Timeline…

  • April 9, 1940 – Nazis invaded Denmark and Norway.
  • May 10, 1940 – Nazis invaded France and Belgium.
  • May 15, 1940 – Holland surrendered to the Nazis.

What You need to know Beforehand:

  • Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) was economically important to Germany
  • Germany relied on iron ore from Sweden (shipped through Norway) to its industries
  • Britain and France viewed the relationship dangerous because of potential war
  • Britain and France discussed sending troops to occupy Denmark and Norway
  • Hitler viewed it as a direct threat to Germany’s economy and decided to act

Operation Weserübung (Weser Exercise)  April 9, 1940

  • Code name for Nazi Germany’s invasion of Denmark and Norway

FALL OF DENMARK (1940)

  • Germans wanted to occupy Denmark for these reasons:
  • It would secure communication lines to Norway during operation.
  • Would provide naval bases
  • Would protect supply of iron-ore from Sweden, coming into Germany.
  • German air forces (Luftwaffe) could use land for training.

How Germany went about their plan:

  • The small Danish army was to be overrun by two infantry divisions (the 170th and 198th) and the 11th rifle brigade.
  • A small naval expedition entered Copenhagen (Capital of Denmark) harbor on April 9, and landed troops
  • Land invasion began. There was some fighting, but the defenders of the Danish border were quickly overrun.
  • Any further resistance was pointless, so the Danish government was forced to agree to a German ultimatum to end the fighting.
  • Germany’s plan worked out perfectly
  • Denmark was to be occupied by the Germans until the end of the war.

FALL OF NORWAY(1940)

  • Germans wanted to occupy Norway for these reasons:
  • Control of Norway’s coasts would be beneficial for reign over battles in the North Sea.
  • Would make easier passage for German U-Boats and ships into Atlantic
  • Would ease iron-ore swiftly into Germany so that Germany could obtain the supply of iron they needed for the war effort
  • How Germany went about their plan:
  • Plan was to take major cities, secure them, and then flee from each city so that each force joined up together at the same point
  • Operation depended on enemy to be surprised and quickly surrender, as interference from other allies would destroy the invasion, and lead to the destruction of Krieg marine (German Navy)
  • Norway wasn’t able to fight against Germany, as Germany’s army was too large and superior, leading to Norway’s surrender
  • Operation Weserübung was over, Germany was victorious

FALL OF HOLLAND(1940)

  • How Germany went about their plan:
  • The invasion, based on blitzkrieg, was swift and devastating. Holland surrendered six days later as her military had been unable to cope with the speed of blitzkrieg
  • The target was Waalhaven airfield to the south of Rotterdam (largest port in Europe)
  • Holland was an irritation in the great scheme of the attack on France. The sooner the Germans could take out Holland, the sooner they could concentrate all their resources on France. For this reason, they wanted to shock the politicians of Holland into surrendering. Rotterdam was the pay the price for this. The Germans decided to launch a ferocious attack on Rotterdam that would have such an impact, that the government of Holland would call a surrender.
  • Over the next two days, the Germans conquered the rest of Holland. However, the Germans did meet with resistance especially at the Ypenburg and Ockenburg air bases
  • Holland surrendered- Germany was victorious

FALL OF BELGIUM

  • ” Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied…. Declarations of neutrality must be ignored.” Hitler
  • Was a neutral country until Germany decided to invade it
  • Air raids from the German Luftwaffe > bombs in cities
  • Captured fortress Eban Emael
    Belgian army fought but sadly surrendered when it became overwhelming to compete with German tactics
  • Didn’t want French or British troops occupying Belgium and turning armies against Germany
  • Acted quickly and took it as their own
  • British and French had wanted to send troops to Belgium to defend in case of an attack
  • German divisions, paratroopers, air gliders and soldiers overran Belgium

Prior to the war, there was a certain balance in Europe but with the fall of France in 1940 to Hitler and Nazi Germany, this balance shifted…

FALL OF FRANCE

  • Maginot Line
  • After high causalities of WW1,
    France decided to take the defensive
  • A new defence was built:
    The Maginot Line
  • Concrete forts with machine gun posts, tank and artillery that were set up to protect and defend France from Germany in case of an attack
  • Germany invaded Belgium on May 10
  • Main attack on France happened in the Ardennes (between German-Belgian-French border) on May 13.
  • Attacked at Sedan, which was on the northern end of the Line.
  • trapped French soldiers with no place to run.
  • On June 14, 1940 – Nazis went into Paris
    On June 17, 1940 – France surrendered.

Significance

  • ·with countries quickly falling into Nazi hands, neutral countries (Canada, U.S.A) were pulled into war after the fall of France in order to help out Britain
  • ·a wall was built to keep Britain out of Germany (Nazi occupied countries)
  • Britain couldn’t penetrate through the wall
  • Canada became one of Britain’s strongest allies as France fell away from power
  • All of these events proved that Germany was becoming ruthless and would stop at nothing to achieve its goals

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