1943 Nazis arrest White Rose resistance leaders

Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, the leaders of the German youth group Weisse Rose (White Rose), are arrested by the Gestapo for opposing the Nazi regime.

The White Rose was composed of university (mostly medical) students who spoke out against Adolf Hitler and his regime. The founder, Hans Scholl, was a former member of Hitler Youth who grew disenchanted with Nazi ideology once its real aims became evident. As a student at the University of Munich in 1940-41, he met two Roman Catholic men of letters who redirected his life. Turning from medicine to religion, philosophy, and the arts, Scholl gathered around him like-minded friends who also despised the Nazis, and the White Rose was born.

During the summer of 1942, Scholl and a friend composed four leaflets, which exposed and denounced Nazi and SS atrocities, including the extermination of Jews and Polish nobility, and called for resistance to the regime. The literature was peppered with quotations from great writers and thinkers, from Aristotle to Goethe, and called for the rebirth of the German university. It was aimed at an educated elite within Germany.

The risks involved in such an enterprise were enormous. The lives of average civilians were monitored for any deviation from absolute loyalty to the state. Even a casual remark critical of Hitler or the Nazis could result in arrest by the Gestapo, the regime’s secret police. Yet the students of the White Rose (the origin of the group’s name is uncertain; possibly, it came from the picture of the flower on their leaflets) risked all, motivated purely by idealism, the highest moral and ethical principles, and sympathy for their Jewish neighbors and friends. (Despite the risks, Hans’ sister, Sophie, a biology student at her brother’s university, begged to participate in the activities of the White Rose when she discovered her brother’s covert operation.)

On February 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie left a suitcase filled with copies of yet another leaflet in the main university building. The leaflet stated, in part: “The day of reckoning has come, the reckoning of our German youth with the most abominable tyranny our people has ever endured. In the name of the entire German people we demand of Adolf Hitler’s state the return of personal freedom, the most precious treasure of the Germans which he cunningly has cheated us out of.” The pair were spotted by a janitor and reported to the Gestapo and arrested. Turned over to Hitler’s “People’s Court,” basically a kangaroo court for dispatching dissidents quickly, the Scholls, along with another White Rose member who was caught, were sentenced to death. They were beheaded–a punishment reserved for “political traitors”–on February 23, but not before Hans Scholl proclaimed “Long live freedom!”


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1915 Zeppelin L-4 crashes into North Sea

After encountering a severe snowstorm on the evening of February 17, 1915, the German zeppelin L-4 crash-lands in the North Sea near the Danish coastal town of Varde.

The zeppelin, a motor-driven rigid airship, was developed by German inventor Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin in 1900. Although a French inventor had built a power-driven airship several decades before, Zeppelin’s rigid dirigible, with its steel framework, was by far the largest airship ever constructed.

The L-4‘s captain, Count Platen-Hallermund, and a crew of 14 men had completed a routine scouting mission off the Norwegian coast in search of Allied merchant vessels and were returning to their base in Hamburg, Germany, when the snowstorm flared up, bombarding the airship with gale-force winds.

Unable to control the zeppelin in the face of such strong winds, the crew steered toward the Danish coast for an emergency landing, but was unable to reach the shore before crashing into the North Sea. The Danish coast guard rescued 11 members of the crew who had abandoned ship and jumped into the sea prior to the crash; they were brought to Odense as prisoners to be interrogated. Four members of the crew were believed drowned and their bodies were never recovered.

One month earlier, the L-4 had taken part in the first-ever air raid on Britain in January 1915, when it and two other zeppelins dropped bombs on the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn on the eastern coast of England. Four civilians were killed in the raid, two in each town. Zeppelins would continue to wreak destruction on Germany’s enemies throughout the next several years of war–by May 1916, 550 British civilians had been killed by aerial bombs.


