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1b01 - 1b1 World War II and Bletchley Park I will begin...

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I will begin this story with my father, Evo Furino, and my uncle, Gerald Merchant. 1b1: World War II and Bletchley Park 1 Both fought in World War II, where this episode is set. Neither man had ever heard of Bill Tutte but their lives depended upon the work of Tutte and other codebreakers at Bletchley Park in England. © University of Waterloo and others
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My father served with the 8th New Brunswick Hussars, a Canadian armoured 1b1: World War II and Bletchley Park 2 regiment. © University of Waterloo and others
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My uncle served in the Royal Canadian Navy aboard the HMCS St. Croix. 1b1: World War II and Bletchley Park 3 © University of Waterloo and others
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The situation in Europe in May 1941, where our story begins, was extremely grave. Here is a brief history of the events that preceded it. In 1933 The Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. Hitler began to rebuild the military in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of 1b1: World War II and Bletchley Park 4 Versailles was a peace treaty signed by Germany and the Allied powers in 1919 after the end of World War I. The treaty required German disarmament and allowed for the occupation of the Saarland, a province of Germany, by France. The French occupation was subject to a plebiscite to be held in 1935. In 1935 the Saarland voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Germany. In 1935 Hitler also repudiated the treaty and sped up militarization. In March 1938 Germany annexed Austria. In September 1938 Germany annexed a part of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland. In March 1939 Germany seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia. The western democracies finally began to realize the full intent of Hitler s ideals. In the same period, Italy, an ally of Germany, occupied Albania. After a blitzkrieg assault Germany occupied Poland in September 1939. France, Britain and other countries of the commonwealth declared war on Germany. The time between late April 1939 and April 1940 was known as the Phony War . The war had been declared, but neither side launched any significant attacks. Germany built up forces to invade France while France established defenses behind her Maginot Line (a series of strong fortifications on the French-German Border). Since the Maginot Line did not extend beyond that border, the French positioned their more mobile forces, including the British Expeditionary Force, on the Belgium Border. German forces attacked and occupied Denmark in April 1940 and Norway in June 1940. May 1940 saw another blitzkrieg attack, this time on Belgium, the Netherlands and France. German Army Group A (containing the majority of the Panzer Units) attacks through the Ardennes Forrest and cut off two French Armies and the British Expeditionary Force from the rest of the French Forces. These troops either surrendered or were evacuated at Dunkirk.
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