Update 1-30-2018 : New Pictures Added to the Website

New Pictures have been added to the Website:

  • Past Re-Enacting Events
  • Historical Society of German Military History Collection of Memorabilia – Historic Items (Members Only)
  • Models and Toys of Others from Around the World
  • Battle of Crete
  • Eastern Front
  • Battle of Normandy – Invasion of Normandy & Operation Cobra Plus Others Battles in France
  • Falaise Pocket
  • Battle for Western Germany
  • Other World War 2 Battles/ Major Events
  • German Heer – Army
  • Volkssturm – People’s Militia
  • Foreign Troops in the Wehrmacht
  • Orders of Battle – Armies and Armeegruppes
  • Pak Anti-Tank Guns
  • Destroyed or Left Over Vehicles & Equipment from War
  • Fallschirmjägers – Paratroopers – Green Devils
  • Luftwaffe Varied Plane Types
  • Hand Held Infantry Weapons or Light Equipment of WW2
  • World War 2 Generals – V
  • Luftwaffe Pilots & Airmen – H thru M
  • Third Reich Era War Medals and Decorations – Luftwaffe 1933-1946
  • East Germany 1949-1990
  • Reichstag
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Modern Germany Information and Facts
  • Black and White Photos of Adolf Hitler (Members Only)
  • Leading Figures of Nazi Germany – M thru Z
  • SS – Schutzstaffel
  • Order of Battle – Waffen-SS Divisions
  • SS Panzer Division – Hitlerjugend

New Pages have been added to the Website:

  • German Reunification
  • Information and Facts of World War 1

 

Enjoy!

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1943 RAF launches massive daytime raid on Berlin

On this day, the British Royal Air Force begins a bombing campaign on the German capital that coincides with the 10th anniversary of Hitler’s accession to power.

The Casablanca Conference, held from January 14 to 23, saw Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff meet in Morocco to discuss future war strategy following on the success of the North African invasion, which heralded the defeat of Vichy forces. One of the resolutions of the conference was to launch a combined and sustained strategic bombing effort against the Germans. Strategic bombing was the policy of using bombers to destroy an enemy’s warmaking capacity, also referred to as “area bombing.” Churchill described it as an “absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers…upon the Nazi homeland.”

To celebrate the anniversary of Hitler’s 1933 appointment to the office of chancellor by then-President Paul von Hindenburg, both propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and head of the Luftwaffe Hermann Goering planned to give radio addresses to the German masses. Goebbels intended to bolster morale by hailing an impending victory in Russia: “A thousand years hence, every German will speak with awe of Stalingrad and remember that it was there that Germany put the seal on her victory.” As the speeches were broadcast, RAF fighters rained bombs on Berlin, the beginning of devastating attacks on German cities that would last until the very end of the war. To make matters even worse for the Germans, the next day a massive surrender of German troops occurred at Stalingrad.

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1933 Adolf Hitler is named chancellor of Germany

On this day in 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg names Adolf Hitler, leader or fÜhrer of the National Socialist German Workers Party (or Nazi Party), as chancellor of Germany.

The year 1932 had seen Hitler’s meteoric rise to prominence in Germany, spurred largely by the German people’s frustration with dismal economic conditions and the still-festering wounds inflicted by defeat in the Great War and the harsh peace terms of the Versailles treaty. A charismatic speaker, Hitler channeled popular discontent with the post-war Weimar government into support for his fledgling Nazi party. In an election held in July 1932, the Nazis won 230 governmental seats; together with the Communists, the next largest party, they made up over half of the Reichstag.

Hindenburg, intimidated by Hitler’s growing popularity and the thuggish nature of his cadre of supporters, the SA (or Brownshirts), initially refused to make him chancellor. Instead, he appointed General Kurt von Schleicher, who attempted to steal Hitler’s thunder by negotiating with a dissident Nazi faction led by Gregor Strasser. At the next round of elections in November, the Nazis lost ground—but the Communists gained it, a paradoxical effect of Schleicher’s efforts that made right-wing forces in Germany even more determined to get Hitler into power. In a series of complicated negotiations, ex-Chancellor Franz von Papen, backed by prominent German businessmen and the conservative German National People’s Party (DNVP), convinced Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor, with the understanding that von Papen as vice-chancellor and other non-Nazis in key government positions would contain and temper Hitler’s more brutal tendencies.

Hitler’s emergence as chancellor on January 30, 1933, marked a crucial turning point for Germany and, ultimately, for the world. His plan, embraced by much of the German population, was to do away with politics and make Germany a powerful, unified one-party state. He began immediately, ordering a rapid expansion of the state police, the Gestapo, and putting Hermann Goering in charge of a new security force, composed entirely of Nazis and dedicated to stamping out whatever opposition to his party might arise. From that moment on, Nazi Germany was off and running, and there was little Hindenburg or von Papen—or anyone—could do to stop it.

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1915 German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads daring mission in France

On January 29, 1915, in the Argonne region of France, German lieutenant Erwin Rommel leads his company in the daring capture of four French block-houses, the structures used on the front to house artillery positions.

