim is torpedoed this evening eight miles off the Danish coast by the British submarine Ursula. Though the steamer isn’t large, her sinking represents the first coup in a major step-up in British efforts to cripple Germany’s vital iron ore supplies.

Germany’s armaments depend on imported iron ore. No less than nine million tons come from Sweden, much of it brought through Narvik, a Norwegian port which is ice-free year round. The Royal Navy is now moving in destroyers and submarines to make the route dangerous if not impossible.

Scientists hint at atomic super bomb

Ever since the atom was split in 1919 by Ernest Rutherford there has been a growing belief among scientists that vast amounts of energy can be produced from nuclear fission. Two days ago two émigré German scientists, Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls, presented a paper to Sir Henry Tizard, the British government scientific advisor, arguing that it would be possible to produce a super bomb through nuclear chain reaction. This would need just a few pounds of the uranium isotope U235. The government is taking the matter seriously.
By Doug64
#15308919
March 25, Monday

Easter crowds pack London’s West End and defy the blackout


People treat themselves to a pre-war-style night out in London’s West End to celebrate the Easter holiday. Until later this evening, Easter Monday, there are crowds besieging restaurants and bars and filling the streets with torchlight, despite the blackout. Piccadilly, Shaftesbury Avenue, and the Strand feel like Boat Race night.

By 5 pm it is impossible to get a seat for any West End show. Some queues outside movie theaters are 100 yards (91 meters) long. “In 35 years I have never known such a rush for seats,” says a theater manager. Impromptu “sing-songs” begin at main line railway stations, where troops and evacuees are flocking back from leave or from their weekend in town. A special train takes civil servants back to their exiled ministries in Blackpool.
By Doug64
#15309342
March 28, Thursday

No separate peace deal with Germany


The new French Premier, Paul Reynaud, arrives in London today with General Gamelin, the Allied Commander-in-Chief, for a meeting of the Supreme War Council. In a “solemn declaration” issued after the meeting. Reynaud and Britain’s Neville Chamberlain pledge their governments never to agree to “an armistice or treaty of peace except by mutual agreement.”

Reynaud, a close friend of Winston Churchill, is believed to favor a more vigorous prosecution of the war, and he puts to the council a number of ideas, some of which are backed by Chamberlain.

Reynaud’s weakness, however, is his lack of parliamentary support. His predecessor, Daladier, fell after being denounced in the French parliament for inaction, not against Germany, but against the Soviet Union over Finland. Reynaud, elected by a majority of one in the Chamber of Deputies, comes to London with a plan for bombing Soviet oilfields in the Caucasus, aimed at stopping oil deliveries to Germany and crippling the Soviet Union. The British are unenthusiastic.

Neutral Norway’s waters to be mined

British chiefs of staff are devising a bold plan to stop Swedish iron ore deliveries to Germany after the Supreme War Council discuss a joint Anglo-French operation to lay mines in Norwegian territorial waters.

Most of Germany’s iron ore from Sweden comes through ice-free Narvik in northern Norway. The Allies had hoped to use the Finnish war to persuade Norway and Sweden to allow them to land forces in the northern regions of those two countries, ostensibly to aid Finland but mainly to interrupt Germany’s iron ore supplies. Norway and Sweden firmly rejected this infringement of their neutrality. Now the Allies are preparing to go ahead with their plan, irrespective of the pleas of neutrality.
By Doug64
#15309558
March 29, Friday

Mackenzie King wins Canadian election


In a record election, Canadians have given the Prime Minister, William Mackenzie King, and his Liberal Party the biggest electoral victory in Canadian history—179 seats in the 245-seat federal legislature.

Bearing in mind Mr. Mackenzie King’s strategy of limiting the number of Canadian troops sent to Europe while building war industries on the safe side of the Atlantic, it is a resounding vote for war with moderation. The Conservatives retain most of their seats, with the Liberal victory being gained at the expense of the radical parties.
By Doug64
#15309716
March 30, Saturday

Japan sets up puppet leader in Nanking


A breakaway group of Chinese Nationalists led by the former Foreign Minister, Wang Ching-wei, today establishes a rival Kuomintang in Japanese-occupied Nanking.

