The Czechoslovakia Crisis Early, 1938 This event was a result of Hitler’s insistence that the Sudeten Deutsch (in Czechoslovakia) be rejoined with their fellow Germans in a larger German nation. Hitler’s overwhelming personality and fervor inspired the event, and Germany’s power caused the other European countries to favor appeasement over war. The Violation of the Munich Pact September, 1938 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain led the leaders of Italy and France in agreeing to allow Hitler and Germany to take the Sudetenland as long as he agreed to not take the rest of Czechoslovakia. However, after the meeting Hitler goes ahead and annexes the rest of Czechoslovakia anyway. The European powers do nothing in response. The Invasion of Poland September 3, 1939 The huge massive German military machine, powered by Germany’s industrial strength, runs over the Polish army and occupies most of the country in less than three weeks. Russia occupies the Eastern half of the country and France and England declare war but do nothing. This is named “The Phony War.” The Invasion of France 1940 After remaining paralyzed by fear of war, France is invaded by the German war machine in 1940. By June 14, Paris iss captured and the country surrenders. Some of the French form a government that cooperates with the Germans(Vichy France) while others continue to resist with little success(Free France). Great Britain becomes the only Allied Power not annexed or occupied by Germany. The Battle of Britain 1940-1941 Not a real battle the way we normally think of them, the Battle of Britain refers to the bombing campaign the Germans led against the British to try and break their will to resist. Although more than 40, 000 British citizens were killed in the battle, including 16,000 civilians, the British never gave up the fight and the bombing campaign was a failure. Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to this as Britain’s “finest hour”. The Invasion of the Soviet Union 1941-1943 Seemingly unable to learn the lessons of history through the example of Napoleon, Hitler ordered the German Army to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. The Germans stopped fighting in the Fall of 1941, and resumed in Spring of 1942, but in the following year, Hitler pushed the army on through the winter of 1942-1943 and just like Napoleon before them the Russians were defeated by the harsh Russian winter. Operation Overlord (D-Day) June 6, 1944 Although Stalin had been begging the Allies to attack Hitler from the west since 1941, the Allies waited until 1944 when they attacked the French coast at Normandy. The invasion was massive with soldiers landing by water on naval vessels, and by air in gliders and by parachute. The invasion was also an eventual success and the allies had freed Paris by August, 1944. Many people think that if Hitler had just kept himself from invading Russia, he may have been able to defeat the Allied invasion. After D-Day, there was no turning back for the Germans, and the Allied Victory came less than one year later on May 8, 1945. V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day).