Rommel crept through the French wire first and then called for the rest of his company to follow him. When they hung back after he had repeatedly shouted his orders, Rommel crawled back, threatening to shoot the commander of his lead platoon if the other men did not follow him. The company finally advanced, capturing the block-houses and successfully combating an initial French counter-attack before they were surrounded, subjected to heavy fire and forced to withdraw.

Rommel was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class, for his bravery in the Argonne; he was the first officer of his regiment to be so honored. Where Rommel is, there is the front, became a popular slogan within his regiment. The bravery and ingenuity he displayed throughout the Great War, even in light of the eventual German defeat, led to Rommel’s promotion through the ranks of the army in the post-war years.

In May 1940, Erwin Rommel was at the head of the 7th Panzer Division that invaded France with devastating success at the beginning of the Second World War. Promoted to general and later to field marshal, he was sent to North Africa at the head of the German forces sent to aid Hitler’s ally, Benito Mussolini. Known as the Desert Fox, Rommel engineered impressive victories against Britain in Libya and Egypt before his troops were decisively defeated at El Alamein in Egypt in 1943 and forced to retreat from the region.

Back in France to see the success of the Allied invasion in June and July 1944, Rommel warned Hitler that the end of the war was near. The unequal struggle is nearing its end, Rommel sent in a teletype message on July 15. I must ask you immediately to draw the necessary conclusions from this situation.

Suspected by Hitler of conspiring against him in the so-called July Plot, Rommel was presented with an ultimatum: suicide, with a state funeral and protection for his family, or trial for high treason. Rommel chose the former, taking poison pills on October 14, 1944. He was buried with full military honors.

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1944 Siege of Leningrad is lifted

By History

On this day, Soviet forces permanently break the Leningrad siege line, ending the almost 900-day German-enforced containment of the city, which cost hundreds of thousands of Russian lives.

The siege began officially on September 8, 1941. The people of Leningrad began building antitank fortifications and succeeded in creating a stable defense of the city, but as a result were cut off from all access to vital resources in the Soviet interior, Moscow specifically. In 1942, an estimated 650,000 Leningrad citizens perished from starvation, disease, exposure, and injuries suffered from continual German artillery bombardment.

Barges offered occasional relief in the summer and ice-borne sleds did the same in the winter. Slowly but surely a million of Leningrad’s young, sick, and elderly residents were evacuated, leaving about 2 million to ration available food and use all open ground to plant vegetables.

On January 12, Soviet defenses punctured the siege, ruptured the German encirclement, and allowed more supplies to come in along Lake Ladoga. The siege officially ended after 872 days (though it is often called the 900-day siege), after a Soviet counteroffensive pushed the Germans westward.

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1943 Americans bomb Germans for first time

By History

On this day, 8th Air Force bombers, dispatched from their bases in England, fly the first American bombing raid against the Germans, targeting the Wilhelmshaven port. Of 64 planes participating in the raid, 53 reached their target and managed to shoot down 22 German planes—and lost only three planes in return.

The 8th Air Force was activated in February 1942 as a heavy bomber force based in England. Its B-17 Flying Fortresses, capable of sustaining heavy damage while continuing to fly, and its B-24 Liberators, long-range bombers, became famous for precision bombing raids, the premier example being the raid on Wilhelmshaven. Commanded at the time by Brig. Gen. Newton Longfellow, the 8th Air Force was amazingly effective and accurate in bombing warehouses and factories in this first air attack against the Axis power.

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1918 Workers prepare to strike in Germany

By History

Plagued by hunger and increasingly frustrated with the continuing Great War, hundreds of thousands of long-suffering German workers prepare for a massive strike in Berlin.

Although the year 1917 had brought a string of military triumphs to the Central Powers—Kaiser Wilhelm, on a visit to the Western Front in December, told his troops that the year’s events proved that God was on the side of the Germans—it had also seen hunger and discontent on the home front rise to unprecedented levels. There were a total of 561 strikes in 1917, up from 240 the year before and 137 in 1915. Real wages—or the ratio of wages to cost of living—were falling, with disastrous effects for industrial and white-collar workers alike.

War with Russia had cut Germany and Austria-Hungary off from a crucial supply of food and the Allied naval blockade in the North Sea, in effect since early in the war, had exacerbated the resulting shortages. At the beginning of 1918, the thorny negotiations between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk promised to delay a much-needed influx of food and resources even longer. Discontent flared first in Austria, where flour rations were cut in mid-January. Strikes began almost immediately in Vienna and by January 19 there was a general strike throughout the country.

Food shortages were even worse in Germany, where some 250,000 people had died from hunger in 1917. On January 28, 1918, 100,000 workers took to the streets of Berlin, demanding an end to the war on all fronts. Within a few days, the number was up to 400,000. The Berlin strikers enjoyed support in a string of other major cities, including Dusseldorf, Kiel, Cologne and Hamburg. By one estimate, more than 4 million took to the streets across Germany.

The reaction of the German government and the army—frightened by visions of Bolshevik-style revolution and worried the workers’ revolt would further delay the peace talks at Brest-Litovsk—was swift and decisive. On January 31, a state of siege was declared and the ringleaders of the strikes were arrested and court-martialed. One hundred and fifty were imprisoned, while 50,000 more were drafted into the army and sent to the front.

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