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In Poland In 1939 and in Western Europe in 1940, the German army defeated its enemies quickly, was this only because of the Blitzkrieg tactics used?

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Introduction

In Poland In 1939 and in Western Europe in 1940, the German army defeated its enemies quickly, was this only because of the Blitzkrieg tactics used? At the beginning of May 1940, Britain and France was in a state of 'Phoney war' with Germany; a name given to the war by American journalists. Britain and France had declared war on Germany because of their invasion of Poland, but had done nothing to defend Poland or attack Germany, instead, they sat behind their Maginot line, waiting. By the 14th of June, the German army had swept across Western Europe, conquering Holland, Belgian, and the capital of France. The British expeditionary force (BEF) was left in a small corner of Northeast France, on the border with Belgium. The reason for this massive expansion varied from the massive planning and superior tactics employed by the German generals to the French political policy, which was in shatters. There are a number of reasons for France and Britain not invading Germany whilst they were in a war with Poland, which I will come on to later. If they had done, there would have been a high chance of success and would have probably saved them from such a long and treacherous war. The German tactic Blitzkrieg was a new strategy, devised by European generals in the 20's and 30's. ...read more.

Middle

Another problem with the French tactics was that they kept their tanks in small groups, whereas the Germans had theirs in large groups, therefore being able to give support to each other and give more concentrated firepower. The French tanks were very unreliable compared to the German Panzer. During the 30's, the French generals demonstrated their defence orientation by building a series of forts along the French-German border. This was from the supposedly impassable Ardennes forest to the Swiss border. This masterpiece would have defended the French from a World War 1 style attack; but in the war it turned out to be completely useless, as the Germans went through the Ardennes forest. The German army was completely mobile. France's defence was stuck on the border. Early in 1940, a German plane crashed containing plans for the attack on France. The plans showed the Germans attacking through neutral Belgian. The French therefore extended their Maginot line, and stationed most of their troops on the French Belgian border, leaving the Ardennes forest sparsly covered. As it happened the Germans main thrust was through the Ardennes, crossing over the River Meuse at Sudan, much to the surprise and dismay of the French generals. The Germans had reached the channel in a week and had captured Paris in a month. ...read more.

Conclusion

Earlier in 1939, Poland had suffered the same fate as France, the Germans slick ingenuity proved brilliant. Hitler's non-aggression treaty with Poland was forgotten. The polish army was unequipped and old, using horses and swords against the highly modern, mechanised Germans. The Germans swept through Poland using Blitzkrieg without problems. The Russians also attacked Poland, from the East. Poland had no chance of success. Britain and France were allies with Poland, but did nothing to help them. If Britain and France had not been so defence orientated, and had any imagination, they would have attacked Germany now. Instead they sat behind the Maginot waiting for the Germans to give what they thought would be a full on, frontal attack like in the First War. In the First war, the attackers always suffered heavy losses, while the defenders usually didn't. The polish Generals were similar to the British and French in that they Defended, These Generals were people who fought in the 1st war, and had their strategic learning then. Blitzkrieg together with the superior Luftwafe (against the 1920's Polish biplanes) and Russian input saw the end of Poland within a month. The Germans invasion of the other western countries was also very successful, for the same reasons. Blitzkrieg was the main reason for the allied defeat, together with the soldiers high moral and respect for Hitler, but the Unprofessional armies of the allied forces and the lack of modern ideas and overall complacency of the allied forces all added up in Germany's favour. ...read more.

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