k. Poorly trained French army, led my generals who were not versed in the use of tanks or warplanes, easilyfell to the powerful German military. l. Mussolini invaded southern France on June 10. m. France asked for an armistice less than a week later. n. In two months Hitler had accomplished what Germany had failed to achieve in four years of bitter fighting in the previous war. B. The Battle of Britain 1. Winston Churchill became prime minister of Britain in May 1940 and led tough resistance against German controlof the continent as he was unwilling to negotiate with Hitler. 2. Churchill established a close friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt 3. US was neutral and politically dominated by an isolationist policy. 4. Churchill convinced the US to send supplies and warships across the Atlantic to help protect Britain. 5. Hitler’s attempt to take Great Britain a. German air force, or Luftwaffe, began attacking airfields and fighter planes in southeast England, in August 1940 b. Beginning in early September 1940, the Luftwaffe bombed London for two months straight and killed 15,000 civilians. c. The bombing of London strengthened the moral of the British people 6. Assisted by newly developed radar detection technology and excellent communications, the RAF (royal air force) inflicted heavy losses on the Luftwaffe and forced Hitler to abort his plan to invade Britain. C. The German Attack on Russia 1. Hitler had long planned to extend German “living space” in Russia and the Ukraine and ordered his generals to start planning for the invasion in 1940. 2. Operation Barbarossa a. Planned to begin in mid-May 1940 so the Germans would have control of Russia before winter set in.b. The Soviet Union was not prepared and were taken by surprise c. By November, the German army stood at the gates of Leningrad and an attack on Moscow seemed imminent. d. Hitler stalled in August as he debated strategy and the German army withered when winter set in.e. This planned blitzkrieg ended in a war of attrition with casualties in the millions on both sides.
3. Italy in North Africa
a. Jealous of Hitler’s success in western and northern Europe, and forbidden to seize any in France, Mussolini attacked the British in Egypt b. Hitler sent troops to assist the Italians in Egypt and the Balkans c. Erwin Rommel, “the Desert Fox,” commanded German troops in North Africa and defeated the British inLibya and forced them back into Egypt. d. This unanticipated diversion cost Hitler thousands of troops who he had planned to have in the Soviet Union. D. Hitler’s Plans for Europe a. The Third Reich - Hitler’s plan to resurrect German greatness as the other two German empires were those forged by Charlemagne in the ninth century and Bismarck in the nineteenth.