20 May 1945

20 May 1945


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20 May 1945

Yugoslavia

Tito withdraws his troops from Carinthia after coming to an agreement with Field-Marshal Alexander

German

US troops are to occupy the Saar Basin, the Rhine Valley and part of the Ruhr

Middle East

Syria and Lebanon break off negotiations with a French delegation attempts to arrange a French return to the area.

Pacific

Australian troops on Bougainville begin an advance from the Hongorai River (southern front).



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20 May 1945 - History

B-25 Empire State Building Collision

    I heard a big plane hit the Empire State Building in World War II. Why didn't the skyscraper collapse like the World Trade Center did?
    - question from Tina Weaver


North face of the Empire State Building looking south

One of the many who contributed to the war effort was Lt. Col. Bill Smith, a decorated pilot who had flown a B-17 Flying Fortress for the US Army Air Force. Now returned from Europe, Smith was put in charge of a routine flight to ferry a B-25D Mitchell bomber from Bedford, Massachusetts, to Newark, New Jersey. The bomber, operating under the call sign Army 0577, was nicknamed "Old John Feather Merchant" and had been converted into a VIP transport. Smith was to pick up his commanding officer at Newark before continuing on to Sioux Falls Army Air Base in South Dakota. The B-25 was a medium twin-engine bomber, far smaller than the B-17 Smith flew over Europe, but both designs saw widespread use throughout the War. Accompanying Smith on his journey was SSgt. Christopher Domitrovich and an aviation machinist's mate from the Navy named Albert Perna. Perna had hitched a ride on the flight to return to Brooklyn and console his parents following the death of their other son who lost his life in the Pacific.

The B-25 departed on its fateful mission just before 9 AM headed south for New Jersey. Less than an hour into the flight, however, Smith received warnings from the New York Municipal Airport in Queens (now called LaGuardia Airport) that thick fog had enveloped the city. The field's control tower ominously reported, "We're unable to see the top of the Empire State. Suggest you land here." Though Smith acknowledged the message, he apparently ignored it and requested clearance to continue to Newark.

The plane was only minutes from LaGuardia but lost in a dense fog that limited visibility. Flight rules of the time required aircraft to maintain an altitude of at least 2,000 ft (610 m) over the city, but Smith dropped to less than half that height hoping to regain sight of the ground. That he surely did, but the pilot had misjudged his location and soon found his plane bounding through the concrete canyons of the city's skyscrapers. The bomber soon attracted attention from alarmed citizens as its roaring engines echoed off the facades of buildings below. Those working in the upper stories of office buildings raced to windows to watch in amazement as a plane flew beneath them, turning and banking rapidly as its wingtips barely missed some structures. One observer was Army Air Force Lt. Frank Covey who spotted the doomed B-25 from his room in the Biltmore Hotel. Covey watched in disbelief as the plane barely missed the New York Central Office Building and was no higher than its 22nd floor.


North American B-25 Mitchell bomber

The bomber raced west roughly following 42nd Street before turning south near the intersection with 5th Avenue. This turn proved a fatal mistake as it brought the lumbering plane directly towards the north face of the world's tallest building. Stan Lomax, a local sports announcer for radio station WOR, was driving to work when he first noticed the sound of propeller engines of the approaching B-25. As he looked up, he yelled, "Climb, you fool, climb!" from his car window.

At the last moment, Lt. Col. Smith must have seen the profile of the Empire State Building looming out of the fog. He tried to pull up while banking away, but the distance was too short and the bomber's velocity too great. At approximately 9:49 AM, the B-25 plunged into the 78th and 79th floors of the skyscraper some 975 ft (295 m) above ground level. The plane impacted at an estimated speed of 200 miles per hour (320 km/h) making the building shake under the force of the collision. The high-speed crash also caused the plane's fuel tanks to explode, sending a fireball 100 ft (30 m) high and releasing blazing gasoline down the facade of the building. Sheets of flame also raced through the maze of hallways and stairwells inside the building, reaching at least as far down as the 75th floor.

The crash tore a hole about 18 ft (5.5 m) wide by 20 ft (6 m) tall in the 34th Street exterior of the Empire State Building. While the 78th and 79th floors bore the brunt of the damage, one of the B-25's engines fell down an elevator shaft and set off a major fire in the basement. The other engine hurtled across the building and tore through seven walls before emerging from the 33rd Street side of the tower. The debris crashed through the roof of a thirteen-story building across the street where another fire erupted. Other heavy wreckage, including the landing gear, also caused damage to the Empire State and nearby buildings while Stan Lomax reportedly saw part of a wing catapulting towards Madison Avenue.


Damage done to the Empire State Building by the B-25 impact

Crowds soon gathered near the base of the wounded skyscraper. According to Walter Daniels of the New York Times, "People sensed disaster. Everyone started running towards Fifth Avenue." The raging fire burned away the fog treating the assembled masses to a clear view of the spectacle above. As flaming fuel and wreckage showered down, however, spectators fled the area to find cover under nearby buildings. Taxi driver Raphael Gomez brought his vehicle to a screeching halt as debris rained down on his cab. "I was so scared, I just sat there. People were running all over," he stated.

After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and long years of world conflict, many naturally thought the city was under attack. This confusion is exemplified by one of the building's workers Doris Pope. "That day, as we were getting ready to take our coffee break, we heard this terrible noise, and the building started to shake. . As we looked out our third-floor window, we saw debris fall on to the street. We immediately thought New York was being bombed."

Another witness to the disaster was Donald Maloney, a 17-year-old apprentice pharmacist's mate in the US Coast Guard. Maloney had been shopping nearby when he saw the crash and darted into a drug store. "Give me morphine, hypos, needles, first aid kits! It's an emergency," he demanded. Maloney then raced into the Empire State Building to render aid to victims of the crash.

The need for help was greatest on the 79th floor where the offices of the National Catholic Welfare Conference were located. On this Saturday morning, about 20 people were present. Most were young female clerks organizing aid for refugees of the war. Six of the girls never had a chance as they were engulfed in flame and died instantly at their desks, and more workers succumbed to the flames as they tried to escape. Another victim was a female publicist thrown through a window by the blast. Paul Dearing, who was working in the far corner of the Catholic offices, was also killed after he leapt from a window and struck a ledge a few stories down. The rest of the aid workers miraculously reached the safety of a fireproof stairwell required of high-rise buildings.

Catherine O'Connor, who was working near the crash site, further describes the horror of the disaster: "The plane exploded within the building. There were five or six seconds--I was tottering on my feet trying to keep my balance--and three-quarters of the office was instantaneously consumed in this sheet of flame. One man was standing inside the flame. I could see him. It was a co-worker, Joe Fountain. His whole body was on fire. I kept calling to him, 'Come on, Joe come on, Joe.'" Though Fountain managed to walk out of the fire and escaped the building, his injuries were too severe and he died a few days later. Another victim was a janitor who was trapped by fire and lost his life on the 78th floor. Luckily, this floor was only used for mechanical spaces and storage. Had it been occupied, the death toll could have been considerably higher.


News of the disaster on the front page of the New York Times

Yet for each tragic death, dozens more defied the odds and escaped the conflagration. A group of 60 men, women, and children were visiting the observation deck on the 86th floor when they were hurled across the building by the B-25 impact. Thick smoke from the intense inferno quickly filled the floor making breathing difficult. Guides were unable to find keys to the glass doors onto the open balcony outside but soon broke them open to let in fresh air. The group was then led down 86 flights of the fireproof stairwell to safety.

As the group passed the 80th floor, they heard pounding on the walls and screams of those trapped inside. This floor held the offices of Daniel Nordan and his assistant Arthur Palmer. Nordan later recalled, "We were lifted three feet out of our chairs and thrown to the floor--I thought it was a Japanese bomb!" The pair tried to flee into a corridor but they were driven back by intense flames from the crash just one floor down. They also discovered a female elevator operator who was badly burned and panicking. The group was only able to escape after the two men used a hammer to break through a wall to another office leading to an undamaged hallway and the fireproof staircase. The pair carried the injured girl through the passage and down the stairs to rescue workers.

The most amazing tale of survival, however, belongs to another elevator operator named Betty Lou Oliver. The 20-year-old woman had just opened the door to her elevator on the 75th floor when the B-25 exploded. The blast threw Oliver out of the elevator and across the hall where two other women from a nearby office found her. Oliver was badly burned, and the two women gave her first aid before helping her into another elevator to reach medical care. Just as the doors closed, the elevator cables snapped sending Oliver and a second female operator plummeting towards the ground.

Coast Guard pharmacist Donald Maloney was waiting for an elevator on the ground floor when he heard the screams of the two girls as their elevator car hurtled past. Maloney and nearby firemen raced downstairs, fearing the worst. Once the firemen used axes to break through a wall, the guardsman crawled into the elevator car and discovered both women battered but still alive. Emergency hydraulics applied brakes to the plunging car, and severed cables hanging beneath the elevator piled up and acted like a coiled spring that slowed the elevator as it fell. Air trapped within the confined space was also compressed by the falling car building up pressure that slowed the elevator's descent. Maloney found Betty Lou Oliver slumped in a corner and covered in debris. Though she was burned and dazed with both legs smashed, her first words upon seeing her rescuer were, "Thank God, the Navy's here! I'll be OK now."


Victim of the fire receiving treatment

Maloney treated both women and left them in the care of the firemen before racing back upstairs to help more victims. He gave aid to a badly burned man in the lobby as well as several other injured people before joining a priest for the long climb up the skyscraper. Not knowing exactly where the crash occurred, the pair opened the stairwell door every few floors trying to find where the injured might be. As they passed the 70th floor, the men began encountering pools of fuel and oil, scorched walls, and wafting smoke.

By the time they reached the 79th floor, the only people left were those who had already perished in the fiery crash. Despite its initial intensity, the fire largely exhausted itself within 35 minutes and left only charred, smoldering ruins by the time rescuers arrived. The men were soon joined by New York's Mayor La Guardia who, in spite of his rather plump physique, had also climbed all 79 stories. Those present commented on the mayor's flaring temper as he shook his fists and muttered, "I told the Army not to fly over the city!"

Mayor La Guardia later gave Donald Maloney a commendation for the bravery he showed on that tragic morning. Another 17-year-old boy celebrated for his heroism was a Brooklyn student named Herbert Fabian who took over an abandoned elevator and rescued 20 people trapped between the 30th and 40th floors. Harold Smith, who worked on the 62nd floor, was also congratulated for helping firemen rescue three women trapped on a higher level.

The final toll of the disaster was 14 dead and 26 injured. Among those killed were the three crew of the bomber and eleven victims in the building. Nine of the civilian deaths were office workers while the others were a janitor and an elevator operator. The body of the Navy hitchhiker Albert Perna was found two days after the crash at the bottom of an elevator shaft, but the other two crewmen were burned beyond recognition. The crash caused $1 million in damages but workers were reportedly able to repair the building within just three months. Workers had to repair or replace bent girders, seal the walls, and restore the two most heavily damaged floors.


Approximate location of the B-25 crash circled in red

Yet the disaster could have been far worse. The low number of casualties is mostly due to the fact the accident occurred on a Saturday when only a few businesses and relief organizations were open, and roughly 1,500 people were in the building at the time of the crash. On a normal weekday, the Empire State Building housed over 15,000 workers and stood at one of the busiest street corners in the world. The intersection of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue would normally see the passage of over 40,000 vehicles and 200,000 pedestrians in an average day. The death toll might also have been much higher had the B-25 been carrying a bomb load and more fuel since a heavier plane would have done considerably more structural damage. As it was, the bomber was about to land and near its minimum weight.

We will go into greater detail documenting the collapse of the World Trade Center in a future article, but a number of factors explain why the Empire State Building suffered relatively minor damage while the twin towers were catastrophically destroyed. First, the energy of impact sustained by the buildings differed by orders of magnitude. The B-25 that struck the Empire State Building weighed approximately 21,500 lb (9,760 kg) and was traveling around 200 mph (320 km/h). The kinetic energy it created in the collision was about 30 million ft-lb (40 million Joules).

The twin towers of the World Trade Center, by comparison, were struck by Boeing 767 airliners traveling over twice as fast and weighing nearly 15 times as much as a B-25. The energy of impact for the two planes ranged from 2 billion ft-lb (2.6 billion Joules) to 3 billion ft-lb (4.1 billion Joules), some 60 to 100 times greater than that absorbed by the Empire State Building. This estimate is also conservative since it does not account for the energy released by the exploding jet fuel, which greatly exceeded the energy released by the much smaller B-25 fuel supply as well. The greater kinetic energy allowed the 767 aircraft to penetrate much further into the twin towers than the B-25 was able to do at the Empire State Building. Most of the B-25 impact was absorbed by the building's exterior wall leaving very little to damage the interior structure. The 767 impacts, however, not only produced gaping holes in the WTC exterior but also destroyed much of the structural core at the center of each tower.


Smoke rising from the Empire State Building after the impact

Even so, the impact alone does not fully explain what doomed the World Trade Center towers. A fatal contributing factor was the fires ignited by the exploding fuel tanks. A 767 has a maximum fuel capacity 35 times greater than that of a B-25D. The aircraft that struck the Empire State Building was nearly out of fuel when it crashed while each 767 still carried approximately half of its maximum fuel load at impact. The Empire State Building fire exhausted its supply of fuel rapidly while that at the World Trade Center ignited the office contents across several floors and burned much longer. The type of fuel carried may also be a significant factor. The B-25 burned avgas, a high-octane version of gasoline still used aboard piston engine aircraft today. The 767 instead uses Jet-A, a derivative of kerosene that fuels all commercial jetliners. Jet fuel tends to reach higher temperatures than gasoline causing the fires in the WTC to burn more intensely than that in the Empire State Building.

