The MegaMilitary Project | Online Edition #373

World War II European Theater

At 4:30 on the morning of September 1, 1939, Hitler's Luftwaffe (air force) started the bombing of airfields all across Poland. Simultaneously, a German battleship "visiting" the Polish port of Danzig opened fire on Polish fortifications, and the Wehrmacht (army) surged across the Polish frontier. The rapid combined air, sea, and land assault was the essence of blitzkrieg (lightning war), and the superbly trained and equipped German forces swept aside the valiant but outgunned and outnumbered Polish forces. On September 27, Warsaw fell to the invaders; the next day, the town of Modlin surrendered. In a single action, 164,000 Polish soldiers became prisoners of war. By early October, the last organized Polish force at Kock had been crushed. It mattered not at all that two days after the invasion, both France and Britain honored their treaty obligations to Poland by declaring war on Germany.

So it began again, a war sparked by nationality conflicts in east-central Europe and provoked, in part, by a German stab at continental hegemony that expanded into a global conflict touching every continent. It was a more total war than even World War I had been, since the belligerent powers' civilians not only contributed to their war efforts but also became targets for their enemies.

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Altmark Incident - 16th February 1940

World War II European Theater
On the 16th of February 1940, a boarding party from the British Royal Navy seized the German supply ship Altmark in the territorial waters of then-neutral Norway and freed several British POWs. This incident contributed to Nazi Germany's plan to invade Denmark and Norway.

Ardeatine Caves Massacre (1944)

World War II European Theater
The Ardeatine Caves massacre was the first major atrocity committed by German forces in Italy during World War II as a reprisal for partisan actions. On the afternoon of 23 March 1944, in Rome's Via Rasella, a group of 16 urban partisans of the Patriotic Action Group ambushed and bombed a German police unit that was part of the German occupation...
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Dark Secret of the Lusitania - National Geographic Documentary

Dark Secret of the Lusitania - National Geographic Documentary

A German torpedo hit the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915. Shortly after, a substantial second explosion shook the ship. Within 20 minutes, the vessel known as the "Greyhound of the Seas" had sunk to the ocean floor, resulting in the deaths of almost 1200 individuals. A new two-step investigation...
Submitted by: Tim Kirsten
22 March 2024

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