Iron Cross Amerika: The shocking story of a US citizen who joined an SS death squad

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But the Italian campaign soon faltered — their troops were ill equipped and ill led. An agreement to allow the Japanese to place 6, troops in Indo-China had recently been signed, but this contravened it. The Japanese swiftly took the city of Lang Son in the north and a subsequent naval landing threatened the port of Haiphong. The fighting was over by 26 September and an uneasy accommodation reached.

Signed in Berlin, this was a mutual assistance agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan. Each country vowed to come to the others' aid if attacked by another state. It served to demonstrate to the West - if further demonstration were needed - how threatening these totalitarian regimes were. By the end of September it was obvious to the Germans that they were losing too many planes, relative to the loses inflicted on the RAF, to ever win the Battle of Britain.

The German leader held talks with the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, at the border town of Hendaye. The Spanish would not come into the war unless the Germans promised them huge territorial gains and perhaps not even then. Hitler later said he would rather have his teeth pulled than endure another such meeting. Benito Mussolini ordered another ill fated attempt at expanding Italian control with the invasion of Greece. Italian forces, in possession of Albania since , crossed the border into Greece only to face fierce resistance, led by General Alexander Papagos, which halted their advance and began to force them back.

By November the Italians had been pushed back into Albania. Stacey Simkins Much of London was devastated in the German raids which began in earnest in the autumn of Stacey Simkins was one of those who tried to fight the fires on the ground. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States for an unprecedented third term, defeating Wendell Willkie. At the end of the campaign FDR had given an assurance that American troops would not be sent to a foreign war. But he still wanted to support the British war effort.

Getting the balance right between these two issues would occupy Roosevelt for the next year, before Pearl Harbour in December The conference was not a success. The Soviets wanted detailed answers to questions about German intentions, and Hitler wanted the Red Army to join in the fight against Britain. The nature of these talks confirmed Hitler in his belief that the Nazis should attack the Soviets. Infamously the film contains a sequence showing footage of Jews in the ghettos of Poland intercut with rats.

Hajime Kondo He was sent, in , to take part in the Japanese war against the Chinese.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt | The Holocaust Encyclopedia

As a former soldier of the Imperial Army he gives a graphic description of the horrendous atrocities he saw committed by the Japanese. Italian morale was low and the British had control of the sky and the advantage of barrages from the Royal Navy offshore. Within little more than a week the Italians had been ejected from Egypt and nearly 40, prisoners had been taken.

Hitler issues a directive calling for the invasion of the Soviet Union. A myth grew up around Frederick I that he was not dead, but sleeping, and one day would awake to take Germany to glory. This forthcoming war, Hitler believed, was a defining moment for the Nazis. How did Franklin Roosevelt manage to support the British war effort before Pearl Harbour, when so many Americans wanted to keep out of the war?

Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Just as they had in the desert with Operation Compass, the Italians proved to have little stomach for the fight and were driven from Ethiopa then called Abyssinia , a country they had taken in Forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth — including the famous 7th Armoured Division — continued to push the Italians back, into the far west of Libya. The port of Benghazi was captured on 7 February and that same day the Italian army under Marshal Graziani surrendered.

But the Germans were arriving to bolster their erstwhile ally, and they would prove much harder to dislodge. Already a hero to the Germans as a result of his actions in the invasion of France in May , he was sent by Hitler to shore up the poor performance of the Italians.

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He soon mounted an offensive against the forces of the British Empire and began to push them back out of Western Libya. But now they succumbed to pressure from the Nazis to join the Axis. Not least because German soldiers would shortly pass through their country in pursuit of the invasion of the Balkans and Greece, but also because of the prospect of territorial gains for themselves.

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His trip coincided with the decision of the industrial giant, I G Farben, to open a Buna synthetic rubber factory nearby. A ghetto was formed in Cracow, the historic Polish city, capital of the area of Poland the Nazis called the General Government. Previously a large number of the Jews of the city had been deported to elsewhere in the General Government. Now the remaining 15, Jews were crammed into an area of the city designed for less than a quarter of that number.

Following the example set in Cracow, Nazi officials in Lublin pursued a twin policy of expelling the majority of Jews from the city and then ghettoizing the remainder. Thus around 20, Jews would eventually enter the Lublin ghetto, the construction of which was ordered on 24 March. The Lend Lease bill passed into law after a lengthy debate. Discussions about the bill deliberately numbered - the year of the American Revolution - to emphasize its importance to the USA had raised the public consciousness about the war in Europe; something Roosevelt had planned.

Hitler was driven into a fury — he wanted all energies directed into preparation for the invasion of the Soviet Union, and now he knew the German army would have to crush the coup to secure this flank. Half a million German troops and their allies invaded Yugoslavia in a lightning attack which brought swift results. On 12 April Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia, fell to the invaders. Five days later, on 17 April, the Yugoslavs surrendered.

The siege was finally lifted in November when the British launched Operation Crusader. A non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Japan was signed in Moscow. Stalin was anxious to protect the Soviet Union from any possible attack from the east and hoped this agreement would do just that.