Aggravating the situation further was the size of the holes torn in the building exteriors. Fires in office buildings generally consume the oxygen available in the enclosed space rapidly limiting the growth and strength of the fire. The exterior holes, however, allowed fresh air to be pulled into the buildings helping the fires to move through the building and consume additional combustible material. Since the damage to the facades of both WTC towers was far more extensive than at the Empire State Building, more air was available to encourage the fires. The air at the Empire State Building was also damp because of the foggy conditions and may have played a role in limiting the extent of the fires in that structure.

Furthermore, the Empire State Building is a reinforced masonry structure in which the structural steel beams are encased within limestone walls or slabs of concrete 8 inches (20 cm) thick. This heavy mass provides exceptional fire protection that insulates the steel within from excessive heating. Many modern skyscrapers like the WTC towers have eliminated this extensive use of stone and concrete to reduce cost. The World Trade Center instead relied on lightweight spay-on coatings for insulation. This insulation was simply blown off the WTC structure by the 767 collisions exposing the steel beams and floor trusses to the raging fire.

The Empire State Building is also a heavily compartmented structure. Each floor is self contained with its own independent heating and cooling ducts, elevator and utility shafts are surrounded by thick masonry walls, fire partitions separate each floor and rooms within each floor, and the fireproof stairway prevents smoke from rising to upper stories. These features make it very difficult for fire to spread beyond a limited area. The World Trade Center instead offered vast open floor spaces that appealed to tenants but allowed fires to spread far more easily. Moreover, the fire suppression system in both towers lacked redundancy and the 767 collisions cut off the water supply to the sprinklers. For these reasons, the Empire State Building is still considered one of the world's safest skyscrapers in a fire.

The Empire State Building crash of 1945 also offers insights into the Pentagon attack on September 11. Both buildings are reinforced masonry structures built using similar methods and materials, although the Pentagon has been considerably upgraded to survive impact damage. One topic often used to promote conspiracy theories is the size of the hole in the exterior wall of the Pentagon created by the Boeing 757 that struck it. The 757 has a wingspan of almost 125 ft (38 m), yet most conspiracy sites suggest the impact hole is only 15 to 65 ft (4.5 to 20 m) wide. The same can be said of the Empire State Building where a plane with a wingspan greater than 67 ft (20.5 m) created a hole no more than 20 ft (6 m) across.


Photo taken by Ernie Sisto as he crawled onto a ledge and two people held his legs

Both aircraft caused damage consistent with the size of the plane and the structural materials used in the facade. Most of the mass of a plane is contained within the fuselage, inner wing structure, and engine nacelles. These portions of the aircraft have the greatest power to penetrate a wall upon impact, and the sizes of the impact holes at both the Empire State Building and the Pentagon are consistent with the dimensions of the fuselage and nacelles of the B-25 and 757, respectively. The outer wings and tail surfaces are much lighter structures consisting mostly of a thin skin enclosing empty space. Upon colliding a thick wall composed of a dense material like stone or concrete, these light aerodynamic structures simply disintegrate. The impact often produces surface gouging and perhaps small, localized holes, but the lighter aircraft structures generally cannot penetrate a reinforced masonry wall. Close examination of both buildings shows gouges extending outward from the central impact hole as would be expected from the collision of wings.

In the aftermath of the 1945 crash, flight rules over New York City were strengthened and the Army Air Force began requiring additional training for pilots transitioning to domestic flying after combat overseas. Tenants also started returning to the Empire State Building as soon as repairs were completed, and the Catholic Relief Services still maintain offices on the 79th floor today. Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver recovered from her injuries and continues to hold the record for surviving the longest fall in an elevator, over 1,000 feet.

Additional information on the historic event can be found in this contemporary radio report from the Mutual Broadcast System. The clip even includes an audio recording of the B-25 flying over a nearby building and the sound of its subsequent crash.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 17 June 2007

Although the B-25 crash brought new awareness to the danger of low-altitude flight over New York City, a nearly identical accident occurred less than a year later on 20 May 1946. A small twin-engined C-45 transport plane of the US Army Air Force was on a navigation training flight and trying to land at Newark when it became lost in fog. At approximately 8:10 PM, the aircraft crashed into the 58th floor of the north side of 40 Wall Street killing its crew of four.

The accident fortunately happened at night when the building was virtually empty. Only two people were at the site, a bank guard on the 1st floor and a US Navy officer named Charles Atlee working at the Officer's Discharge Center on the 36th floor. Atlee reported, "I was thrown out of my chair and across the office." The fuselage tore a hole 20 ft (6 m) wide by 10 ft (3 m) high in the exterior wall but the engines and wings were torn off and unable to penetrate inside, suggesting the impact speed was low. One engine struck a nearby building and started a small fire while the second fell into Wall Street. The 70-story skyscraper, originally the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building and briefly the tallest building in the world, was repaired and is today also called The Trump Building.

More recently, a 42-story condominium building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan suffered an aircraft collision. Major league baseball pitcher Cory Lidle of the New York Yankees and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger were flying along the East River on 11 October 2006 when the pair crashed into the Belaire Apartments building at a speed of approximately 115 mph (185 km/h). Lidle was owner of the single-engine Cirrus SR20 but it is unknown which pilot was flying the plane at the time of the crash.


Damage to the Belaire Apartments after Cory Lidle's 2006 crash

The accident occurred as the aircraft was traveling through a narrow flight corridor above the river. As the pilots flew north nearing the end of this corridor, it appears they attempted to make a U-turn back towards the south. Their efforts were complicated by a stiff crosswind, and investigators concluded pilot error caused the plane to strike the 30th floor of the Belaire Apartments. Both Lidle and Tyler were killed in the crash while 21 residents of the apartments were injured. Most injuries were due to fire that engulfed several apartments after the collision. The most seriously injured was Ilana Benhuri who was sitting in the room most of the aircraft debris entered.

The Empire State Building and 40 Wall Street are both reinforced masonry structures while the Belaire Apartments is a reinforced concrete building. Thanks to the excellent fire protection afforded by this type of construction as well as the small size and low speed of the aircraft that struck each building, the structural damage suffered was minor.
- answer by Greg Alexander, 30 September 2007


20 May 1945 - History

Date:20-MAY-1945
Time:18:25 LT
Type:
Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Owner/operator:6th BGp /39th BSqn USAAF
Registration: 44-69841
C/n / msn: 10673
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:10
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:North Field AAF, Tinian Island, Northern Mariana Islands - Northern Mariana Islands
Phase: Standing
Nature:Military
Departure airport:North Field AAF, Tinian Island
Narrative:
Boeing B-29-65-BW Superfortress 44-69841: Delivered to USAAF 10 February 1945. Assigned to the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations) and issued to the 6th Bomb Group, 39th Bomb Squadron, at North Field AAF, Tinian Island

Written off (Damaged beyond repair) while parked at North Field AAF, Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands, May 20, 1945 when struck by B-29 42-24913 when it crashed on take off. According to a contemporary published report:

"Though we've seen reports of single B-29 crashes during landing sometimes damaging planes on the ground, we've been unable to find any Army Air Force records of a large "explosion" involving a landing plane and planes ready to takeoff. However, a note in the Crouter's War Diary from its 20 May 1945 entry, refers to this incident as seen from his ship: "Observed explosion, fire and large columns of smoke on North end of Tinian Island at 18:25."

Furthermore, this note from May 20th, 1945 confirms that date: "B-29 42-24913 of the 9th Bomb Group, 1st Bomb Squadron, named "Thunderin' Loretta" crashed on takeoff at North Field, Tinian May 20 1945. 10 killed, 1 survived. The B-29 Damaged seven other parked B-29s (44-69841, 42-63506, 42-93992, 44-69844, 44-69972, 42-63504 and 44-69859)"

Eight B-29s (including 42-24913) were wrecked in this incident:

450520 B-29 44-69841** 20 TOA 4 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld
450520 TB-29 42-63506** 20 TOA 3 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld
450520 B-29 42-93992** 20 TOA 3 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld
450520 B-29 44-69844 20 TOA 3 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld
450520 B-29 44-69979** 20 TOA 3 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld
450520 B-29 42-63504** 20 TOA 3 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld
450520 B-29 44-69859 20 TOA 3 [parked aircraft] TIN North Fld

The five aircraft marked ** were repaired and returned to service. The official AAF Accident report describes the loss of the above B-29s as "take off accidents", However, the aircraft were static and parked, with no crews on board.

44-69841 was repaired and returned to service: Modified to KB-29M at Boeing, Wichita, Kansas. Reclaimed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona 16 August 1954.


Today in World War II History—May 20, 1940 & 1945

80 Years Ago—May 20, 1940: German army reaches the English Channel at Abbeville, France, splitting Allied forces in two and isolating 16 French & 9 British divisions in Belgium.

In the US, the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies (the White Committee) is formed by interventionist journalist William A. White.

Poster of the US Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, 1940-41

75 Years Ago—May 20, 1945: On Okinawa, US Tenth Army takes Chocolate Drop and Flattop Hills Marines take Wana Ridge.

Japanese troops begin evacuating China to defend Japan.

“Chocolate Drop Hill” on Okinawa, 1945 (US Army Center of Military History)


The Real History of May Day

For most Americans, closing their laptop or clocking out at the end of an eight-hour shift at a restaurant or construction site is the norm, give or take a half-hour or so for lunch . And as tiring as a day of work can be, it’s easy to forget that over a century ago, people died to afford us the right to an eight-hour workday.

Much of this country’s radical labor tradition has been erased by our political leaders’ allegiance to big business and a reverence for markets and capitalism . But the modicum of rights still afforded to workers in 2021 stem from the 19th century unioni sts , anarchists, and socialists who first defied the capitalists who created the abhorrent working conditions of the Industrial Revolution.

One of the key moments in the story of organized labor came on May 1, 1886, when 300,000 workers walked off the job throughout the country in an organized strike , leading to several days of protest and tragic violence that would enshrine in history the recognition of May Day— a day of international worker solidarity.

What is May Day?

We tend to think of Labor Day as this country’s day of tribute to workers, as it provides a day of rest in the form of a holiday. While Labor Day did arrive on the heels of labor agitation— specifically, following the deaths of 13 workers during the Pullman Strike of 1894 — it presents a more sanitized celebration of workers now more closely associated with sales at big box retailers than unions or radical reformers . Labor Day was formally recognized as a national holiday by President Grover Cleveland in 1984, and since then, the perception has followed that September is the only time that the United States formally recognizes the working classes’ contributions to the country’s history and social fabric.

This simply isn’t the case. May Day is t he original Labor Day, and even if it’s not recognized in any official capacity by the U.S. government , it’s a distinctly American phenomenon, though one now recognized across the world annually by dozens of countries.

How did May Day come to be?

So how did this international day of worker solidarity come to be? To answer that, we have to trace the black clouds of U.S. industry back to their origins in the billowing smokestacks of the 19th century , when the Second Industrial Revolution had children crawling through coal mines and scores of workers dying every year due to calamitous working conditions. Galvanized by a growing sense of collectivism and an emergent faction of vocal labor organizations such as the National Labor Union , formed in 1866, workers across the industrial centers of the United States began to clamor for their rights.

A key moment in this pursuit came in 1884 with the rise of the “Eight-Hour Movement,” when the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions held its national convention in Chicago , declaring that, “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.” It was a sentiment that would later prove prophetic, but not without years of struggle and bloodshed.

The Haymarket Riot

Chicago had long been a hotbed of agitation and organizing, with a railroad strike in 1877 erupting in violence . Nearly ten years later, the air of unrest endured . As the May 1 deadline set by the FOTLU approached, “an estimated quarter million workers in the Chicago area became directly involved in the crusade to implement the eight hour work day, including the Trades and Labor Assembly, the Socialistic Labor Party and local Knights of Labor,” according to an archived synopsis published by the Industrial Workers of the World in 1993.

At first, the demonstration was relatively quiet, but that all changed o n May 3rd, when a demonstration at McCormick Reaper Works ended in a violent skirmish between demonstrato rs and police that ended with the deaths of a few workers. The next day, a gathering at Chicago’s Haymarket Square was organized to protest the previous day’s killings. At first, the proceedings were calm, with even Chicago mayor Carter Harrison in attendance.

The tranquility again gave way to violence when someone threw an explosive at police the person responsible has never been identified, but the action caused the police to fire their weapons indiscriminately at the rally’s attendees during a speech by activist and newspaper editor August Spies.

As History explains, what followed became known as the Haymarket Riot, and sparked a bloody legacy :

The police and possibly some members of the crowd opened fire and chaos ensued. Seven police officers and at least one civilian died as a result of the violence that day, and an untold number of other people were injured.

The friction between U. S. authorities and the labor movement continued from there, with several prominent organizers convicted and executed for alleged ties to the Haymarket incident.

Eight anarchists - Albert Parsons, August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Oscar Neebe, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Adolph Fischer and Louis Lingg - were arrested and convicted of murder, though only three were even present at Haymarket and those three were in full view of all when the bombing occurred.

As the memory of Haymarket loomed large in mind of the labor movement’s and beyond, more and more unions latched onto the idea of an eight-hour day as a necessity.

