1939: Countdown to War by Richard Overy

By Richard Overy

A top historian re-creates the ultimate hours of peace in Europe.

On August 24, 1939, the realm held its collective breath as Hitler and Stalin signed the now notorious nonaggression pact, signaling an coming near near invasion of Poland and bold Western Europe to respond.

during this dramatic account of the ultimate days earlier than the outbreak of global warfare II, award-winning historian Richard Overy vividly chronicles the unraveling of peace, hour by way of grim hour, as politicians and traditional electorate brace themselves for a conflict which could spell the top of eu civilization. not anything was once fullyyt predictable or inevitable. The West was hoping that Hitler may see experience in the event that they stood enterprise. Hitler was once confident the West may backpedal. Moments of uncertainty alternated with these of war of words; mystery intelligence was once utilized by each side to help their hopes. the single consistent characteristic used to be the choice of Poland, a rustic created in simple terms in 1919, to guard its newfound independence opposed to a significantly enhanced enemy. 1939 files a defining second within the violent heritage of the 20th century.

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By this stage, the German artillery included two railroad guns, a heavy howitzer battalion, forty-seven I50mm gun-howitzers, forty 105mm howitzers, thirty-two 88mm guns, and a variety of small-caliber Troops of the 172nd Engineer Combat Battalion inspect German prisoners on October 6, following the capture of Ubach by the 2nd Armored Division. (NARA) 37 AACHEN STREET FIGHTING, OCTOBER 15, 1944 (pages 38-39) In preparation for the attack into the center of Aachen, the 2/26th Infantry received specialized urban assault training developed on the spot by its commander, Lt Col Derrill Daniel.

Geography aided the defense in two respects. On the one hand, the proximity of the front to German industry and supply dumps simplified German logistics, just as it complicated Allied logistics. On the other hand, the congested industrialized terrain of the Roer, and the mountainous forests of the Hiirtgenwald, were well suited to defense. 30 THE CAMPAIGN THE FIRST BATTLE OF AACHEN he first US troops to reach German soil were a reconnaissance patrol of the 5th Armored Division, which crossed the River Our near Stalzemburg on the German-Luxembourg border on September 11, 1944.

At 1615 hours, patrols from both divisions linked up near Ravels Hill, finally closing the Aachen gap. THE SECOND BATTLE OF AACHEN On October 10, the US Army sent a delegation into Aachen with a surrender ultimatum; based on Hitler's orders, it was rejected. Defending Aachen under the command of Col Gerhard Wilck was the 246th Division, which had three infantry battalions, two fortress battalions, some Luftwaffe troops, and about 125 city policemen. While understrength, Wilck's force actually outnumbered the attacking US infantry force about three to one.

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