Following the success of their rapid subjugation of Yugoslavia, the Germans attacked Greece. Once again their victory was swift, with the Greek army on the mainland crushed by 23 April. Forces of Britain and its Empire sent to help the Greeks had proved unable to stop the advance and there was then a mass evacuation of Allied forces to Crete. This was of great significance for the codebreakers at Bletchley Park in southern England as the naval Enigma machine contained an extra encoding rotor — a fourth — which the German military Enigma machine did not.

Hess hoped to negotiate peace with the British and so leave the Nazis a free hand in the east. But he was clearly psychologically unstable and Hitler was furious when he learnt what his deputy had done. The German High Command issued an order which stated that draconian measures were to be taken against the Soviets in the forthcoming war. Partisans were to be shot out of hand and collective reprisals approved. The central economic agency of the German army produced a report estimating that up to 30 million people could be expected to starve to death in the Soviet Union as a consequence of Nazi policy, which was to both feed the Germany army at the expense of the Soviets and to take food away to feed German citizens.

The Nazis thus intended to kill enormous numbers of Soviet citizens as an integral part of their invasion strategy.

Nazi Death Squads S01 - Ep01 Mass Graves

The Bismarck, a German battleship of more than 40, tons, had left her base with the cruiser Prince Eugen to attack Allied convoys in the Atlantic. Less than of the more than 2, German sailors on Bismarck survived. On 20 May the Germans had mounted a massive airborne raid on Crete.

Despite knowing of German intentions via ULTRA intelligence, British and Empire forces under the command of Lt General Freyberg were overwhelmed by the German attack and eventually forced to evacuate from Sphakia, a port on the south east of the island. Around 3, Germans in four Einsatzgruppen task groups entered the Soviet Union immediately behind the front line troops. Why did the Nazis invade the Soviet Union? So why was the decision ever taken to attack the Soviets? In the largest land invasion in history, more than three million German troops crossed the border into Soviet territory in three giant thrusts.

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Hungary had benefited territorially from German aggression or threat of aggression for several years — gaining part of Slovakia after the Munich agreement in and northern Transylvania from Romania in Now, convinced that the Nazis were likely to win in the battle against Stalin, and motivated in part by a fear of Slavic expansion, the Hungarian government declared war on the Soviet Union. Less than one week after the start of the invasion, German troops entered Minsk, capital of the Soviet republic of Belorussia.

On 29 June Stalin stormed out of a meeting with his generals and then retreated to his dacha.

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Was all this a sign that the Soviet leader was cracking under the pressure? The Nazi war of 'annihilation' fought on the Eastern Front was to make its mark on Auschwitz, as the SS started killing Soviet prisoners at the camp - eventually with Zyklon B.

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In this devastating testimony he describes how he personally took part in the murder of Jews in the autumn of A few days later the Americans cancelled export licences for petrol and oil destined for Japan. Since the Japanese received three quarters of their oil from the USA, this was an act which raised the political tension very considerably. As part of the adult 'euthanasia' action - called 14f13 as it applied to concentration camps - around sick inmates of Auschwitz were taken from the camp and transported to a mental hospital at Sonnenstein in Germany.

There they were killed - gassed with bottled carbon monoxide. Thus the first Auschwitz prisoners to die by gassing were murdered away from the camp, and were killed because they were sick, not because they were Jews. This would still have led to many deaths, but not the Holocaust as we know it. How successful was the initial invasion of the Soviet Union? Given their eventual catastrophic defeat, it is easy to forget that initially it seemed as if Hitler and his troops were in sight of victory. Georgy Semenyak Georgy Semenyak tells a personal story that encompasses the horror of the early days of the invasion of the Soviet Union, through to his harrowing experience of imprisonment in German captivity.

Part Two Within weeks of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union special killing squads were murdering whole Jewish families - and the Jews of Europe were now under greater threat. The Americans joined the war in , a decision forced upon them by Pearl Harbour. But had FDR wanted America in the war all along? The Charter laid out in eight points the two leaders' 'hopes for a better future for the world'. Between 70, to , people were killed as a result of this policy.

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Why was the war against the Soviets a 'different kind of war'? What motivated that terrible demand, and what were the consequences of it? Ken Yuasa As a doctor serving in the Imperial Army in China he personally committed a series of atrocities against Chinese civilians.

The Germans had decided not to risk losing soldiers in house-to-house fighting inside the city as they were later to do in Stalingrad but to try and starve the inhabitants into submission. During the next days around one million people inside the city would die. Following the August meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill, the Americans had agreed that their warships would escort convoys to Britain as far as Iceland. What this demonstrated to the Germans was the progressive participation of the Americans in the war — despite their professed neutrality.

German U boats — under orders not to sink American ships — could now not be sure which targets were permitted and which were not.

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Hitler had ordered that the direct advance towards Moscow be diverted for a short time in order to secure Ukraine and its capital, Kiev.