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt included the policy in his presidential platform , paving the way for the idea to reach a mainstream societal acceptance. It wasn’t until 1916 that a law supporting an eight-hour work day was passed by Congress, in the form of the Adamson Act, which allowed railroad workers that right . It was the first law of its kind to apply specifically to workers employed by private companies.

Still, i t took until the Great Depression and the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act (which was later replaced by the Wagner Act ), for the right to maximum hours and minimum wages to apply to workers on a federal level.

Without the legacy of Haymarket and the pivotal actions taken on May 1 , 1886, it’s hard to see how any of that would have been possible. Though there is no concrete link between May Day and the eventual adoption of an eight-hour workday, at least as it is codified in law, it’s inarguable that the efforts of tho se 19th century activists were instrumental in achieving the now- standard concession.

May Day today

Today, May Day is an important day of solidarity for anyone with class consciousness in the U.S. , but oddly , it isn’t really celebrated much stateside . T he spirit of Haymarket, however, has been recognized in various other countries, most notably in Europe , wh ere it is enshrined in the form of public holidays.

Though we can thank Grover Cleveland for Labor Day , May Day has been all but erased from the American calendar, partly due to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s pledge to make May 1 “Law Day ”—an ironic pledge of allegiance to the so-called “rule of law, ” and the forces that proved to be the chief opponents of the Labor Movement.

T hat doesn’t mean you can’t keep the spirit of May Day alive, and observe it with the full breadth of its history in mind. T his May 1 , think of the workers who sacrificed their lives to give you the right to organize your workplace and to end your work day after eight hours.

Sam writes about work, productivity, relationships and everything in between. His work is featured in GQ, Rolling Stone, Vox, BBC Work/Life, and other publications. Send tips via email.

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DISCUSSION

“Labor Day was formally recognized as a national holiday by President Grover Cleveland in 1984"

That recent, huh? I would have sworn Rea gan was president in 1984. )


Holocaust facts reveal that the beginnings of the Holocaust can be tracked back to 1933, when Hitler first came to power. Jews were forced to live in ghettos, and the 1935 Nuremberg Laws stripped them of their German citizenship and prohibited sexual relationships between Jews and Germans.

One of the most famous incidents connected to the Holocaust that occurred prior to the systematic genocide was the so-called Kristallnacht (“the Night of Broken Glass”) in the night of November 9-10 1938, when Nazis attacked Jewish communities across Germany and Austria, destroying their homes, stores and synagogues, killing 96 Jews and arresting about 30,000.


Assorted References

Germanic peoples occupied much of the present-day territory of Germany in ancient times. The Germanic peoples are those who spoke one of the Germanic languages, and they thus originated as a group with the so-called first sound shift (Grimm’s law), which

Although Ranke’s influence was enhanced by his longevity (he lived to the age of 91), it was mainly due to the seductive synthesis he offered. He maintained that scholarship could produce historical truth he held a conception of the divine will that linked it to…

During the 1920s early German radio was operated by a variety of private owners and supported by both license fees and advertising revenues. Slowly centralized in the early 1930s, radio fell under Nazi control in 1933, causing the somewhat varied programming of independent German…

After Germany’s defeat, the occupying powers immediately decentralized radio to the länder (states) and encouraged regional, cultural, and news content. These stations were supervised in part by elected advisory councils of local citizens. The Soviet zone, which became the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany), operated…

…the rebuilding of its industry, Germany led Europe in beginning FM broadcasting. The first FM transmissions were on the air by 1949, and most of West Germany was covered with FM signals by 1951. Sale of FM receivers was brisk (some were exported to the United States), partly because television…

…people, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) firmly established a democracy that protected the human rights of all its citizens and made financial reparations to the Jewish people in an agreement passed by parliament in 1953. West German democratic leaders made special efforts to achieve friendly relations with Israel.…

Before 1945

Between world wars

…in the wake of the German, Habsburg, Russian, and Ottoman collapses. Revolution sputtered in Berlin and elsewhere, and civil war in Russia. Trench warfare had left large swaths of northern France, Belgium, and Poland in ruin. The war had cost millions of dead and wounded and more than $236,000,000,000 in…

…of peace, declared war on Germany on September 3.

In Germany anti-Semitism became official government policy—taught in the schools, elaborated in “scientific” journals and research institutes, and promoted by a huge, highly effective organization for international propaganda. In 1941 the liquidation of European Jewry became official party policy. During World War II an estimated 5.7…

…the end of the 1,000-year-old German Jewish community.

…by the Nazi government of Germany, which deported 7,000,000–8,000,000 persons, including some 5,000,000 Jews later exterminated in concentration camps. After World War II, 9,000,000–10,000,000 ethnic Germans were more or less forcibly transported into Germany, and perhaps 1,000,000 members of minority groups deemed politically unreliable by the Soviet government were forcibly…

” In 1949 Fritz Dorls and Otto Ernst Remer, a former army general who had helped to crush an attempted military coup against Hitler in July 1944, founded the Socialist Reich Party (Sozialistische Reichspartei SRP), one of the earliest neofascist parties in Germany. Openly sympathetic…

…the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (especially during the rule of Joseph Stalin), in which it was used on a vast scale. Under these regimes, persons either suspected of opposition or considered racially or nationally unfit were summarily arrested and placed under long or indefinite terms…

Germany’s economy slipped into a downturn early in 1928 and then stabilized before turning down again in the third quarter of 1929. The decline in German industrial production was roughly equal to that in the United States. A number of countries in Latin America fell…

…party came to power in Germany in 1933 and governed by totalitarian methods until 1945.

Nazi Germany, in fact, was Europe’s most elaborately developed dictatorship. Characteristically, Hitler took great care with the design of its emblem, a black swastika in a white circle on a red background as iconography, it has long survived its regime. The swastika, originally the obverse of…

…of the Nazi Party in Germany. In its intense nationalism, mass appeal, and dictatorial rule, Nazism shared many elements with Italian fascism. However, Nazism was far more extreme both in its ideas and in its practice. In almost every respect it was an anti-intellectual and atheoretical movement, emphasizing the will…

…the NSDAP for all of Germany. Goebbels began to create the Führer myth around the person of Hitler and to institute the ritual of party celebrations and demonstrations that played a decisive role in converting the masses to Nazism. In addition, he spread propaganda by continuing his rigorous schedule of…

…crushing military might of the German Volk to some Asiatic and North American peoples it is a symbol of universal peace and happiness. Some Christians who find a cross reassuring may find a hammer and sickle displeasing and may derive no religious satisfaction at all from a Muslim crescent, a…

Germany’s payment of reparations after World War I. On the initiative of the British and U.S. governments, a committee of experts (with two members each from France, Belgium, Italy, Britain, and the United States), presided over by an American financier, Charles G. Dawes, produced a…

…Treaty of Versailles with defeated Germany, they provided for a plebiscite in Upper Silesia, which contained a large Polish population, to determine whether that territory should remain a part of Germany or be attached to Poland. The plebiscite was finally held on March 20, 1921, after the Poles in Upper…

…Western powers, especially France, for Germany had already renewed ties with Russia through the Treaty of Rapallo in 1922. By meeting the reparation payments, for the reduction of which he fought as stubbornly as he did for removal of French troops from west of the Rhine, he hoped to gain…

In Germany in the early 1930s, the communists focused their attacks on the social democrats and even cooperated with the Nazis, whom they claimed to fear less, in destroying the Weimar Republic. World revolution was once more to be considered imminent, despite Stalin’s own concentration on…

In Germany three revolutionary efforts undertaken with the help of local communists and sympathizers—in early 1919, in 1921, and again in 1923—failed, partly from the passivity of the workers, partly from effective countermeasures of the Weimar government. In Hungary a Bolshevik government under Béla Kun came…

…Plan, (1929), second renegotiation of Germany’s World War I reparation payments. A new committee, chaired by the American Owen D. Young, met in Paris on Feb. 11, 1929, to revise the Dawes Plan of 1924. Its report (June 7, 1929), accepted with minor changes, went into effect on Sept. 1,…

Colonialism

It was in Africa that Germany made its first major bid for membership in the club of colonial powers: between May 1884 and February 1885, Germany announced its claims to territory in South West Africa (now South West Africa/Namibia), Togoland, Cameroon, and part of the East African coast opposite Zanzibar.…

…the coast, in 1884 the Germans claimed the region as Kamerun. The explorer Gustav Nachtigal arrived in July 1884 to annex the Douala coast. The Germans moved inland over the years, extending their control and their claims. Initially, their major dealings were with African traders, but direct trade with the…

…from the weakened Qing dynasty, Germany obtained the use of Jiaozhou Bay, on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula, and the right to construct a naval base at Qingdao there. After World War I began, Japan joined the Allies and took over German interests in the peninsula. At the…

In 1897 the German government, which had ambitions in this area, dispatched a force to occupy Qingdao the next year it forced the Chinese government to pay an indemnity and to grant Germany a 99-year lease on Jiaozhou Bay and the surrounding territory, together with railway and mining…

In 1897 Germany landed troops, and in 1898 a treaty was signed by which China ceded to Germany, for 99 years, two entries to Jiaozhou Bay and the islands in the bay and granted the right to construct a naval base and port, Qingdao. Germany used Qingdao…

As Germany, Britain, and France were carving up East Africa in the mid-1880s, they recognized the authority of the sultan of Zanzibar over a coastal strip 10 miles (16 km) wide between the Tana (in Kenya) and Ruvuma (in Tanzania) rivers. The hinterland, however, was divided…

Germany had hoped that no battles with Britain would be fought on African soil during World War I, but Britain was concerned with its communications with India and with the safety of the Ugandan railway. Britain initiated hostilities, to which Germany responded, with Britain ultimately…

It was left to Germany, with its newly awakened interest in colonial expansion, to open up the country to European influences. The first agent of German imperialism was Carl Peters, who, with Count Joachim von Pfeil and Karl Juhlke, evaded the sultan of Zanzibar late in 1884 to land…

Deutsch-Ostafrika, former dependency of imperial Germany, corresponding to present-day Rwanda and Burundi, the continental portion of Tanzania, and a small section of Mozambique. Penetration of the area was begun in 1884 by German commercial agents, and German claims were recognized by

…tide of diplomatic hostility between Germany and Britain in Europe, secured the grant of an imperial charter for his German East Africa Company. With this the European scramble for Africa began. In east-central Africa the key occurrence was the Anglo-German Agreement of 1886, by which the two parties agreed that…

…Namibia) were formally colonized by Germany between 1884–90. The semiarid territory was more than twice as large as Germany, yet it had only a fraction of the population—approximately 250,000 people. In contrast to Germany’s other African possessions, it offered little promise for large-scale mineral or agricultural extractions. Instead, South West…

…agreement between Great Britain and Germany in May 1885, the first to make use of the term, provided for “a separation and definition of their respective spheres of influence in the territories on the Gulf of Guinea.” This agreement was followed by many of a similar nature, of which article…

…nation to govern a former German or Turkish colony. The territory was called a mandated territory, or mandate.

…also the site (1885) of Germany’s formal declaration of a protectorate over the islands. Chosen as an administrative centre by Germany, it continued as such under the Japanese. Heavily fortified by the Japanese, Jaluit was devastated by U.S. bombing in World War II. Copra is exported and fishing is important.…

Germany established a coaling station on Jaluit Atoll by treaty with island chiefs and in 1886, by agreement with Great Britain, established a protectorate over the Marshalls. Japan seized the islands in 1914 and later (after 1919) administered them as a League of Nations mandate.…

…own interests on the island, Germany incorporated Nauru into its Marshall Islands protectorate in late 1888. The German administration and the arrival of the missionaries shortly thereafter brought an end to armed hostilities. In 1906 the Pacific Phosphate Company, a British concern, negotiated an agreement with the German administration to…

…New Guinea, administered by the German imperial government after 1899, that most early economic activity took place. Plantations were widely established in the New Guinea islands and around Madang, and labourers were transported from the Sepik River region, the Markham valley, and Buka Island.

German and British soldiers and settlers began to encroach on Spanish claims in Micronesia, and difficulties were averted in 1886 by the mediation of Pope Leo XIII, whose efforts in this regard prevented war between Germany and Spain. But Spain’s empire was weakening, and by…

Annexed by Germany in 1884, the archipelago was named for the German statesman Otto von Bismarck. The Germans developed copra plantations, but nonnative diseases carried by the Europeans killed many people on the islands. The archipelago was occupied by Australia in 1914 and made a mandated territory…

…of the colonial party in German politics. The British government appointed consuls to some islands, but their powers to maintain order were limited and, except for the visits of warships, unenforceable. The United States also appointed consuls.

