7 March – Today in German History

1936

  • Adolf Hitler violates the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact by sending German military forces into the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone along the Rhine River in western Germany.

    The Treaty of Versailles, signed in July 1919 only eight months after the guns fell silent in World War I, called for stiff war reparation payments and other punishing peace terms for defeated Germany. Having been forced to sign the treaty, the German delegation to the peace conference indicated its attitude by breaking the ceremonial pen. As dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, Germany’s military forces were reduced to insignificance and the Rhineland was to be demilitarized.

1945

  • During World War II, U.S. forces cross the Rhine River at Remagen, Germany.

1989

Memo from Beria to Stalin, proposing the execution of Polish officers.
  • Poland accused the Soviet Union of a World War II massacre in Katyn. 22,000 suffered this fate. Of the total killed, about 8,000 were Polish military officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, and the remaining 8,000 were Polish intelligentsia the Soviets deemed to be intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials, and priests. Originally, the U.S.S.R. blamed this on Germany after the discovery in 1943 by Nazi authorities. In November 2010, the Russian State Duma approved a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for ordering the massacre.
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