History Lesson to Help Stupidity

By HWB von Richter, Chancellor of the Society

History Lesson to Help Stupidity: We are going to give people who lack any understanding of history or think they have an understand of history on this Page, Website, and Historical Society’s Mission. 
People come here in support of Nazism and Racism, state the ‘Nazi’ army, think we support Nazism, and think every German Soldat is a Nazi due to the emblem or awards on his uniform.
Most of the German Wehrmacht and German Volk were not Nazis. 7.85% of the population were registered National Socialists at the height of the party. If you were a Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor, you had to register to continue your occupation. This does not include the other occupations also. With this in thinking, this will cut down the amount of true Nazis. Then you have people who want to advance, are worried about power, or want prominence. This reduces the number. I’m not going to give numbers I cannot provide so lets stick with 8% then go back to 1933. 

In 1933 Elections, Hitler and the National Socialists had polled over 11 million votes but was still behind Hindenburg. The second and final round took place on 10 April: Hitler (36.8% 13,418,547) lost out to Paul von Hindenburg (53.0% 19,359,983) whilst KPD candidate Thälmann gained a meagre percentage of the vote (10.2% 3,706,759). Now the Nazi lovers are going to come along and state that the 8% is not correct. It must be 36-37%. This is not accurate due to more ignorance of history. The German state is still in the Great Depression as is also the world. Hitler made many promises and did act on them which rose Germany from the chaos of this. As a politician, we give him credit. So many parts of the population want a better Germany as in the 36%. Hitler of course only gained 2nd most votes so in time (after political maneuvering) became Chancellor (2nd in power) to Hinderburg being number one in power. Then of course when Hindenburg passed from the earth, Hitler illegally seized power by also taking the office of President thus making himself Fuhrer. That is another story for another day.

Many conservative Nationalists voted for Hitler. Being only Nationalists, no they were not Nazis. They believed in the support of the country and having it grow strong again. Hitler and his group was a means to the end. Unfortunately they did not see how much power Hitler was to gain and the consequences of the future with the extermination camps. Many highly doubt that most would have not voted for Hitler with hindsight.

Nationalism is a love and support of your country. Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. Of course Socialism sounds like Communism, but it is not. It is a step towards it if nations make the mistake. Socialism is about your basic needs being met and provided to by the government/people. Gas, Water, Electricity, Healthcare provided at low cost to no cost to the people. National Socialism in Hitler’s form provides these elements.

National Socialism in the purest form was perverted by Hitler and his elite. Nazism is a characterized as a form of fascism that incorporates scientific racism and antisemitism. Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people’s community. So both words together are forever linked  to the regime.  Before this, both words could be used together to promote love of the country and providing services to the people.

National Socialism is dead. Yes there are Facists, Nazis, Neo-Nazis, Far Right who still think that it will make a comeback. This is impossible. Due to German culture and the guilt due to the ‘brown-shirted’ regime, this is dead in Germany. Due to the lessons of the Holocaust and World War Two, it is dead around the world. No one will support it in any form of a majority.

Neo-Nazism is an even more perverted form of National Socialism. ‘New’ National Socialism is a bunch of racists and bigots coming under one banner of Nazism thinking they are the new movement. They try to use the National Socialists of Germany (1923-1945) as their beacon and thing they most look up to. I hate to let them know that Nazi Germany had every color, race, religion serving in the Wehrmacht (please do not correct me, yes there were Jews in the armed forces, a small minority). The SS added what was called Divisions of the SS. This is non-aryan/partial Germanic divisions of the SS to fight in World War Two. Does everyone think that they would exterminate the other races on the planet after the war was won? More stupidity from a class of people who are on the level of gutter rats.

So back to the ‘Nazi’ army. Yes the Wehrmacht was created under the Third Reich and the National Socialist regime. The armed forces were not allowed to be registered Nazis. While some generals supported Nazism also including parts of the rank and file, most were good men who served their country in a time of need. Even ones who signed up for the Waffen-SS (military formations of the SS) were also good men. They were card carrying Nazi’s and prescribed to the virtues of the Nazi Party, but also good Germans who believed in the country and the German Volk. Does that make all SS men and Wehrmacht personnel good men in our opinions? No. There were formations under order who committed war time massacres which did come from superiors with evil or warped intentions. But for the overall German majority in the all the armed forces, most served with discipline, honor, distinction and the will to see the German Fatherland great again.

So for the ‘Nazi’ army or the website and historic society supporting Nazism, please take yourself to some obscure place or corner of the internet to enjoy your fantasies and stupidity. This was the armed forces of the Third Reich in which we honor the German man and woman who served the Fatherland.