…Guinea were administered by the Germans, British, and Australians. The colonial governments had no official symbols of local relevance, although a proposed coat of arms for German New Guinea—never adopted because of Germany’s involvement in World War I—featured a bird-of-paradise. In 1962 a local flag also incorporated a bird-of-paradise. That…

In 1886 Germany and Portugal had agreed on the Rovuma as the boundary between then German East Africa (now Tanzania) and Portuguese Mozambique, but the Germans later claimed (1892) that Portugal had no rights north of Cabo Delgado, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of the Rovuma’s…

…itself to military operations against Germany. On September 11 the first expedition left to reinforce the African colonies, and there was fighting in northern Mozambique, on the Tanganyika (now Tanzania) frontier, and in southern Angola, on the frontier of German South West Africa. In February 1916, in compliance with a…

During the colonial era, Germany and later Belgium assumed that ethnicity could be clearly distinguished by physical characteristics and then used the ethnic differences found in their own countries as models to create a system whereby the categories of Hutu and Tutsi were no longer fluid. The German colonial…

To protect their own interests, Germany and Britain divided the Solomons between them in 1886, but in 1899 Germany transferred the northern islands, except for Buka and Bougainville, to Britain (which had already claimed the southern islands) in return for recognition of German claims in Western Samoa (now Samoa) and…

The Germans were the last imperial power to arrive in Africa. Their annexation and control of South West Africa was eased by the intense cleavages that had opened up between the local Nama and the Herero chiefdoms, a result of…

…way was left open to German colonial annexation as South West Africa in the 1880s. The acquisitions, by exceedingly dubious “treaties” and more naked theft, did not go smoothly, despite the employment of so-called “divide and rule” tactics within and between peoples. The first major resistance—by the Herero in 1885—forced…

Germany annexed South West Africa in 1884. The Transvaal claimed territory to its west Britain countered by designating the territory the Bechuanaland protectorate and then annexed it as the crown colony of British Bechuanaland. Rhodes secured concessionary rights to land north of the Limpopo River,…

…of Lüderitz led to the German colonial government’s closing of the area to unauthorized persons later in the same year. In 1920 the assorted German-owned mining companies of the northern Sperrgebiet (the Lüderitz area) sold their interests to Consolidated Diamond Mines of South West Africa, Ltd. (a subsidiary of the…

…century it was overrun by Germanic tribes, followed by the Avars and their Slav subjects (Slovenes). Subjected by the Bavarians in the 8th century, the country became a mark, or frontier territory, of the Frankish Empire. Further German colonization led to Germanization by c. 1300, except in the southern countryside.…

German missionaries arrived in Ewe territory in 1847, and German traders were soon established at Anécho. In 1884 Gustav Nachtigal, sent by the German government, induced a number of coastal chiefs to accept German protection. The protectorate was recognized in 1885, and its…

…von Bismarck claimed it for Germany and other European powers formally recognized the claim. The Germans intended to make Togoland a model colony. Because the region lacked mineral resources (its phosphate reserves were not then known), Germany concentrated on agricultural development. Valuable oil palms grew naturally near the coast. The…

…appearance in 1884 of the German flag on the Togoland coast, between the Gold Coast and Dahomey, and in the Cameroons—was to intensify and to accelerate existing French and British tendencies to exert their political and military authority at the expense of traditional African rulers.

…States annexed eastern Samoa, whereas Germany annexed the western part of the islands—Western Samoa. The division was carried out without consulting the Samoan people, and many of them resented it deeply.

…arrangement between Great Britain and Germany that defined their respective spheres of influence in eastern Africa and established German control of Helgoland, a North Sea island held by the British since 1814. The treaty was symptomatic of Germany’s desire for a rapprochement with Great Britain after the abandonment of a…

Conflicts

…from both Soviet Russia and Germany. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had been part of the Russian Empire since the end of the 18th century, but after the Russian Revolution of 1917 they became independent states. After World War I ended, however, Soviet Russia, hoping to advance through the Baltic states…

…Napoleon’s last major victory in Germany. It was fought on the outskirts of the Saxon capital of Dresden, between Napoleon’s 120,000 troops and 170,000 Austrians, Prussians, and Russians under Prince Karl Philipp Schwarzenberg.

…Mac-Mahon and more than 200,000 German troops under General Helmuth von Moltke.

…in which a coalition of German states led by Prussia defeated France. The war marked the end of French hegemony in continental Europe and resulted in the creation of a unified Germany.

…France and the Habsburgs of Germany fought each other, with the Italian states as their reluctant pawns. For the next 60 years the dream of Italian conquest was pursued by every French king, none of them having learned anything from Charles VIII’s misadventure except that the road southward was open…

…War, (1524–25) peasant uprising in Germany. Inspired by changes brought by the Reformation, peasants in western and southern Germany invoked divine law to demand agrarian rights and freedom from oppression by nobles and landlords. As the uprising spread, some peasant groups organized armies. Although the revolt was supported by Huldrych…

…had Danish minorities in predominantly German areas and German minorities surrounded by Danes, and consequently its history has been one of border and sovereignty disputes and, more recently, accommodations.

…between the Danes and the German population of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. (Both duchies were in union with Denmark Schleswig, however, had a large German population, and Holstein was a member of the German Confederation.) When the Danish king acted rashly, Bismarck made sure that it was Prussia…

…the exclusion of Austria from Germany. The issue was decided in Bohemia, where the principal Prussian armies met the main Austrian forces and the Saxon army, most decisively at the Battle of Königgrätz. A Prussian detachment, known as the army of the Main, meanwhile dealt with the forces of Bavaria…

…to gain valuable territory in Germany to balance his earlier loss of Baltic provinces to Sweden. Christian’s defeat and the Peace of Lübeck in 1629 finished Denmark as a European power, but Sweden’s Gustav II Adolf, having ended a four-year war with Poland, invaded Germany and won many German princes…

The war originated with dual crises at the continent’s centre: one in the Rhineland and the other in Bohemia, both part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Northwestern Germany, for example, was little affected some cities, such as Hamburg, actually flourished, while others, such as Leipzig and Nürnberg, quickly responded to commercial demand. The preindustrial economy proved to be as resilient as it was vulnerable. Yet the German population did not rise to…

Germany, France, and the Netherlands each achieved a settlement of the religious problem by means of war, and in each case the solution contained original aspects. In Germany the territorial formula of cuius regio, eius religio applied—that is, in each petty state the population had…

Diplomacy

…police “reforms” brought the indignant German emperor William II to Tangier in March 1905. William challenged French intentions by affirming the sovereignty of the Sultan and demanding the retention of the “open door” for commerce.

…Pact, agreement concluded first between Germany and Japan (Nov. 25, 1936) and then between Italy, Germany, and Japan (Nov. 6, 1937), ostensibly directed against the Communist International (Comintern) but, by implication, specifically against the Soviet Union.

Dominated by the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the congress solved an international crisis caused by the San Stefano treaty by revising the peace settlement to satisfy the interests of Great Britain (by denying Russia the means to extend its naval power and by maintaining the Ottoman Empire…

…which Great Britain, France, and Germany had already agreed in principle.

…issue propaganda statements, while the Germans grew increasingly impatient.

German troops promptly occupied the country and set up a puppet Ukrainian government in Kyiv, but it collapsed with the German surrender to the Allies in November 1918 and the subsequent withdrawal of German troops. Once more an independent Ukraine was declared in Kyiv, under…

The Germans and Austrians promptly agreed to the proposal. In negotiations held at Brest-Litovsk, an armistice was arranged (December 1917). This was to be followed by a peace treaty. The Germans, however, posed extremely harsh conditions, causing a split in the Bolshevik high command: Lenin favoured…

…of the 19th century of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, devised by German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. It aimed at neutralizing the rivalry between Germany’s two neighbours by an agreement over their respective spheres of influence in the Balkans and at isolating Germany’s enemy, France.

Germany, assuming that ideological differences and lack of common interest would keep republican France and tsarist Russia apart, allowed its Reinsurance Treaty (q.v.) with Russia to lapse in 1890. In the event of war, France wanted support against Germany and Russia, against Austria-Hungary. The two…

…23, 1939), nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union that was concluded only a few days before the beginning of World War II and which divided eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

…the payment of reparations by Germany to the former Allied and Associated powers of World War I. Attended by representatives of the creditor powers (Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Italy) and of Germany, the conference resulted in agreement on July 9, 1932, that the conditions of world economic crisis made…

…1925), series of agreements whereby Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy mutually guaranteed peace in western Europe. The treaties were initialed at Locarno, Switz., on October 16 and signed in London on December 1.

…30, 1938), settlement reached by Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy that permitted German annexation of the Sudetenland, in western Czechoslovakia.

…(April 16, 1922) treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union, signed at Rapallo, Italy. Negotiated by Germany’s Walther Rathenau and the Soviet Union’s Georgy V. Chicherin, it reestablished normal relations between the two nations. The nations agreed to cancel all financial claims against each other, and the treaty strengthened their…

…1887), a secret agreement between Germany and Russia arranged by the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck after the German-Austrian-Russian Dreikaiserbund, or Three Emperors’ League, collapsed in 1887 because of competition between Austria-Hungary and Russia for spheres of influence in the Balkans. The treaty provided that each party would remain

>Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy formed in May 1882 and renewed periodically until World War I. Germany and Austria-Hungary had been closely allied since 1879. Italy sought their support against France shortly after losing North African ambitions to the French. The

… and associated powers and by Germany in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, France, on June 28, 1919 it took force on January 10, 1920.

…impose harsh terms, especially on Germany. French military circles sought not only to recover Alsace and Lorraine and to occupy the Saar but also to detach the Rhineland from Germany. Members of the British Parliament lobbied to increase the reparations Germany was to pay, despite the objections of several farsighted…

…confederation, was drawn up for Germany—a triumph for Metternich. Denmark lost Norway to Sweden but got Lauenburg, while Swedish Pomerania went to Prussia. Switzerland was given a new constitution.

… and the Dutch and the German phase of the Thirty Years’ War. The peace was negotiated, from 1644, in the Westphalian towns of Münster and Osnabrück. The Spanish-Dutch treaty was signed on January 30, 1648. The treaty of October 24, 1648, comprehended the Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand III, the other…

Effect of Lutheranism

…a wave of enthusiasm throughout Germany. The reformer was by instinct a social conservative and supported existing secular authority against the upthrust of the lower orders. Although the Diet of Worms accepted the excommunication in 1521, Luther found protection among the princes. In 1529 the rulers of electoral Saxony, Brandenburg,…

…plan was widely copied throughout Germany, and at least 56 cities asked his advice in founding schools. Through his lectures and textbooks, and the teachers he trained, Melanchthon exercised great influence in Protestant Germany. He helped found the universities of Königsberg, Jena, and Marburg and reformed those of Greifswald, Wittenberg,…

Foreign relations

…major bank in Vienna, and Germany defaulted on its reparations payments. Hoover proposed a one-year moratorium on reparations and war-debt payments, but, even though the moratorium was adopted, it was too little too late. In the resulting financial panic most European governments went off the gold standard and devalued their…

When Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 touched off World War II, Roosevelt called Congress into special session to revise the Neutrality Act to allow belligerents (in reality only Great Britain and France, both on the Allied side) to purchase munitions on a cash-and-carry basis. With…

…about 30,000 troops from various German princes. The Lensgreve (landgrave) of Hesse furnished approximately three-fifths of that total. Few acts by the crown roused so much antagonism in America as that use of foreign mercenaries.

The Germans themselves also experienced a certain degree of national fervour, but in their case it was part of a general German yearning for national unification. Responding to calls for a meeting of national unity, in May 1848 delegates from all the German states met at…

…pay reparations but assigned the German foreign assets of eastern Austria to the U.S.S.R.), control machinery was set up for the administration of Austria, giving supreme political and administrative powers to the military commanders of the four occupying armies (U.S., British, French, and Soviet). In September 1945 a conference of…

…sought the friendship of the German Empire in order to strengthen his position in a possible confrontation with Russia over problems in the Balkans. The Dreikaiserbund (Three Emperors’ League) of 1873, by which Franz Joseph and the German and Russian emperors agreed to work together for peace, gave expression to…

…Hitler was in power in Germany, and Nazi propaganda for the incorporation of Austria was greatly increased. Dollfuss turned to fascist Italy and authoritarian Hungary for help, as he was convinced that British and French aid would be ineffective. This shift in foreign policy also can be attributed to the…

…in 1879 Austria-Hungary and the German Empire had joined in the Dual Alliance, by which the two sovereigns promised each other support in the case of Russian aggression. The signing of the Dual Alliance was Andrássy’s last act as foreign minister, but the alliance survived as the main element in…

In the meantime, the German government had taken control of the situation. Placing German strategic and national plans over Austro-Hungarian interests, Germany changed the Balkan conflict into a continental war by declaring war against Russia and France. (See World War I.)

…intruders had been joined by Germans, who between 1198 and 1290 overran the remainder of what is now Estonia and Latvia. The Liv territories had succumbed by 1207. Most of Latgalia suffered the same fate a year later. Estonia was conquered by 1227 and Courland by 1263. The Semigallians held…

The Germans held out in western Lithuania until early 1945 and in Courland until the capitulation of May 8, 1945.

Meinhard, a monk from Holstein, landed in 1180 on what is now the Latvian coast and for 16 years preached Christianity to the Livs, a Finno-Ugric tribe. His successor, Berthold of Hanover, appointed bishop of Livonia, decided that the sword had to be…

During the time of the Crusades, German—or, more precisely, Saxon—overseas expansion reached the eastern shores of the Baltic. Because the people occupying the coast of Latvia were the Livs, the German invaders called the country Livland, a name rendered in Latin as Livonia.…

On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The Netherlands capitulated after 6 days, Belgium after 18. France, which along with Britain had sent troops to Belgium, had to lay down arms three weeks later. The British troops, covered by the Belgian army, retreated from Dunkirk,…

The German occupation of Belgium during World War I lasted from August 1914 to November 1918. Numerous social relief movements were instituted among them, the National Committee for Relief and Food had its headquarters in Brussels and, with U.S. aid, organized the feeding of the Belgian…

…was especially the case after Germany and the Soviet Union, then allied by the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, forced Romania to restore the southern Dobruja to Bulgaria in August 1940.

