September 28, 1914

September 28, 1914

On the Eastern Front, Germany sends the army of General von Hindenburg to the assistance of Austria, which has been driven back from Galicia by Russian forces and a combined advance of German and Austrian forces starts. They advance as far as the Vistula River south of Warsaw, and then must halt and fall back. They have, however, delayed the onset of a planned major Russian offensive.


1940 The Tripartite Pact is signed by Germany, Italy, and Japan

On this day in 1940, the Axis powers are formed as Germany, Italy, and Japan become allies with the signing of the Tripartite Pact in Berlin. The Pact provided for mutual assistance should any of the signatories suffer attack by any nation not already involved in the war. This formalizing of the alliance was aimed directly at “neutral” America–designed to force the United States to think twice before venturing in on the side of the Allies.

The Pact also recognized the two spheres of influence. Japan acknowledged “the leadership of Germany and Italy in the establishment of a new order in Europe,” while Japan was granted lordship over “Greater East Asia.”

A footnote: There was a fourth signatory to the Pact-Hungary, which was dragged into the Axis alliance by Germany in November 1940.


September 25 in German History


Peace of Augsburg takes effect ending conflicts for a time between Catholics and Protestants. The Peace of Augsburg refers to a settlement between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Lutheran princes that accorded Lutheran churches legal status in Germany. This settlement resolved the conflict on a state level but did not resolve any of the theological issues in the Reformation.


A peace treaty is signed between Germany and Andorra ending WWI. (Andorra had not been included in the Versailles Treaty.)

1942 – British bombers attempted to destroy the local headquarters of the German Gestapo in Norway. The plan failed.


Death of the “Butcher of Lyon”, Klaus Barbie, in Lyon, France. Barbie was the head of the Gestapo in Lyon from 1942-1944. He had 4,000 people executed and over 7,000 deported. After WWII American forces employed him in counterintelligence and then moved him to Bolivia where he led a life as a businessman named Klaus Altmann. He was found in 1972 and extradited to France. In 1987 he was tried in Lyon for crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison.


Alaric, the leader of the Visigoths takes and plunders Rome. This was one of the final blows which would bring about the end of the Roman Empire

The Visigoths were one of the east Germanic tribes. There were three Germanic groupings: north Germanic, west Germanic and east Germanic (Goths). Modern Germans descend from the west Germanic grouping. The Gothic language and culture did not survive into modern times. The gothic peoples were driven from their lands by the Huns. The Visigoths moved finally into the area which is now France and were assimilated there and the Ostrogoths into Italy where they were assimilated by the majority culture.


The First Day on the Eastern Front. Germany Invades the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941

In the spirit of Martin Middlebrook’s classic First Day on the Somme, Craig Luther narrates the events of June 22, 1941, a day when German military might was at its peak and seemed as though it would easily conquer the Soviet Union, a day the common soldiers would remember for its tension and the frogs bellowing in the Polish marshlands. It was a day when the German blitzkrieg decimated Soviet command and control within hours and seemed like nothing would stop it from taking Moscow. Luther narrates June 22—one of the pivotal days of World War II—from high command down to the tanks and soldiers at the sharp end, covering strategy as well as tactics and the vivid personal stories of the men who crossed the border into the Soviet Union that fateful day, which is the Eastern Front in microcosm, representing the years of industrial-scale warfare that followed and the unremitting hostility of Germans and Soviets. In his endorsement of the book Victor Davis Hanson writes: “Craig Luther’s [new book] continues his invaluable explorations of he disastrous German invasion of the Soviet Union, by focusing on the first day of Operation Barbarossa . . . A rich scholarly resource that historians of the Eastern Front will find invaluable.”

The book will be released by Stackpole Books on 1 November 2018.


Barbarossa Unleashed. The German Blitzkrieg through Central Russia to the Gates of Moscow, June-December 1941

This book examines in unprecedented detail the advance of Germany’s Army Group Center through central Russia, toward Moscow, in the summer of 1941, followed by brief accounts of the Battle of Moscow and subsequent winter battles into early 1942. Based on hundreds of veterans accounts, archival documents, and exhaustive study of the pertinent primary and secondary literature, the book offers new insights into Operation Barbarossa, Adolf Hitler s attack on Soviet Russia in June 1941. While the book meticulously explores the experiences of the German soldier in Russia, in the cauldron battles along the Minsk-Smolensk-Moscow axis, it places their experiences squarely within the strategic and operational context of the Barbarossa campaign. Controversial subjects, such as the culpability of the German eastern armies in war crimes against the Russian people, are also examined in detail. This book is the most detailed account to date of virtually all aspects of the German soldiers experiences in Russia in 1941. Writes eastern front historian David Stahel in his review of the book: “The combination of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approaches makes Luther’s work a landmark study of Operation Barbarossa.” (War in History)

Based on great reviews, we recommend this book. You can find the book at these places for sale: 


1939 Britain and France Declare War on Germany

German troops marching through occupied Warsaw during World War Two, Poland, circa 1939.

On this day in 1939, in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France, both allies of the overrun nation declare war on Germany.

The first casualty of that declaration was not German—but the British ocean liner Athenia, which was sunk by a German U-30 submarine that had assumed the liner was armed and belligerent. There were more than 1,100 passengers on board, 112 of whom lost their lives. Of those, 28 were Americans, but President Roosevelt was unfazed by the tragedy, declaring that no one was to “thoughtlessly or falsely talk of America sending its armies to European fields.” The United States would remain neutral.

As for Britain’s response, it was initially no more than the dropping of anti-Nazi propaganda leaflets—13 tons of them—over Germany. They would begin bombing German ships on September 4, suffering significant losses. They were also working under orders not to harm German civilians. The German military, of course, had no such restrictions. France would begin an offensive against Germany’s western border two weeks later. Their effort was weakened by a narrow 90-mile window leading to the German front, enclosed by the borders of Luxembourg and Belgium—both neutral countries. The Germans mined the passage, stalling the French offensive.