The Reformed Kuomintang gains immediate recognition from Japan, Germany, and Italy, but none from the Allies. The new government has agreed to Japanese troops remaining in China. Persuading a politician of Wang Ching-wei’s stature to lead the new government is a propaganda coup for Japan, which has now dissolved its two much-ridiculed puppet governments in China and placed them under his control.
By Rich
#15309740
Doug64 wrote:Hitler appoints Todt his Minister of Arms[/b]

An amiable engineer who built Germany’s motorways

Sometimes when I read about the Nazis I just despair at their irrationality. Given Germany's situation and the fact they were preparing for war, frittering away money on motorways, that should have been invested in the railways was senseless.
By Doug64
#15309980
April 1940

April 1, Monday

Yum yum, popsies, and sprogs are talk of wartime


It might be news to many that London streets are now regularly filled with body-snatchers in a flap. Or that, if they were body-snatchers from north of the border, they might cool off afterward with some bottled sunshine.

These are just a couple of the phrases coined by the men in Britain’s armed services. The body-snatchers are first aid workers, and when in a flap they are working in an air raid. The bottled sunshine is, of course, beer.

Parachuting has fired men’s imagination. The chute itself is known as a bag by some and is used for a brolly hop by pilots, or bus drivers, as bomber pilots are called. Unlucky pilots ditch in the herring pond, the gravy (the Atlantic), or the drink (the Channel).

Amorous activities have provided one of the richest sources of servicemen’s slang. Girlfriends are known as charmers, kush bints, popsies, or pushers. Those who are seeing a girl regularly are said to be nibbling.

On an evening off men get into their swanks (civilian clothes) and take the liberty bus into town to pitch a woo. Those separated from their lovers receive yum yum by mail if they are lucky. An amorous couple may be described as kittens in a basket.

Friends, too, are described in a variety of inventive ways. A sailor’s chum is his brassy or sprog. When they have a disagreement they part brassrags, each taking his cleaning rags back to his own quarters.

During time off, bottled sunshine (alternatively known as brown food) gets you horizontal, stitched, shot up, or shot to ribbons. Char (tea) the next morning can be accompanied by gunfire—cookies so-called because they crackle loudly when bitten.

Douglas Bader, the legless air hero, is back in the RAF cockpit

Douglas Bader, the brilliant pilot and rugby footballer who lost both his legs when he crashed his Bristol Bulldog fighter in December 1931, is back in the cockpit, flying fighters again with the RAF.

He left the RAF because he was no longer allowed to fly despite his mastery of his “tin legs.” But as soon as war was declared he started to pull strings until he was given a test on a trainer. All his old skill came flooding back—flying is still “a piece of cake.”

Now he can be seen stumping towards his Hurricane, as aggressive as ever, to fly patrols over Channel convoys, and when he takes off he flies like all the other pilots—only better than most.
By Doug64
#15309981
Rich wrote:Sometimes when I read about the Nazis I just despair at their irrationality. Given Germany's situation and the fact they were preparing for war, frittering away money on motorways, that should have been invested in the railways was senseless.

This is all happening a few years earlier than Hitler had intended, he hadn’t expected the French and British to actually go to war over Poland.
By Rich
#15309984
Doug64 wrote:This is all happening a few years earlier than Hitler had intended, he hadn’t expected the French and British to actually go to war over Poland.

So what do you think of Adam Tooze?. Now personally while no expert in these fields I think he goes way too far in his economic determinism, or maybe I should say the Tooze fanbois go way to far in their economic determinism. However I still think his work has considerable merit. He argues that war mobilisation was just not sustainable and that Hitler was to some extent forced into an early war.

Hitler was almost in the opposite position to the US, he had a strong effective army, from a powerful military tradition, but he was incredibly resource constrained particularly in oil. And there was just no easy way for him to get a large secure supply of oil. If he manged to secure Baku or Iran for Germany then essentially he would have already have won. He had to assume that he would be fighting his wars with incredibly constrained oil supply. Railways were incredibly efficient in their use of oil for transportation, whether it was for the military, industry, business or leisure, Motorways were the last thing the Nazis needed,
By Doug64
#15309991
Rich wrote:So what do you think of Adam Tooze?. Now personally while no expert in these fields I think he goes way too far in his economic determinism, or maybe I should say the Tooze fanbois go way to far in their economic determinism. However I still think his work has considerable merit. He argues that war mobilisation was just not sustainable and that Hitler was to some extent forced into an early war.