Ultimately, it was Germany that most strongly influenced the course of Czechoslovak foreign affairs. One of Beneš’s highest priorities was to prevent the union of Austria and Germany. Nevertheless, the relations between Czechoslovakia and Germany improved slightly after the Locarno Pact of 1925.

…5 an uprising against the German troops concentrated in central Bohemia started in Prague. Appeals for Allied help were largely ignored. Troops under U.S. Gen. George S. Patton reached Plzeň (Pilsen) but, complying with instructions from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, did not advance to Prague. Finally, on May 9, Soviet…

…became increasingly important to define Germany’s intended attitude toward Denmark in the event of a European conflict. The Germans were well aware that the Schleswig affair had left a good many Danes with a loathing for everything German, and the constant friction between the Danish minority and the German administration…

…Gulf of Finland had intensified: German traders had regular contacts with Novgorod via Gotland, and Denmark tried to establish bases on the gulf. The Danes reportedly invaded Finland in 1191 and again in 1202 in 1209 the pope authorized the archbishop of Lund to appoint a minister stationed in Finland.…

…was anxious to avoid provoking German intervention in the conflict. However, his successor agreed to accept a British expeditionary force as it became apparent that Hitler’s aggressive designs extended to the Balkans. The combined Greek and British forces, however, were able to offer only limited resistance when the Germans crossed…

Hungary, Italy, and Germany, since his two proposed partners were then at loggerheads over Austria. Gömbös, one of whose first acts had been to dash to Rome and breathe new life into Hungary’s friendship with Italy, now found himself drawn into the “Rome Triangle” (Italy, Austria, and Hungary)…

…joined the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. This was essentially a defensive alliance guaranteeing German and Austrian support against any attack by France, Italy’s main rival in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, Italy embarked on its first real colonial ventures, the takeover of the Red Sea ports of Asseb and Massawa…

…into Hitler’s orbit, hoping that German backing would frighten the British and French into granting further concessions to Italy. However, the policy failed to bring further territorial gains in Africa. Furthermore, Italy became the junior partner in the “Rome-Berlin Axis,” and in 1938 Mussolini had to accept Hitler’s annexation of…

Russia, and Germany were not willing to endorse Japanese gains and forced the return of the Liaotung Peninsula to China. Insult was added to injury when Russia leased the same territory with its important naval base, Port Arthur (now Lü-shun), from China in 1898. The war thus…

…signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany and later with Italy. This was replaced by the Tripartite Pact in September 1940, which recognized Japan as the leader of a new order in Asia Japan, Germany, and Italy agreed to assist each other if they were attacked by any additional power not…

…1915 Lithuania had come under German military occupation. The goal of the German administration was to create a Lithuanian state that would be a satellite of Germany after the final peace treaty. It authorized a gathering in Vilnius, on Sept. 18–22, 1917, of a congress of 214 Lithuanian delegates. The…

…to control Morocco and on Germany’s concurrent attempts to stem French power.

Nonetheless, when Nazi Germany undertook the campaign against France in the spring of 1940, its forces struck not only against Belgium in order to outflank the French defenses but also against the Netherlands. The Dutch land armies were overwhelmed in less than a week, and the government, accompanied…

…off exports of fish to Germany and, at the same time, forbade exports of iron pyrites and copper, which were important commodities for the German war industry. Because of the many casualties caused by German submarine warfare, public feeling in Norway became strongly anti-German. The government, however, under the leadership…

…was strong but not decisive Germany’s trade with the Ottomans still lagged behind that of Britain, France, and Austria, and its investments—which included the Baghdad Railway between Istanbul and the Persian Gulf—were smaller than those of France. A mission to Turkey led by the German military

…support for an alliance with Germany, which seemed to offer prospects of realizing old Pan-Turkish aims. Although a nonaggression pact was signed with Germany (June 18, 1941), Turkey clung to neutrality until the defeat of the Axis powers became inevitable it entered the war on the Allied side on February…

…pillars of medieval Christendom, the Germanic Holy Roman Empire and the papacy, Mieszko battled the expansive tendencies of the former—a record that dates from 963 refers to a struggle with the German dukes—while he sought reliance on Rome, to which he subordinated his state in a curious document, the Dagome…

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s anti-Polish policies culminated in the Kulturkampf, designed to strengthen the cohesion of the newly created German Empire. In addition, policies of cultural and linguistic Germanization and German settlement in the provinces continuously threatened the Polish and Roman Catholic character of…

…between an inimical and revisionist Germany (which constantly denounced the “corridor” separating it from East Prussia) and the Soviet Union was dangerous from the start. The tasks of Polish diplomacy during the interwar period were exceedingly difficult. The only option was to remain neutral in regard to its two giant…

…Versailles (1919) transferred from defeated Germany to Poland. Perhaps no provision of the treaty caused so much animosity and resentment among Germans than this arrangement, for the corridor ran between Pomerania and East Prussia and separated the latter province from the main body of the German Reich to the west.…

Germany had begun construction of a large navy, for example, in the late 1890s, in part to assure its place as an imperialist power but this development, along with Germany’s rapid industrial surge, threatened Britain. France ran a massive empire, but its nationalistic yearnings were…

…in the history of modern Germany. Under his leadership Prussia became one of the great states of Europe. Its territories were greatly increased and its military strength displayed to striking effect. From early in his reign Frederick achieved a high reputation as a military commander, and the Prussian army rapidly…

…deeply influenced the course of German history. In the struggles of the 1740s and ’50s he weakened still further the tottering structure of the Holy Roman Empire. The bitter Austro-Prussian rivalry that he began was to be a dominant political force in Germany and central Europe for well over a…

The primary attraction was Germany, whose military and economic power they admired and hoped to use as protection against Russia. But the majority of Romanians were sympathetic to France, and for this reason the treaty was kept secret. Also, Romania’s adherence to the Triple Alliance was under constant strain…

…national and political minority: the German elites—urban bourgeoisie and landowning nobility—with their corporate privileges, harsh exploitation of native (Estonian and Latvian) servile peasantry, and Western culture and administrative practices. Eventually these elites made significant contributions to the imperial administration (military and civil) and helped bring German education, science, and culture…

The friendship with Germany and Austria weakened, and in the 1890s the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy stood face to face with a Dual Alliance of France and Russia.

The German and Turkish blockade choked off most imports. The food supply was affected by the call-up of numerous peasants and by the diversion of transport to other needs. The strain of financing the war generated accelerating inflation, with which the pay of ordinary workers failed…

The German invasion in June 1941 resulted in much of Ukraine being overrun. Many Ukrainians welcomed the Wehrmacht (German armed forces). Stalin was already displeased with the Ukrainians, and this reinforced his feelings. (In his victory toast after the war, he drank to the Russian triumph…

…military assistance from Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy, Franco was the obvious choice. In part because he was not a typical Spanish “political general,” Franco became head of state of the new Nationalist regime on October 1, 1936. The rebel government did not, however, gain complete control of…

…from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The Republicans received aid from the Soviet Union as well as from the International Brigades, composed of volunteers from Europe and the United States.

…appealed immediately to Hitler in Germany and to Benito Mussolini in Italy, both of whom supplied aircraft early in the war. In return for mineral concessions, the Germans supplied the Condor Legion (100 combat planes), and the Italians sent some 70,000 ground troops both supplied tanks and artillery. This support…

…Swedish army landed in northern Germany, joining in the Thirty Years’ War. In 1631 Sweden concluded its treaty with France, and, at Breitenfeld in that same year, the Swedish army practically annihilated the imperial forces under the famous Bavarian general the Count von Tilly

…the same time, connections with Germany became much closer, and from the mid-1870s Swedish politics were influenced by a close friendship with Germany, which was emphasized during the last years of the 19th century by the growing fear of Russia.

Hitler’s rise to power in Germany resulted in a reexamination of Sweden’s defense policy, which in 1936 was amended to strengthen the country’s defenses. Sweden followed a strictly neutral course, in close collaboration with the other Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. As a consequence, Hitler’s proposal in…

A German-Austrian offensive dislodged the Bolsheviks from Kyiv in early March, and the Rada government returned to the capital. In April the Red Army retreated from Ukraine.

…Polonized area was permitted under German oversight, but political activities were banned, except for the OUN. The OUN itself was rent by factional strife between the followers of Andry Melnyk, who headed the organization from abroad after the assassination of Konovalets by a Soviet agent in 1938, and the younger…

…British declaration of war on Germany on August 4, 1914, brought an end to the threat of civil war in Ireland, which since March had occupied Prime Minister H.H. Asquith’s Liberal cabinet almost to the exclusion of everything else. Formally at least, party warfare came to an end. The Conservatives…

…a policy of accommodation with Germany and Italy. But Chamberlain was also the man who began British rearmament, pronounced appeasement a failure, and declared war upon Germany. Baldwin was equally zealous to avoid any sort of confrontation with the European dictators while doing as little as possible to strengthen Britain’s…

…particular attention to relations with Germany, which it saw as the key to a European revolution. Aware of Germany’s bitterness over the Treaty of Versailles, Moscow, both directly and through the German Communist Party, identified itself with nationalist forces and incited hostility against France and Britain. A by-product of this…

>Germany had been facilitated by Moscow’s refusal to let the German Communist Party cooperate against him with the Social Democrats and others. In fact, Nazi rule was at first interpreted as a victory for the communists, in that capitalism had been driven to its last…

Interaction with

In 1911 the provocative German action in sending a gunboat to Agadir, the Moroccan port to which France had claims, convinced Churchill that in any major Franco-German conflict Britain would have to be at France’s side. When transferred to the Admiralty in October 1911, he went to work with…

…armistice signed by the defeated Germans on November 11, 1918, proved him right and brought him, the last survivor of those who had protested at Bordeaux in 1871 against the harsh terms imposed on France, the satisfaction of seeing Alsace-Lorraine returned to France. Clemenceau found that building the peace was…

…an agreement that enabled Nazi Germany to take possession of the Sudetenland (a region of Czechoslovakia) without fear of opposition from either Britain or France.

…of a defensive alliance with Germany against Russia. When the Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers (November 1914), Enver cooperated closely with German officers serving in the Ottoman army. His military plans included Pan-Turkic (or Pan-Turanian) schemes for uniting the Turkic peoples of…

…gave him political influence in Germany, Castile, and Sicily. His continental dominions brought him into contact with Louis VII of France, the German emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa), and, for much of the reign, Pope Alexander III. With Louis the relationship was ambiguous. Henry had taken Louis’s former wife and her…

…collaboration with the Nazis during World War II led to his execution as a war criminal.

…a dangerous dependence on Nazi Germany. Under the Kállay government (March 9, 1942–March 19, 1944), Jews enjoyed a degree of protection almost unparalleled on the European continent, and the press and the parties of the left continued to function. Internationally, Kállay pursued a policy of armed opposition to Russia concurrently…

…to permit their passage through Germany to neutral Sweden. Berlin hoped that the return of anti-war Socialists to Russia would undermine the Russian war effort.

…and the rise of Bismarck’s Germany, which he did not understand, were developments that reshaped the world in which he had been able to achieve so much by forceful opportunism. When Palmerston died, in October 1865, it was clear that in foreign relations as well as in home politics there…

Medieval Europe

In Germany large allodial estates held by nobles continued to exist, particularly in Saxony. In England there was a considerable amount of allodial land before the Norman Conquest (1066), but it disappeared under the new rulers. Allodial land, though free of limitations from above, was not…

…May 1147, accompanied by many German nobles, the kings of Poland and Bohemia, and Frederick of Swabia, his nephew and the future emperor Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa). Conrad’s poorly disciplined troops created tension in Constantinople, where they arrived in September. Conrad and Manuel, however, remained on good terms, and both…

…Roman Empire (the union of Germany, Burgundy, and much of Italy see Researcher’s Note), France, and England on the one hand and the revitalized papacy on the other. At issue was the customary prerogative of rulers to invest and install bishops and abbots with the symbols of their office. The…

…much involved in affairs in Germany, he came to Italy in 951 and married Adelaide, but he returned quickly to Germany to deal with a rebellion by Liudolf, duke of Swabia, his son from an earlier marriage. Moreover, events in Germany forced him to fight the Magyars in 955 at…

…northern Italy, Frederick returned to Germany. He even hoped to repair his differences with Gregory, who proved amenable. However, the attempted settlement broke down. On November 27, 1237, Frederick, back in Italy, dealt the Lombards a heavy blow in the Battle of Cortenuova. He followed his military success with a…

Modern state origins

Revolts in Italy and the German kingdoms were equally unsuccessful. Belgium declared its independence from the Netherlands, and it was recognized in 1831 as a separate nation. For several years the Greeks had been fighting for their independence from the Ottoman Empire, and in 1832 the European powers recognized Greece…

… to form a union of German states headed jointly by Prussia and Austria. Opposed by Austria, the plan failed to win the adherence of the other large German states and had to be renounced by Prussia in the Punctation of Olmütz on November 29.

…between them for hegemony over Germany. The pact provided that both the emperor of Austria and the king of Prussia were to be sovereign over the duchies, Prussia administering Schleswig and Austria administering Holstein (which was sandwiched between Schleswig to the north and Prussian territory to the south). Both duchies…

German states, established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to replace the destroyed Holy Roman Empire. It was a loose political association, formed for mutual defense, with no central executive or judiciary. Delegates met in a federal assembly dominated by Austria. Amid a growing…

In Germany the struggle was led by writers and intellectuals, who rejected all the principles upon which the American and the French revolutions had been based as well as the liberal and humanitarian aspects of nationalism.