After My Main Purpose, This Website Honors All German Soldiers. – “No Matter What has been Done in the Past or Present, We Honor the German Soldier with His Sacrifice and Dedication to Fatherland!”

Nach Mein Hauptzweck, Diese Website Ehrungen Alle Deutschen Soldaten. – “Egal, was in der Vergangenheit oder Gegenwart getan wurde, wir ehren den deutschen Soldaten mit seinem Opfer und seiner Hingabe an das Vaterland!”


German military short on tanks for NATO mission


The German military is under-equipped to take on its upcoming role as leader of NATO’s anti-Russian defense force, a leaked document shows. Opposition politicians say the defense minister is to blame.

The German military has secretly admitted that it can’t fulfill its promises to NATO, according to documents leaked to Die Welt newspaper on Thursday.

The Bundeswehr is due to take over leadership of NATO’s multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) at the start of next year, but doesn’t have enough tanks, the Defense Ministry document said.

Specifically, the Bundeswehr’s ninth tank brigade in Münster only has nine operational Leopard 2 tanks — even though it promised to have 44 ready for the VJTF — and only three of the promised 14 Marder armored infantry vehicles.

The paper also revealed the reason for this shortfall: a lack of spare parts and the high cost and time needed to maintain the vehicles. It added that it was also lacking night-vision equipment, automatic grenade launchers, winter clothing and body armor.

The German air force is also struggling to cover its NATO duties, the document revealed. The Luftwaffe’s main forces, the Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets and its CH-53 transport helicopters, are only available for use an average of four months a year — the rest of the time the aircraft are grounded for repairs and rearmament.

“The state for all part-time forces are similarly worrying,” Hans-Peter Bartels, parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, told Die Welt. Opposition politicians blamed Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen for allowing the military to deteriorate.

Von der Leyen should “ask herself what she’s been doing for the last legislative period,” Green party defense spokesman Tobias Lindner said in a statement.

“Apparently it is politically more opportune to constantly announce armament intentions and trend reversals, rather finally addressing the problems of spare parts and maintenance. Von der Leyen is fully and totally responsible for the current problems.”

Von der Leyen has been in the job since 2013.

More than just a money issue

Mark Galeotti, senior researcher and head of the Prague-based Center for European Security, said that “Germany’s various military woes” were no secret to the rest of NATO. “For a long time, Germany has under-spent dramatically, and, let’s be honest, wrapped itself in the mantle of its non-militarist foreign policy,” he told DW, before adding that it had long been clear that the country hadn’t been pulling its weight in the alliance.

According to the leaked document, the army would now be trying to cover its “capacity-relevant deficits out of the stocks of other units” — even though that would impact training and exercises elsewhere.

But Galeotti said that tanks present a particular technical challenge that could not necessarily be met just by throwing money at the problem.

“It’s not just about buying the actual chunks of hardware, it’s also about having precisely the spare parts, the technical infrastructure, the transporters, the refueling stations,” he said. “Tanks are surprisingly temperamental for these great armored beasts of war, which is why this deficit can’t quickly be made up, even if the money was available.”

Given Germany’s quasi-pacifist priorities (in NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan, Berlin had a reputation among allies for keeping its troops out of harm’s way), it is not surprising that the country should be cutting corners with tanks, Galeotti explained.

“Tanks are nothing but war-fighting instruments,” he said.

“A soldier in a jeep can be used in humanitarian deployments in Africa, can do all kinds of things. A tank is just a tank. And it’s that kind of outright military spending that is particularly where Germany has failed in the past two decades.”

The Luftwaffe doesn’t have as many Eurofighters as it would like.

The political trip-wire

NATO set up the VJTF, which includes 5,000 soldiers, in 2014 to ward off the threat of Russian military aggression against the alliance’s Baltic members. Living up to its name, it is supposed to be ready to fight within 24 hours, though the new documents show that France and Britain are currently the only major European powers with militaries capable of that kind of response.

