Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 10th 1940

The Sitzkrieg is ended.

"All quiet on the Western Front" no more.

Sitzkrieg: "The Phony War" was the term derisively applied by many in the English speaking countries to the period after the invasion of Poland had resulted in chaos in the East with the dictator's ravaged victim partitioned and occupied while leaving the French and the English waiting.

Spring 1940, Adolph Hitler visits the troops

May 10th 1940 was my brother-in-law's birthday, he was born in Eindhoven which city is located about 100 KM west of Dusseldorf and is about 55 KM to the West of the German border with The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

On that Spring morning Adolph Hitler sent eighty-nine divisions of Germany's young men to attack The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The Luft-waffe's Stuka-Flugel (dive-bombers) screamed from the sky dropping bombs to terrorize the unprepared Dutch, Belgians and Luxemburgers, while armored columns advanced across nearly undefended borders.

German parachute troops outside Rotterdam 5-10-1940

A Stuka Dive-bomber releases its bomb

At the same time, in the pre-dawn hours the Luftwaffe carried out a series of raids on aerodromes in the North of France. Pontoise, Lille, Lyon, Metz, Amiens and Annemasse were all bombed in the early morning hours so that there was no mistaking the fact that the war in the West had begun.

After only two days of Blitzkrieg (lightning-war) the German war machine had reached the northern French border and was in position to bypass the major French border defenses. Conquest of Belgium and The Netherlands was continuing and within three weeks, vastly outgunned by their larger neighbor, both countries had been forced to surrender to German occupation. With Holland and Belgium neutralized German armored columns, over a hundred miles long, poured across the border into France and crushed the opposing forces.

It would be five long years and tens of millions of lives lost and hundreds of cities and towns bombed into rubble before peace would be restored in Western Europe.

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