Norddeutscher Bund, union of the German states north of the Main River formed in 1867 under Prussian hegemony after Prussia’s victory over Austria in the Seven Weeks’ War (1866). Berlin was its capital, the king of Prussia was its president, and the Prussian chancellor was also its chancellor. Its constitution…

…movement for the unification of Germany, hoisted the black, red, and gold flag that had become the symbol of German unity. The German governments agreed to the convocation of three constituent assemblies at Berlin, Vienna, and Frankfurt by which democratic constitutions were to be drafted for Prussia, Austria, and Germany.

…tribal) duchies of earlier medieval Germany—with Franconia, Saxony, Bavaria, and Lotharingia (Lorraine)—and was held by successive families. Rudolf of Rheinfelden, duke in 1057, was set up as German king in 1077 in opposition to Henry IV, who in 1079 appointed the rebel’s son-in-law, Frederick I of Hohenstaufen, duke of Swabia.…

Reformation

The Reformation movement within Germany diversified almost immediately, and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther. Huldrych Zwingli built a Christian theocracy in Zürich in which church and state joined for the service of God. Zwingli agreed with Luther in the centrality of the doctrine of justification by faith,…

In the German Evangelical (Lutheran and Reformed) territories, the bishops’ line of apostolic succession was ruptured by the Reformation. As imperial princes, the Roman Catholic German bishops of the 16th century were rulers of their territories they did not join the Reformation in order to avoid renouncing…

Martin Luther said that what differentiated him from previous reformers was that they attacked the life of the church while he confronted its doctrine. Whereas they denounced the sins of churchmen, he was disillusioned by the whole

…cause plunged to disaster in Germany, its leaders increasingly turned their eyes to Gustavus as a possible saviour. But before he was prepared to commit himself to any Protestant league and undertake a military campaign in Germany, Gustavus required adequate assurance of support. The disastrous defeat (1626) of Christian IV…

World War I

in Italy and Germany (1871), the establishment of universal manhood suffrage in Germany (1867), equality for the Hungarians in the Habsburg monarchy (1867), emancipation of the serfs in Russia (1861), and the adoption of free trade by the major European states all seemed to justify faith in the…

Germany was also to turn over a large number of locomotives, munitions, trucks, and other matériel—and to promise reparation for damage done.

…assured by William II of Germany’s support if Austria-Hungary should start a preventive war against Serbia. This assurance was confirmed in the week following the assassination, before William, on July 6, set off upon his annual cruise to the North Cape, off Norway.

…and expansionist policies by which Germany could redeem its defeat in the war, gain vengeance upon its enemies, and become the preeminent power in Europe.

Germany initiated a clandestine program to infect horses and cattle owned by Allied armies on both the Western and Eastern fronts. The infectious agent for glanders was reported to have been used. For example, German agents infiltrated the United States and surreptitiously infected animals prior…

…that consisted primarily of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, the “central” European states that were at war from August 1914 against France and Britain on the Western Front and against Russia on the Eastern Front. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy had been parties to a secret agreement, the Triple Alliance, from…

…on the battlefield by the German army in 1915, chemical weapons were produced and employed by all the powers participating in World War I, and more than a million chemical casualties and an estimated 91,000 fatalities resulted. Following the war, Germany was forbidden to manufacture or import poison gas munitions…

…for their diplomatic cooperation against German pressures in the decade preceding World War I (1914–18). The agreement in no sense created an alliance and did not entangle Great Britain with a French commitment to Russia (1894).

…Prince Maximilian of Baden, the German imperial chancellor, sent a note, via Switzerland, to President Wilson, requesting an immediate armistice and the opening of peace negotiations on the basis of the Fourteen Points. Germans would later argue a “betrayal” when faced by the harsher terms of the Armistice and the…

…was first used by the German army to bombard Belgian and French forts during World War I. Officially designated as the 42-cm kurze Marinekanone 14 L/12 in Räderlafette (“42-cm short naval canon 14 L/12 on wheeled carriage”), the gun was nicknamed “Big Bertha” by German soldiers after one of its…

…Krupp made many contributions to Germany’s arsenal. One was the 98-ton howitzer that shelled Liège and Verdun. Others included the great cannon that bombarded Paris from a range of about 75 miles (120 km) and Germany’s submarines, which were built at the family’s Kiel shipyards. Because Germany was defeated, the…

…about 173 tons), and the Germans, who had circulated warnings that the ship would be sunk, felt themselves fully justified in attacking a vessel that was furthering the war aims of their enemy. The German government also felt that, in view of the vulnerability of U-boats while on the surface…

…on charges of spying for Germany during World War I. The nature and extent of her espionage activities remain uncertain, and her guilt is widely contested.

>Germany, both aware of the military potential of aircraft, began relatively large-scale manufacturing around 1909. By the outbreak of World War I in 1914, France had built a total of 2,000 airplanes, of which 1,500 were military Germany ranked second with about 1,000 military aircraft…

…of World War I the German armed forces had 10 zeppelins and three smaller airships, but this impressive offensive capability was largely offset by the highly explosive nature of the hydrogen gas that gave the zeppelins their lifting power. After losing three zeppelins in daylight raids over heavily defended areas…

…tried to break through the German line in Artois and at the Somme, but he could not compensate for the lack of equipment and supplies. In May 1917 he was appointed chief of the war minister’s general staff, a position that made him adviser to the Allied armies. But advising…

…who was mainly responsible for Germany’s military policy and strategy in the latter years of World War I. After the war he became a leader of reactionary political movements, for a while joining the Nazi Party and subsequently taking an independent, idiosyncratic right-radical line.

Encyclopædia Britannica (1926), continued:

…and that of Rethondes with Germany on November 11—the conference did not open until January 18, 1919. This delay was attributable chiefly to the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, who chose to have his mandate confirmed by a general election before entering into negotiations.

…attracted the attention of the Germans, who came to realize that they could not win the war unless they somehow succeeded in forcing Russia to sign a separate peace. In April 1917 they arranged for Lenin’s transit through Germany to Sweden and thence to Russia, where they hoped the Bolsheviks…

…decided by the collapse of German forces after two brilliant but costly German offensives in the spring and summer of that year, followed by a remorseless set of Allied counterattacks.

…steamer, the Sussex, by a German submarine, leaving 80 casualties, including two Americans wounded. The attack prompted a U.S. threat to sever diplomatic relations. The German government responded with the so-called Sussex pledge (May 4, 1916), agreeing to give adequate warning before sinking merchant and passenger ships and to provide…

…establish a long-range blockade of Germany. The U.S. State Department sent several strong protests to London, particularly against British suppression of American exports of food and raw materials to Germany. Anglo-American blockade controversies were not acute, however, because the British put their blockade controls into effect gradually, always paid for…

…the French repulsed a major German offensive. It was one of the longest, bloodiest, and most-ferocious battles of the war French casualties amounted to about 400,000, German ones to about 350,000. Some 300,000 were killed.

…the financial penalties imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.

…June 6, 1940, Berlin, Germany), German foreign secretary during part of World War I (1916–17), the author of a sensational proposal to Mexico to enter into an alliance against the United States.

World War II

For two decades after 1939, German guilt for the outbreak of World War II seemed incontestable. The Nürnberg war-crimes trials in 1946 brought to light damning evidence of Nazi ambitions, preparations for war, and deliberate provocation of the crises over Austria, the Sudetenland, and Poland. Revelation of Nazi tyranny, torture,…

…a despairing Hitler declared that Germany had proved unworthy of him and committed suicide in his Berlin bunker. Hitler’s successor, Admiral Karl Dönitz, opened negotiations with the Western powers, hoping to save as many troops and refugees as possible from Soviet reprisals. But the U.S.S.R. refused to recognize the surrender…

…early part of 1939 the German dictator Adolf Hitler had become determined to invade and occupy Poland. Poland, for its part, had guarantees of French and British military support should it be attacked by Germany. Hitler intended to invade Poland anyway, but first he had to neutralize the possibility that…

…further document, covering all the German forces, was signed with more ceremony at Eisenhower’s headquarters at Reims, in the presence of Soviet as well as U.S., British, and French delegations. At midnight on May 8, 1945, the war in Europe was officially over.

Strategic planning

The military command structure of German forces in Europe in mid-1944 reflected the growing megalomania of the Führer and supreme commander of the armed forces, Adolf Hitler, as well as the rigidity of the Nazi state. All military operations in the western theatre were placed…

…of encrypted communications of the German armed forces, as well as those of the Italian and Japanese armed forces, and thus contributed to the Allied victory in World War II. At Bletchley Park, a British government establishment located north of London, a small group of code breakers developed techniques for…

After Nazi Germany defeated Greece and Yugoslavia in 1941, the regions of Kosovo and Çamëria were joined to Albania, thus creating an ethnically united Albanian state. The new state lasted until November 1944, when the Germans—who had replaced the Italian occupation forces following Italy’s surrender in 1943—withdrew…

During the German occupation many people died from starvation, and the city began to fall apart from lack of maintenance. When the Germans left, part of the Allied-equipped resistance refused to lay down its arms, and the civil war began. For a while the government held only…

>Germany, Italy, and Japan that opposed the Allied powers in World War II. The alliance originated in a series of agreements between Germany and Italy, followed by the proclamation of an “axis” binding Rome and Berlin (October 25, 1936),

…were still under way when Germany attacked the U.S.S.R. on June 22, 1941.

It stopped the German advance into the Soviet Union and marked the turning of the tide of war in favour of the Allies.

…16, 1945), the last major German offensive on the Western Front during World War II—an unsuccessful attempt to push the Allies back from German home territory. The name Battle of the Bulge was appropriated from Winston Churchill’s optimistic description in May 1940 of the resistance that he mistakenly supposed was…

…the autumn of 1942, the German armies overran parts of Ciscaucasia, and, in a drive toward the oil fields, they had by the end of October of that year reached the Georgian military highway leading to Tʿbilisi. The tide turned in November, when the Germans began to pull out of…

…and the Axis powers (particularly Germany) for the control of Atlantic sea routes. For the Allied powers, the battle had three objectives: blockade of the Axis powers in Europe, security of Allied sea movements, and freedom to project military power across the seas. The Axis, in turn, hoped to frustrate…

…their campaign against Yugoslavia, the Germans exploited Croatian discontent, presenting themselves as liberators and inciting Croats in the armed forces to mutiny. In April 1941 Germans and Italians set up the Independent State of Croatia, which also embraced Bosnia and Herzegovina and those parts of Dalmatia that had not been…

…naval and aerial bombardment of German defenses on the Channel coast of France and the Low Countries, the Allied invasion of Normandy began in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower issued this statement as his order of the day:

…of the Dunkirk evacuation was Germany’s invasion of the Low Countries and northern France in May 1940. On May 10 the German blitzkrieg attack on the Netherlands began with the capture by parachutists of key bridges deep within the country, with the aim of opening the way for mobile ground…

After the Treaty of Moscow the plan for a Nordic defense union was resumed. The Soviet Union still objected, however, and the plan was thus abandoned. In December 1940 President Kyösti Kallio resigned, and Ryti was elected in his place. When the tension between Germany…

and Moscow, eventually reached Germany in April.

…high army circles increased as Germany’s military situation deteriorated. Plans for the coup, code-named Walküre (“Valkyrie”), were set late in 1943, but Hitler, increasingly suspicious, became more difficult to access and often abruptly changed his schedule, thus thwarting a number of earlier attempts on his life.

After Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union concluded their Nonaggression Pact of 1939 and Germany invaded Poland from the west, Soviet forces occupied the eastern half of Poland. As a consequence of this occupation, tens of thousands of Polish military personnel fell into Soviet hands and were…

During World War II the aged Gustav was succeeded by his eldest son, Alfried von Bohlen und Halbach, who, by the Lex Krupp (Krupp Law) of 1943, assumed the name Krupp and became the sole owner of his mother’s vast holdings. Even before 1939, the extent…

Alfried Krupp was the son of Bertha Krupp, the heiress of the Krupp industrial empire, and Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II it became evident that his father was drifting into senility. Alfried assumed his duties, and…

…(July 5–August 23, 1943), unsuccessful German assault on the Soviet salient around the city of Kursk, in western Russia, during World War II. The salient was a bulge in the Soviet lines that stretched 150 miles (240 km) from north to south and protruded 100 miles (160 km) westward into…

Germany’s aircraft industry after World War I was heavily restricted by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1921–22 the constraints were eased, and a productive light-aircraft industry began to develop. When restrictions were basically abolished in 1926, a number of new ventures were formed those which…

…road of alliance with Nazi Germany. On October 25, 1936, the Rome-Berlin Axis was proclaimed, but Italy, its strength depleted by the Ethiopian campaign and by its support for Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, was in no condition to support Germany during the first nine months of World…

…II, code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which was launched on June 22, 1941. The failure of German troops to defeat Soviet forces in the campaign signaled a crucial turning point in the war.

Germany and Italy occupied Yugoslavia in April 1941, but it was not until Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June of that year that the Yugoslav communists were ordered to mount attacks against Axis units. Under the direction of the party leader, Josip Broz Tito,…

The Potsdam Conference’s Declaration on Germany stated, “It is the intention of the Allies that the German people be given the opportunity to prepare for the eventual reconstruction of their life on a democratic and peaceful basis.” The four occupation zones of Germany conceived at the Yalta Conference were set…

…made there to advance against Germany on two western fronts, instead of pursuing a concerted drive on Berlin, was criticized in the postwar period because it allowed the Soviet army to take possession of the German capital. This second Quebec Conference also resulted in a revised timetable to invade the…

…groups that sprang up throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II to oppose Nazi rule. The exact number of those who took part is unknown, but they included civilians who worked secretly against the occupation as well as armed bands of partisans or guerrilla fighters. Their activities ranged from publishing…

…the initial targets of the German invasion in 1941 by September of that year, German troops were on the outskirts of the city and had cut off communication with the rest of the U.S.S.R., while Finnish troops advanced from the north. Many of the inhabitants and nearly three-fourths of the…

…in the Soviet Union by German and Finnish armed forces during World War II. The siege actually lasted 872 days.