But, as Galeotti said, the VJTF is more of a “political trip-wire” than a military force. “The point about this deployment is that it tells Russia: Yes, you might be sending your troops into Poland or Estonia, but you’re going to have to kill Germans, and other nationalities, the day you do that,” he said. “It’s a political commitment to the unity of NATO.”

For that reason, he argued, even though the tanks are important, the fact that the Bundeswehr will be sending fewer tanks than it would like to does not necessarily hobble the VJTF’s mission. “The Russians are not hell-bent on expansion or invasion. It’s not likely, certainly for the foreseeable future, that the Russians will want to tangle with NATO,” said Galeotti. “We must remember that European NATO, even without the Americans and the Canadians, has more ground troops than the Russians do.”


1943 Battle of the Kasserine Pass

Rommel in Tunisia speaking with troops riding a captured American built M3 Half-track.

On this day, German General Erwin Rommel and his Afrika Korps launch an offensive against an Allied defensive line in Tunisia, North Africa. The Kasserine Pass was the site of the United States’ first major battle defeat of the war.

General Erwin Rommel was dispatched to North Africa in February 1942, along with the new Afrika Korps, to prevent his Italian Axis partner from losing its territorial gains in the region to the British. Despite his skill, until this point Rommel had been unable to do much more than manage his own forces’ retreats, but the Battle of Kasserine Pass would finally display the “Desert Fox’s” strategic genius.

In the Battle of El Alamein in August 1942, British General Bernard Montgomery pushed Rommel out of Egypt and into Tunisia, behind the Mareth Line, a defensive fortification built by Vichy French forces. After taking several months to regroup, Rommel decided on a bold move. Rommel set his sites of Tunis, Tunisia’s capital and a key strategic goal for both Allied and Axis forces. Rommel determined that the weakest point in the Allied defensive line was at the Kasserine Pass, a 2-mile-wide gap in Tunisia’s Dorsal Mountains, which was defended by American troops. His first strike was repulsed, but with tank reinforcements, Rommel broke through on February 20, inflicting devastating casualties on the U.S. forces. The Americans withdrew from their position, leaving behind most of their equipment. More than 1,000 American soldiers were killed by Rommel’s offensive, and hundreds were taken prisoner. The United States had finally tasted defeat in battle.


1942 The “Channel Dash”

On this day, the German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst, as well as the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, escape from the French port of Brest and make a mad dash up the English Channel to safety in German waters.

The Gneisenau and Scharnhorst had been anchored at Brest since March 1941. The Prinz Eugen had been tied to the French port since the Bismarck sortie in May 1941, when it and the battleship Bismarck made their own mad dash through the Atlantic and the Denmark Strait to elude Royal Navy gunfire. All three were subject to periodic bombing raids–and damage–by the British, as the Brits attempted to ensure that the German warships never left the French coast. But despite the careful watch of British subs and aircraft, German Vice Admiral Otto Ciliax launched Operation Cerberus to lead the ships out of the French port.

The Germans, who had controlled and occupied France since June 1940, drew British fire deliberately, and the Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, and Prinz Eugen used the resulting skirmish as a defensive smoke screen. Six German destroyers and 21 torpedo boats accompanied the ships for protection as they moved north late on the night of February 11.

In the morning, German planes provided air cover as well; ace pilot Adolf Galland led 250 other fighters in an unusually well coordinated joint effort of the German navy and Luftwaffe. The British Royal Air Force also coordinated its attack with the Royal Navy Swordfish squadron, but a late start–the RAF did not realize until the afternoon of February 12 that the German squadron had pushed out to sea–and bad weather hindered their effort. All three German warships made it to a German port on February 13, although the Gneisenauand Scharnhorst had been damaged by British mines along the way.

The British lost 40 aircraft and six Navy Swordfish in the confrontation, while the Germans lost a torpedo boat and 17 aircraft. The “Channel Dash,” as it came to be called, was extremely embarrassing to the British, as it happened right under their noses. They would get revenge of a sort, though: British warships sunk the Scharnhorst in December 1944 as the German ship attempted to attack a Russian convoy. The Gneisenau was destroyed in a bombing raid while still in port undergoing repairs, and the Prinz Eugensurvived the war, but was taken over by the U.S. Navy at war’s end.


German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History