I don't know Adam Tooze's work, so can't speak to how much he got right (or wrong). I do know that Hitler always considered Stalin and the USSR to be the real enemy, but hadn't intended to attack the USSR until (I believe) 1945. I also know that while the Nazis' thinking on economics might have been socialistic (naturally, given their elevation of the State), it was also as incoherent as the rest of their thinking.
By Rich
#15310005
Doug64 wrote:I do know that Hitler always considered Stalin and the USSR to be the real enemy,

I've long been sceptical of this. I don't believe there was a straight line from Mein Kampf to Barbarossa. However I have not done the research , the reading to really effectively argue the case. Hitler never fought on the eastern front. He spent four years in the western trenches. That event the western front is the cornerstone around which the character of Adolph Hitler is built.



The defeat of Germany on the Western front broke Hitler. It nearly destroyed him. It broke him. it discombobulated him to such an extent that he joined the socialist revolution. He may even have become a Communist for a while. Undoing this tragedy was the path to regaining both Germany's self and his own. For Hitler the eastern front was a side show, defeating France, regaining the country's and his own honour after that total humiliation was the only thing Hitler really cared about. Hitler no doubt lied about many things but his identification with Germany was totally authentic. There was no shade of a,lie there.

The question that needs to be asked about "Mein Kampf" is, what did you expect Hitler to say. In "mein Kampf" Hitler could hardly state his intention to go back to war with France openly. What he said about Britain was probably true, but with or without Britain he wanted another war with France. Hitler probably thought he could say what he wanted about the Soviet Union without consequence, but in 1923 France could invade Germany and overthrow its government anytime they wanted. There was no way Hitler could admit to any aggressive intent against France Britain or Belgium.

Hitler was interested in the bread basket of the Ukraine, not mainly for itself but to provide food security during his war with France. In 1923, few people expected the Soviet Union to be a major player for long. Hitler probably thought an opportunity to get control of Ukraine would come along. He expected a years long war with France where Ukrainian grain would ensure no starvation in Germany. In the end it was all over in six weeks. Rather than gearing up for war with the soviet Union, Hitler started demobilising his army.

It was only when Britain refused to accept defeat and seemed to be counting on the Soviet Union, when he failed to get back his access to the world oil market and Stalin broke the pact by his annexations in Romania, which threatened the little oil that Germany did control, that Hitler decided to kick in the door.
By Doug64
#15310117
April 2, Tuesday

Chinese push back Japan at Wuyuan


Chinese Nationalist troops have recaptured the northwestern city of Wuyuan for the second time after ambushing a column of 3,000 Japanese troops.

The city, which first fell under Japanese control in February, was recaptured by the Nationalists two weeks ago. However, the Japanese sent in reinforcements a week ago, and as a result, they once more took the city. The Nationalists' successful retaking will give hope to beleaguered Chinese forces in the south of the country.
By Doug64
#15310119
@Rich, that’s an interesting take on Hitler’s actual objectives, but I’ve never read a historian that advanced it and I’m afraid I can’t really buy it. Hitler wasn’t concerned with revenge, but rather who was the major threat and that was the USSR. Not that he wasn’t happy to enjoy his revenge when the opportunity presented itself, of course.
By Doug64
#15310355
April 3, Wednesday

Portal is new chief of Britain’s Bomber Command


Air Marshal Charles Portal has been appointed C-in-C of Britain’s Bomber Command in succession to the much-respected Air Chief Marshal Edgar Ludlow-Hewitt, who becomes Inspector General of the RAF. Portal is a brilliant staff officer with an analytical brain who sometimes loses sight of his colleagues' sensibilities.

He is the favorite disciple of Lord Trenchard, the “Father of the RAF,” and faithfully follows his mentor’s advocacy of an all-out attack by bombers. Despite the success of the Stuka dive-bombers supporting land forces, Portal is an opponent of cooperation between Bomber Command and the Army.

Churchill gets mine plan past Cabinet

Winston Churchill, who today becomes chairman of the Ministerial Defense Committee, has persuaded the Cabinet to adopt his plan for mining Norwegian territorial waters—six months after he first made the proposal. Churchill raised it soon after the outbreak of war as a means of exploiting Britain’s superiority at sea. Then, Chamberlain rejected it; now, influenced by reports of planned German moves against Norway, he has changed his mind.
By Rich
#15310391
Doug64 wrote:Winston Churchill, who today becomes chairman of the Ministerial Defense Committee, has persuaded the Cabinet to adopt his plan for mining Norwegian territorial waters

Winston Churchill has another plan! That sounds good. What could possibly go wrong?
By Doug64
#15310453
Rich wrote:Winston Churchill has another plan! That sounds good. What could possibly go wrong?

