On December 16, 1944 the Battle of the Bulge, or Operation Herbstnebel (Autumn Mist), began. It remains the largest battle the U.S. Army has participated in outside of the U.S. Civil War, and hundreds of books have been penned about it. But it is a German commando operation during the Nazi offensive that has created one of the Second World War's more intriguing mysteries. One that remains unsolved to this day.
In the fall of 1944 Adolf Hitler asked Otto Skorzeny to create a special unit to help spearhead Herbstnebel by capturing key bridges over the Meuse River and sowing confusion and panic
The Third Reich's last week is often described as a lightly contested race between the Allied and Soviet armies to see who could secure the most territory. The reality was anything but so simple. What many Americans don't appreciate is that the vicious fighting characterizing the Nazi-Soviet conflict continued well past the official end of the war. As we approach the 70 year anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe's let's remember why many of the combatants at that time hardly felt like celebrating once the Nazi's finally surrendered.
Early in December 1941 German led Axis forces had driven to the gates of Moscow. However, the Red Army counter-attacked their overextended enemy. Soviet armies drove the Wehrmacht and its Axis allies back across the entirety of the front, and put the nail in Operation Barbarossa's coffin. Nevertheless, by early in January 1942 most of the initial Soviet counterstrokes had fizzled to a halt, and for good reason.
In just over six months of warfare the Soviet Union had lost control over 40 percent of its population, a third of its heavy industry, and staggering military losses reaching nearly 5
German police have recently recovered 1,500 mostly modernist works of art - including from artists such as Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse. The entire haul, estimated to be worth over €1 Billion, was discovered in the flat of a Munich resident late last year.
The art was originally confiscated by the Nazi's during the 1930's and 1940's. From there it ended up in the hands of art collector Hildebrand Gurlitt who upon his death passed on the trove of great works to his son Cornelius.
One of the favorite topics of alternative history (and one of the scenarios endlessly replayed in war games such as Axis & Allies and 3rd Reich) is what if Germany had attempted Operation Sea Lion. Assuming a Luftwaffe victory over the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain was Sea Lion feasible in other respects? Could Hitler have knocked the United Kingdom out of the war in the summer of 1940 or would the attempt have led to his first major defeat?
In August and September of 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland and divided up the country between themselves. The Germans quickly went to work murdering tens of thousands of people. Meanwhile, Josef Stalin's Soviet Union more quietly, but still brutally, subjugated its part of the former Polish state. To this day the German atrocities garner the bulk of the attention, and rightly so in many respects.
On May 12, 2012 the iconic first step in the Olympics began in Greece at the Temple of Hera in Olympia; with the first leg of the famous torch relay. On Friday, July 27th the world will watch as the final torch bearer completes their run through London, enters the Olympic Stadium, and lights the Olympic flame. However, what many don't know is that this well-regarded tradition actually began in 1936 at the direction of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich on behalf of the Berlin Olympics.
Now there is no question that the ancient Greeks ran relay races using flames, but this was not done as an integral
On May 27, 1942 a joint British, Czech, Slovak commando operation attacked Reinhard Heydrich, one of history's truly vile human beings he is best known as being the founder of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and chair of the January 1942 Wannsee Conference laying out the scope of the Final Solution, as he travelled near Prague in Czechoslovakia. He would die from his wounds shortly thereafter.
Then on June 9, 1942 Adolf Hitler, infuriated by Heydrich's assassination, set in train orders meant to make up for Heydrich's death by exacting horrific retribution on villages in the area that were
As we celebrate yet another anniversary of the tremendous Allied victory of June 6, 1944, or D-Day, let us take a closer look at the role played by German command decisions as one element in enabling the Allied establishment of a lodgment in France. From the beginning, Germany's approach to defending against an Allied liberation of Western Europe was overshadowed by the war waged in Eastern Europe. In particular an early focus of the Wehrmacht's defensive efforts revolved around preventing special operations conducted primarily by the British.
This final part in our series on the human cost of the Second World War in Europe will look at the nation most responsible for plunging humanity into global warfare: Germany. Though in the United States of America the Second World War is often cast today as the last "good war", in reality there were few nation's that participated in the war, willingly or not, and emerged from the war with entirely clean hands.
I make this observation because the people of Germany were both the perpetrators and, in some cases, victims of the violence Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime unleashed across all of