…took the southwest, including Ljubljana Germany annexed the north directly into the Reich and Hungary recovered Prekmurje. Although the Slovenes had been deemed racially salvageable by the Nazis, the mainly Austrian rulers of the Carinthian and Styrian regions commenced a brutal campaign to destroy them as a nation. Resistance groups…

… closed in late 1942 when Germany occupied the southern part of France. When most Swiss feared that they would become the next victim of Nazi expansionism, federal councillor Marcel Pilet-Golaz gave a speech on June 25, 1940, that generally was interpreted as an adaptation to the new Europe controlled by…

Though the settlement for Germany was discussed at length, all three Allied leaders appeared uncertain their views were imprecise on the topic of a postwar international organization and, on the Polish question, the western Allies and the Soviet Union found themselves in sharp dissension, Stalin expressing his continued distaste…

…were then forced by the Germans to withdraw to the east, leaving Tobruk an isolated British garrison that was periodically besieged by the Germans (March 1941–June 1942) when the Germans captured the city, taking about 35,000 Allied troops prisoner and capturing immense quantities of matériel. The British finally recaptured Tobruk…

…zones: one to be under German military occupation and one to be left to the French in full sovereignty, at least nominally. The unoccupied zone comprised the southeastern two-fifths of the country, from the Swiss frontier near Geneva to a point 12 miles (19 km) east of Tours and thence…

…its inhabitants carried away to German labour camps or to concentration camps.

…defeat and occupation of Nazi Germany.

…later became part of the Germanys of the Holy Roman Empire, remaining a German territory under various sovereignties up to the Thirty Years’ War. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) concluding that war gave control of Alsace-Lorraine to France.

Likewise, in Germany in the early 1870s, when the country was integrating the civil codes of various disparate kingdoms, the final German penal code included Paragraph 175, which criminalized same-sex male relations with punishment including prison and a loss of civil rights.

…Adolf Hitler to power in Germany, and his advent caused the Balkan states to consider measures for their collective security. In 1934, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, and Romania signed the Balkan Entente, which attempted to guarantee the independence of the signatories. Despite strong efforts to bring Bulgaria into the fold, no…

…bilateral trade agreement that Nazi Germany was offering to other southeastern European countries. It increased trade otherwise restricted by rates of international currency exchange but also tied a significant percentage of Yugoslavia’s exports and imports to Germany and Austria by 1938. Nevertheless, the army’s largely Serbian officer corps resisted any…

…I (1914–18), heavy fighting between German troops and those of the Russian Empire took place in the province with considerable destruction. Following the Russian Revolution, in which a provisional government replaced the collapsed Russian monarchy only to be itself overthrown by Bolshevik revolutionaries, the new Soviet government of Russia signed…

In Germany, the movement for Christian social action in the late 19th century became associated with violent anti-Semitic agitation. Adolf Stoecker, a court preacher and a founder of the Christian Social Workers’ Party, took a leading role in the anti-Semitic drive. In the United States, Henry…

In Germany the Aufklärung found its highest expression in a science of government. One explanation lies in the importance of universities. There were nearly 50 by 1800 (24 founded since 1600) they were usually the product of a prince’s need to have trained civil servants rather…

…three-fifths of the area of Germany and having approximately three-fifths of the population, remained the dominant force in the empire until its demise at the end of World War I.

In Germany, the ideas of individual uniqueness (Einzigkeit) and self-realization—in sum, the Romantic notion of individuality—contributed to the cult of individual genius and were later transformed into an organic theory of national community. According to this view, state and society are not artificial constructs erected on…

Germany, for example, despite vast resources of coal and iron, did not begin its industrial expansion until after national unity was achieved in 1870. Once begun, Germany’s industrial production grew so rapidly that by the turn of the century that nation was outproducing Britain in…

…the Jewish bourgeoisie in both Germany and the United States, whose cultural standards had been shaped by the surrounding society and who desired above all to resemble their Gentile peers. Thus, the short-lived Reform temple established in Seesen in 1810 by the pioneer German reformer Israel Jacobson (1768–1828) introduced organ…

…by Emperor William II of Germany to Pres. Paul Kruger of the South African Republic (or the Transvaal), congratulating him on repelling the Jameson Raid, an attack on the Transvaal from the British-controlled Cape Colony. The telegram was interpreted in the Transvaal as a sign of possible

…eastern Europe, particularly in eastern Germany, Poland, and Russia. These reactionary manorial developments were not reversed in eastern Europe until the 19th century in most cases.

…was dead in Belgium, western Germany, and northern Italy.

In the Germanies, repeated outbreaks changed little the system imposed from Vienna by Metternich—censorship, spying on students and intellectuals, repression of group activities at the first sign of political or social advocacy. This drove original thought underground or abroad in the persons of refugees such as the…

…only strengthened resolve, particularly in Germany and Italy, where the repeated invasions by the French during the revolutionary period had led to reforms and stimulated alike royal and popular ambitions. In these two regions, liberalism and nationalism merged into one unceasing agitation that involved not merely the politically militant but…

…in the steerage, which the German lines in particular saw as a saleable item. Central Europeans were anxious to emigrate to avoid the repression that took place after the collapse of the liberal revolutions of 1848, the establishment of the Russian pogroms, and conscription in militarized Germany, Austria, and Russia.…

German ships of this period tended to be moderately slow and mostly carried both passengers and freight. In the late 1890s the directors of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company entered the high-class passenger trade by construction of a Blue Riband-class liner. Two ships were…

…chancellor (Kanzler) and Führer of Germany (1933–45). He was chancellor from January 30, 1933, and, after President Paul von Hindenburg’s death, assumed the twin titles of Führer and chancellor (August 2, 1934).

…conservatism, however, were Italy and Germany. In the Italian state of Piedmont during the early 1850s, the able prime minister, Camillo di Cavour, conciliated liberals by sponsoring economic development and granting new personal freedoms. Cavour worked especially to capture the current of Italian nationalism. By a series of diplomatic maneuvers,…

Post-1989: reunified Germany

The swift and unexpected downfall of the German Democratic Republic was triggered by the decay of the other communist regimes in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The liberalizing reforms of President Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union appalled the Honecker regime, which in…

Following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945 near the close of World War II, the uneasy wartime alliance between the United States and Great Britain on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other began to unravel. By 1948 the Soviets had installed left-wing governments in…

Would a united Germany dominate Europe economically and waver dangerously between East and West in foreign policy? Could the new democracies of east-central Europe achieve Western levels of prosperity and avoid the ethnic strife that had sparked two world wars? In the short run, the worst fears were…

…which the East and West German governments would gradually expand their cooperation on specific issues until full economic, then political unity was achieved. He proposed no timetable and sought to appease the Soviets and western European powers alike by emphasizing that the process must occur within the contexts of the…

…reunification of East with West Germany and even assented to the prospect of that reunified nation’s becoming a member of the Soviet Union’s longtime enemy, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In 1990 Gorbachev received the Nobel Prize for Peace for his striking achievements in international relations.

West Germany

…zones together made up the western two-thirds of Germany, while the Soviet zone comprised the eastern third. Berlin, the former capital, which was surrounded by the Soviet zone, was placed under joint four-power authority but was partitioned into four sectors for administrative purposes. An Allied Control Council was to exercise…

Following the German military leaders’ unconditional surrender in May 1945, the country lay prostrate. The German state had ceased to exist, and sovereign authority passed to the victorious Allied powers. The physical devastation from Allied bombing campaigns and from ground battles was enormous: an estimated one-fourth of…

…provisional constitution for the intended German Federal Republic. In 1949 Adenauer became chairman of the CDU for the whole of West Germany, and, in the first general elections under the new regime, his party and its regular ally, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), together won 139 of the 402…

…their different occupation zones of Germany into a single economic unit. In protest, the Soviet representative withdrew from the Allied Control Council. Coincident with the introduction of a new deutsche mark in West Berlin (as throughout West Germany), which the Soviets regarded as a violation of agreements with the Allies,…

Germany, however, was the scene of the sharpest clash. For several years, by a leapfrog process of move and countermove, the eastern and western occupation zones of Germany had gradually been solidifying into separate entities. When in June 1948 the Western authorities issued a new…

…had fled from East to West Germany, including steadily rising numbers of skilled workers, professionals, and intellectuals. Their loss threatened to destroy the economic viability of the East German state. In response, East Germany built a barrier to close off East Germans’ access to West Berlin and hence West Germany.…

The West German currency reform that produced the western deutsche mark was a courageous act. It exchanged one deutsche mark for 10 obsolete reichsmarks later the rate was slightly reduced. In one respect, the result was similar to that of Weimar’s hyperinflation paper savings were suddenly devalued.…

With West Germany’s admission to NATO, Denmark succeeded in obtaining guarantees—formalized in the Bonn Protocol of 1955—for the rights of the Danish minority in South Schleswig.

…six western European states: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The first treaty was that of Paris, signed in 1951, establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) the second, the Rome treaty, signed in 1957, establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) the

Four-power cooperation in Germany continued to deteriorate. The Americans had agreed at Potsdam to reparations-in-kind but opposed extreme efforts by the Soviets and the French to pauperize the Germans lest the burden of feeding them fall entirely on the American taxpayer. What was more, the Soviets would be…

…the creation of the two Germanies. “Bizonia,” the product of an economic merger between the U.S. and British occupation zones, was announced on May 29, 1947, and a new U.S. policy followed on July 11 that ended Germany’s punitive period and aimed at making its economy self-sufficient. When in March…

…23 the Federal Republic of Germany came into being. Stalin acknowledged defeat in Berlin and lifted the blockade on May 12, but the Soviets countered by creating mirror institutions—the German Democratic Republic (Oct. 7, 1949) and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) in the Soviet bloc.

…join lest he damage West German relations with France. The idea of an MLF died in 1965, and in July 1966 de Gaulle took the final step of withdrawing French armed forces from NATO (though France remained a political member of the alliance). NATO headquarters were then moved from Paris…

…between the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the Soviet bloc for 15 years.

…de Gaulle’s lead, the West German foreign minister, Willy Brandt, a Socialist and former mayor of West Berlin, had made overtures toward Moscow. After becoming chancellor in 1969 he pursued a thorough Ostpolitik (“eastern policy”) that culminated in treaties with the U.S.S.R. (August 1970), renouncing the use of

…disputes over the occupation of Germany, France often sided with the U.S.S.R. in order to keep Germany weak and obtain reparations. The Berlin crisis of 1948, however, convinced the French that a way must be found to reconcile German recovery with their own security. The architects of an integrationist solution…

…that the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) be rearmed. That set in motion a sharp debate in Europe that was coloured by memories of the recent war, but in 1955 a formula was found in which West Germany rearmed but was permitted no chemical or nuclear weapons and was…

…Armee Fraktion and Baader-Meinhof Gruppe, West German radical leftist group formed in 1968 and popularly named after two of its early leaders, Andreas Baader (1943–77) and Ulrike Meinhof (1934–76).

…and the Federal Republic of Germany agreed to a statute that provided for Saar’s autonomy under a European commissioner. The new status was to be approved by a referendum however, 68 percent of Saar’s voters rejected the statute and, by implication, the separation of Saar from Germany. The French subsequently…

…were largely directed against the West German government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Under Markus Wolf, its chief of foreign operations from 1958 to 1987, the Stasi extensively penetrated West Germany’s government and military and intelligence services, including the inner circle of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt (1969–74) indeed,…

…make the western zones of Germany (later West Germany) a pillar of strength. When the Soviet Union countered this development in June 1948 by blocking all surface routes into the western-occupied zones of Berlin, Britain and the United States supplied the sectors by air for almost a year until the…


The Liberation of Copenhagen, May 1945.

Notes by Nicholas Hutchings: The following account was written by my father, Raymond Hutchings (1924-1998), who was sent to Copenhagen on 8 May 1945 to supervise the German surrender. He was a 20-year-old private in the 8th Parachute Battalion (8 Para Bn). I found a carbon copy of a typed account amongst his papers after his death. It seems to have formed part of a letter to his parents and was probably written immediately after his return to England in early June 1945. I have retyped it here. Not one word has been added or omitted.

We landed south of Copenhagen, on V.E. day, at about three o'clock in the after-noon. We landed, quite peacefully, we did not parachute down or anything like that, from about thirty Curtiss Commando aeroplanes. It was a very fine day and altogether a good start. We collected our gear and piled into a large lorry commandeered by the Danish resistance. On the side was painted 'Holger Danske' - Holger Danske is a mythical personage who lives in the underworld, and whenever Denmark is in trouble he goes into action and soon everything is all right again.