:lol:
By Doug64
#15310624
April 5, Friday

Chamberlain: Hitler has missed the bus


Britain’s Prime Minister tells a Conservative Party meeting today that after seven months of war he feels ten times as confident of victory as he did at the start. In this unusually buoyant mood, Mr. Chamberlain says, “One thing is certain. Hitler has missed the bus.”

The speech appears to be aimed at dispelling some signs of public impatience about the conduct of the war. Mr. Chamberlain recalls that Germany was turned into an armed camp in the years before the war while Britain postponed rapid rearmament so long as any hope of peace remained.

He goes on, “It was natural then to expect that the enemy would take advantage of his initial superiority to make an endeavor to overwhelm us and France before we had time to make good our deficiencies. Is it not extraordinary that no such attempt was made?”

Having made his point, he declares, “Whatever the reason, Hitler has very little margin of strength still to call upon.”
By Rich
#15311155
late wrote:One minor detail, Hitler was an opportunist. While he was willing to say pretty much anything, his core beliefs were not socialist. Socialism, in Western Europe, meant sharing power, Hitler didn't like sharing...


I thought it might be more useful to talk about this in the WW2 thread. Now the first thing we need to understand here is that fascism is a myth. Yes the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento did exist and the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento / Partito Nazionale Fascista was an inspiration for movements and parties in other countries, but Musslioni did not discover or invent any shiny new ideology. What was new was the context. That at the end of WWI universal adult male suffrage became the norm. Universal adult suffrage would follow on as the norm but that's not really important. States had been practicing limited suffrage democracy or unequal suffrage, for thousands of year democracies had used these systems and now they disappeared almost over night.overnight.

So what was new was not some revolutionary ideology, but that conservatives had to adjust to the new reality. Now what was World War 2 about? World War 2 was a conflict between the established Great powers / Super powers on the one hand,and the US, the British Empire and the French and the would be super powers of Germany and Japan on the other. Many other countries were involved in WW2, but they became involved because they were invaded or because of perceived opportunity not because of ideology.

This point needs emphasis. World war 2 was a conflict of nation states for empires. World War 2 was a nationalist conflict. It was not a war about wider ideological principles. However the three allied powers were liberal democracies in their home lands all though ruling vast formal and informal empires. Germany and Japan were ultra militarist. Particularly Nazi Germany. The classic example of ultra militarism is Sparta. The army in Sparta did not exist to support the state. The state existed to support the army. German Nazism did not begin with Hitler. It did not begin with the DAP / NSDA. It began with Frei Korps.

Any date will be arbitrary, but we can perhaps think of the beginning of National Socialism with the French Revolution, with mass conscription. There is no policy more socialist than conscription. In World War ! we saw all the major European powers move in a national socialist direction. Britain became even more national socialist during World War 2. Hence why it was natural at the end of World War 2 to create a National Health Service. Before and during World War I, the great pwoers built huge, hugely expensive armed forces to defend their states. The Soviet Union built huge armed forces to defend it's state. That didn't happen in Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany the purpose of the state was to support the armed forces.
Last edited by Rich on 08 Apr 2024 15:15, edited 1 time in total.
By late
#15311160
Rich wrote:
I thought it might be more useful to talk about this in the WW2 thread. Now the first thing we need to understand here is that fascism is a myth. Yes the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento did exist and the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento / Partito Nazionale Fascista was an inspiration for movements and parties in other countries, but Musslioni did not discover or invent any shiny new ideology. What was new was the context. That at the end of WWI universal adult male suffrage became the norm. Universal adult suffrage would follow on as the norm but that's not really important. States had been practicing limed suffrage democracy or unequal suffrage, for thousands of year democracies had used these systems and now they disappeared almost over night.overnight.

So what was new was not some revolutionary ideology, but that conservatives had to adjust to the new reality. Now what was World War 2 about? World War 2 was a conflict between the established Great powers / Super powers on the one hand,and the US, the British Empire and the French and the would be super powers of Germany and Japan on the other. Many other countries were involved in WW2, but they became involved because they were invaded or because of perceived opportunity not because of ideology.

This point needs emphasis. World war 2 was a conflict of nation states for empires. World War 2 was a nationalist conflict. It was not a war about wider ideological principles. However the three allied powers were liberal democracies in their home lands all though ruling vast formal and informal empires. Germany and Japan were ultra militarist. Particularly Nazi Germany. The classic example of ultra militarism is Sparta. The army in Sparta did not exist to support the state. The state existed to support the army. German Nazism did not begin with Hitler. It did not begin with the DAP / NSDA. It began with Frei Korps.

Any date will be arbitrary, but we can perhaps think of the beginning of National Socialism with the French Revolution, with mass conscription. There is no policy more socialist than conscription. In World War ! we saw all the major European powers move in a national socialist direction. Britain became even more national socialist during World War 2. Hence why it was natural at the end of World War 2 to create a National Health Service. Before and during World War I, the great pwoers built huge, hugely expensive armed forces to defend their states. The Soviet Union built huge armed forces to defend it's state. That didn't happen in Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany the purpose of the state was to support the armed forces.



"Similarly, fascism as an ideology is also hard to define. Originally, it referred to a totalitarian political movement linked with corporatism which existed in Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Many scholars use the word "fascism" without capitalization in a more general sense to refer to an ideology (or group of ideologies) that has been influential in many countries at various times. For this purpose, they have sought to identify what Roger Griffin calls a "fascist minimum" — that is, the minimum conditions a movement must meet in order to be considered fascist.[4]

The Holocaust Encyclopedia defines fascism as "a far-right political philosophy, or theory of government, that emerged in the early twentieth century. Fascism prioritizes the nation over the individual, who exists to serve the nation." and as "an ultranationalist, authoritarian political philosophy. It combines elements of nationalism, militarism, economic self-sufficiency, and totalitarianism. It opposes communism, socialism, pluralism, individual rights and equality, and democratic government."[8]

In his 1995 essay "Ur-Fascism", cultural theorist Umberto Eco lists fourteen general properties of fascist ideology.[13] He argues that it is not possible to organise these into a coherent system, but that "it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it". He uses the term "ur-fascism" as a generic description of different historical forms of fascism. The fourteen properties are as follows:

"The cult of tradition", characterized by cultural syncretism, even at the risk of internal contradiction. When all truth has already been revealed by tradition, no new learning can occur, only further interpretation and refinement.
"The rejection of modernism", which views the rationalistic development of Western culture since the Enlightenment as a descent into depravity. Eco distinguishes this from a rejection of superficial technological advancement, as many fascist regimes cite their industrial potency as proof of the vitality of their system.
"The cult of action for action's sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
"Disagreement is treason" – fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action, as well as out of fear that such analysis will expose the contradictions embodied in a syncretistic faith.
"Fear of difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
"Appeal to a frustrated middle class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
"Obsession with a plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often combines an appeal to xenophobia with a fear of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the society (such as the German elite's "fear" of the 1930s Jewish populace's businesses and well-doings; see also antisemitism). Eco also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
Fascist societies rhetorically cast their enemies as "at the same time too strong and too weak". On the one hand, fascists play up the power of certain disfavored elites to encourage in their followers a sense of grievance and humiliation. On the other hand, fascist leaders point to the decadence of those elites as proof of their ultimate feebleness in the face of an overwhelming popular will.
"Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy" because "life is permanent warfare" – there must always be an enemy to fight. Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to not build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.
"Contempt for the weak", which is uncomfortably married to a chauvinistic popular elitism, in which every member of society is superior to outsiders by virtue of belonging to the in-group. Eco sees in these attitudes the root of a deep tension in the fundamentally hierarchical structure of fascist polities, as they encourage leaders to despise their underlings, up to the ultimate leader, who holds the whole country in contempt for having allowed him to overtake it by force.
"Everybody is educated to become a hero", which leads to the embrace of a cult of death. As Eco observes, "[t]he Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."
"Machismo", which sublimates the difficult work of permanent war and heroism into the sexual sphere. Fascists thus hold "both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality".
"Selective populism" – the people, conceived monolithically, have a common will, distinct from and superior to the viewpoint of any individual. As no mass of people can ever be truly unanimous, the leader holds himself out as the interpreter of the popular will (though truly he alone dictates it). Fascists use this concept to delegitimize democratic institutions they accuse of "no longer represent[ing] the voice of the people".
"Newspeak" – fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning."

The apocalyptic and millenarian aspects of fascism have often been subjected to study.[5][6]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism
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