All along the road people were cheering and waving and smiling and saluting and an escort of cyclists was riding beside us. Then we de-bussed and went on foot into the centre of the city. Have you seen pictures of the liberation in France and Belgium - well, it was just like that and I can assure you that it was very inspiring. In the main square was the biggest crowd that I have ever seen, waving autograph books and shouting words of welcome, at least so I imagine, of course we couldn't understand a word ! That night and the next day and indeed the next week it was like that all the time. A man would come up to you in the street and shake your hand, or a girl pin a brooch on your chest, like this one here. Then the autograph hunters……children, boys and girls, but not only children either - I had quite a few elderly ladies - and one chap of about thirty who looked as if he hadn't shaved for a week and proffered a great thick pencil and dirty autograph book ! I shall never forget the first morning I went out to see the city. My friend and myself passed the barrier - after signing a good hundred autographs - but after a few yards we were separated with a small crowd gathered round each. If you hesitated in the street - as you were bound to do to find the way - or if you didn't stop there would be one, and when you had fixed that there were three more, and when you had signed their books there would be a score of people round you. that morning, we seriously doubted if we should get back to camp at all !

These first glorious days of liberation were celebrated by the Danes with unrestrained joy and gaiety and patriotic exuberance. Everyone was genuinely happy, as if they hadn't a care in the world. We were swept off our feet with the rest. The atmosphere of goodwill towards us was tremendous. You could never lose your way in Copenhagen - before you had time to ask there would be someone to show the way, and them-selves take you there, even if it was right out of their road. And then too the British soldiers began to meet the Danes and to be invited to their homes. The first morning I met a boy and girl in Tivoli and thence we got to know their families and others too, for in certain circles in Copenhagen everyone knows everyone else. The traditional long conserved bottle of Danish beer or Schnapps would come out and everyone would find themselves talking. I have made many good friends in Denmark, all the chaps say the same and nothing made a better impression than this generous hospitality, which was the same for all ranks.

You may ask if there was any fighting to do ? No virtually none, we arrived when the Germans had already packed in and there was fighting only some hundreds of Danish traitors, or Hipos , small groups of desperadoes who took up the attention of a Danish resistance army at least twenty times as numerous - not to its discredit, for the Hipos wore either Danish uniform or civilian clothes or exactly the same uniform as the Danish resistance, who themselves often wore German uniforms with simply the addition of an armband - so you can imagine that it was hard to distinguish them, even for the Danes. Practically impossible for us ! The liberation was entirely the work of the Danish resistance, with the co-operation of virtually the whole population which was solidly behind them when it did not actively support. In Copenhagen alone they had about thirty thousand men, armed to the teeth though for most of the time there was no-one to shoot at ! However, on V.E. night there was plenty of sniping around our Headquarters and elsewhere, and it was the same every night for near a week - they would start up round about half-past-ten - and sometimes you would hear firing in the daytime, but in general it seemed to be pretty innocuous and soon we ceased to take any notice of it at all. Of course, it wasn't always so, some days you would find flowers put down in the street where someone had been shot the night before: but in general there was a lot of noise and not too much effect. At first, we all carried arms about, but very soon we found it wasn't necessary.

There was a great deal of trouble in a minor way. When we arrived there were probably 250,000 German soldiers in Denmark, of which there were maybe 30,000 in Copenhagen, and they certainly outnumbered the Allied Forces. In general they did not want to fight and were willing to obey us, but from time to time they turned obstinate and a little expedition had to be sent out. Word came through once that some Germans were burning documents and we went to investigate. There was something burning, but it turned out to be only old newspapers, pictures of generals and admirals and odd junk and litter of all sorts. Then there was the time when we chased a Gestapo General, Günther Pancke, one of the most hated men in Denmark which is saying something. He was reported on a hospital ship in the Sound, and we gave chase on a ex-German lighter which was the only ship with steam up. This ship was not fast enough by a long chalk and the chase had to be given up - by us. That was a real disappointment.

Otherwise our work was mainly given up to supervising the evacuation of the German troops from the country. They were moving out, marching, from the start you used to see them tramping through the streets of Copenhagen in the small hours of the morning, dragging little carts behind them with their belongings. They had the impression that they would be treated lightly, but when they reached the Danish-German frontier they will find their mistake. Much of their kit was doubtless loot, but they will lose that anyway.

So far as the Germans were concerned, they left in Denmark a reputation which could hardly have been lower. One didn’t hear a good word for them. The most one could say, was that the ordinary soldiers were not hated near so much as the Gestapo and S.S., but that is not saying a great deal. It was offensive to the Danes to joke when referring to Germans, or to say any German words. In that way, they are much more sensitive than ourselves. Whereas the chief preoccupation of the British soldiers in Denmark was to gather as many souvenirs - of every kind - as possible, the Danes didn't want any souvenirs, they wanted to forget there had ever been such a thing as an occupation. Now the Germans are going, and the Danes couldn't possibly be more pleased.

Denmark itself looks, superficially, as if it has suffered very little from the war. There is very little bomb damage in Copenhagen, aside from the Gestapo Headquarters which was accurately bombed by the R.A.F. a short while before the liberation, and this the Danes never tired of quoting. On the other hand, there was a good deal of wanton destruction of buildings, such as pleasure palaces, by the Hipos, apparently simply for spite. And, of course, there was the very considerable sabotage that was the work of the Danish resistance, who for instance greatly hampered the export of food to Germany by attacking the transport lines. However, in Copenhagen at least such damage is not obvious. The Hipos for many months had terrorized the city, for instance they took random hostages or even shot indiscriminately in the streets, and for the sake of a better aim some removed the rear doors of their cars. Still, one can say, in comparing an enemy occupation with our experiences, and our own war effort which has gradually slowed, and of course still has not stopped, that when occupation lifts, it lifts universally and absolutely. Denmark today is settling down to what is something like normal existence. They have by comparison with most other countries abundant food, including more milk and eggs than they know what to do with, and are most eager to send to Holland or Norway : clothes are unrationed except for socks and stockings : many things, like fountain pens or thermos flasks, are obtainable which you could never get in England. On the other hand, they have no coal, using peat instead, and very little tobacco. A single English cigarette is worth in Denmark one krone, or about tenpence, and the result of this was that at first we lived almost solely by the black market ! Still there was some excuse because we had then no Danish currency.

But more important you have to remember that they had no security and no liberty under the occupation. Every night and day there were patriots murdered. For a long time they had no police - the Germans blew an air-raid siren, and arrested everyone above ground. A family I knew had their car taken by Hipos, another had all their valuable silver plate stolen, with no possibility of redress. Apart from the many occasions when the Germans resorted to brutal violence in the streets.

One consequence of this was that private families would come to collect weapons, and Denmark today is flooded with firearms. In the streets, perhaps one man in four carries a rifle, or a revolver, or a tommy-gun, or a bayonet, or some combination of these. A typical way to open a conversation, instead of the weather, is to point to the other chap's revolver, and ask him where he got it, and when, and then he asks about yours and soon you are talking like old friends. Even girls of fifteen or so want to know how to fire revolvers, and one, when I asked if there was anything else I could teach her, replied yes, she wanted to learn ju-jitsu ! Those are two girlish hobbies in Denmark now.

The Danish resistance, of which we saw a good deal, was extremely well armed with Swedish and British tommy-guns, German rifles and Danish and German revolvers. When I left they were still patrolling the streets, literally loaded down with weapons, but there was really good reason for their armaments though at first sight in the peaceful streets you might not think so - there were still many Hipos, and German sympathizers at large. They are bringing in the traitors one or two a day, but it is a long and slow task. In the business of guarding the many Germans in the city, and providing the main weight of power behind our expeditions, they were absolutely invaluable.

The Danes are as friendly to England and the English as one could possibly wish or imagine - they regarded us not only as heroes but as virtuous heroes and I don't suppose it will ever be my good fortune to be so regarded again ! They read all our books and know and care more about our royal family than we do ourselves. (Their own king, of course, is extremely popular). But they are rather lukewarm towards America, and definitely cold towards Russia. Maybe they had caught the Russian bogey from German propaganda and I think their fears will prove unjustified. They are perfectly willing and eager to help in the occupation of Germany.

I would say the best thing you could all do now is to start to learn Danish.

Afternotes by Nicholas Hutchings: HIPO means Hilfepolizei. I have learnt from various websites that Gunther Pancke (1899-1973) was captured after all and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment in Denmark.

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Decolonization of Asia and Africa, 1945–1960

Between 1945 and 1960, three dozen new states in Asia and Africa achieved autonomy or outright independence from their European colonial rulers.

There was no one process of decolonization. In some areas, it was peaceful, and orderly. In many others, independence was achieved only after a protracted revolution. A few newly independent countries acquired stable governments almost immediately others were ruled by dictators or military juntas for decades, or endured long civil wars. Some European governments welcomed a new relationship with their former colonies others contested decolonization militarily. The process of decolonization coincided with the new Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and with the early development of the new United Nations. Decolonization was often affected by superpower competition, and had a definite impact on the evolution of that competition. It also significantly changed the pattern of international relations in a more general sense.

The creation of so many new countries, some of which occupied strategic locations, others of which possessed significant natural resources, and most of which were desperately poor, altered the composition of the United Nations and political complexity of every region of the globe. In the mid to late 19th century, the European powers colonized much of Africa and Southeast Asia. During the decades of imperialism, the industrializing powers of Europe viewed the African and Asian continents as reservoirs of raw materials, labor, and territory for future settlement. In most cases, however, significant development and European settlement in these colonies was sporadic. However, the colonies were exploited, sometimes brutally, for natural and labor resources, and sometimes even for military conscripts. In addition, the introduction of colonial rule drew arbitrary natural boundaries where none had existed before, dividing ethnic and linguistic groups and natural features, and laying the foundation for the creation of numerous states lacking geographic, linguistic, ethnic, or political affinity.

During World War II Japan, itself a significant imperial power, drove the European powers out of Asia. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, local nationalist movements in the former Asian colonies campaigned for independence rather than a return to European colonial rule. In many cases, as in Indonesia and French Indochina, these nationalists had been guerrillas fighting the Japanese after European surrenders, or were former members of colonial military establishments. These independence movements often appealed to the United States Government for support.

While the United States generally supported the concept of national self-determination, it also had strong ties to its European allies, who had imperial claims on their former colonies. The Cold War only served to complicate the U.S. position, as U.S. support for decolonization was offset by American concern over communist expansion and Soviet strategic ambitions in Europe. Several of the NATO allies asserted that their colonial possessions provided them with economic and military strength that would otherwise be lost to the alliance. Nearly all of the United States’ European allies believed that after their recovery from World War II their colonies would finally provide the combination of raw materials and protected markets for finished goods that would cement the colonies to Europe. Whether or not this was the case, the alternative of allowing the colonies to slip away, perhaps into the United States’ economic sphere or that of another power, was unappealing to every European government interested in postwar stability. Although the U.S. Government did not force the issue, it encouraged the European imperial powers to negotiate an early withdrawal from their overseas colonies. The United States granted independence to the Philippines in 1946.

However, as the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union came to dominate U.S. foreign policy concerns in the late 1940s and 1950s, the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations grew increasingly concerned that as the European powers lost their colonies or granted them independence, Soviet-supported communist parties might achieve power in the new states. This might serve to shift the international balance of power in favor of the Soviet Union and remove access to economic resources from U.S. allies. Events such as the Indonesian struggle for independence from the Netherlands (1945–50), the Vietnamese war against France (1945–54), and the nationalist and professed socialist takeovers of Egypt (1952) and Iran (1951) served to reinforce such fears, even if new governments did not directly link themselves to the Soviet Union. Thus, the United States used aid packages, technical assistance and sometimes even military intervention to encourage newly independent nations in the Third World to adopt governments that aligned with the West. The Soviet Union deployed similar tactics in an effort to encourage new nations to join the communist bloc, and attempted to convince newly decolonized countries that communism was an intrinsically non-imperialist economic and political ideology. Many of the new nations resisted the pressure to be drawn into the Cold War, joined in the “nonaligned movement,” which formed after the Bandung conference of 1955, and focused on internal development.

The newly independent nations that emerged in the 1950s and the 1960s became an important factor in changing the balance of power within the United Nations. In 1946, there were 35 member states in the United Nations as the newly independent nations of the “third world” joined the organization, by 1970 membership had swelled to 127. These new member states had a few characteristics in common they were non-white, with developing economies, facing internal problems that were the result of their colonial past, which sometimes put them at odds with European countries and made them suspicious of European-style governmental structures, political ideas, and economic institutions. These countries also became vocal advocates of continuing decolonization, with the result that the UN Assembly was often ahead of the Security Council on issues of self-governance and decolonization. The new nations pushed the UN toward accepting resolutions for independence for colonial states and creating a special committee on colonialism, demonstrating that even though some nations continued to struggle for independence, in the eyes of the international community, the colonial era was ending.


The Presidential Election of 1960

John F. Kennedy, a wealthy Democratic senator from Massachusetts, was elected president in 1960, defeating Vice President Richard Nixon. Though he clearly won the electoral vote, Kennedy's received only 118,000 more votes than Nixon in this close election.

In his inaugural address, Kennedy said, "Let the word go forth . . . that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans-born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage." Kennedy also challenged Americans to think of ways they could serve, saying "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." This statement and Kennedy's enthusiasm appealed to many young idealists. But Kennedy also had won the votes of many traditional Democratic voters-members of labor unions, African Americans, and members of other ethnic groups.

Some analysts see the 1960 election as a turning point in American politics. Following the election, some aspects of the political process seemed to have changed forever. As you examine the documents listed to the right, look for factors that made the 1960 election different from preceding elections. What helped account for John Kennedy's appeal? What set him apart from Richard Nixon and from previous presidential candidates? In what ways was he like other candidates?


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