Good Morning, soon Thanksgiving will be upon us and November will transition into December. World War II in Numbers continues with the end of World War II. We will continue with the series World War II in Numbers.
March 1945, Hitler issued one of the most chilling orders of his regime. He gave the order to destroy everything that could help the enemy. Germany would have been totally destroyed by the order. The German commanders ignored the order. Why would Hitler order such a thing? In his mind, if Germany was defeated then they were the weaker nation and should not survive. On the other side of the world, the Japanese were willing to fight to the last man.
July into August 1943, 2,300 Allied
bombers reduced the city of Hamburg into rubbles. Three-quarters of the city was destroyed. A new type of plane was introduced by the Allies to the war: the fighter. These fighters could outmaneuver and outfight the German fighter pilots. These fighters could escort bombers to Germany and back again. IN the last twelve months of the war, an increasing number of bombs were dropped. The targets were Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Essen, Cologne, and Bremen are targeted over and over again.
Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Essen, Cologne, and Bremen were important to the German war effort and were targeted again and again. This would have shifted war production as well as pulled forces back to Germany to defend German airspace. This meant fewer men and weapons on the front making it easier for the Allies to retake Europe. The bombings also slowed down the production of new materials for the war.
The Allied forces are racing across Europe. They converge in the Ardennes Forest and encounter seventeen German divisions. The Battle of the Bulge was going to begin. The Germans gained the upper hand, but at Christmastime, the tide turned. The German tanks were gas guzzlers and it took a while to fuel up. A German recon effort found a fuel depot. This fuel would have fueled the German army to Antwerp. An American soldier and his fellow Belgian counterparts dug a trench, poured fuel in, and set the fuel on fire. This causes the soldiers to turn around.
In the meantime, on the Eastern front, the generals are screaming for soldiers to slow down the Soviet progress towards Berlin. They do not get the troops they want to slow down the Soviet advance. The Red Army was marching forward into Germany. They are forty-four miles away from Berlin. The Germans continued to fight on.
Propaganda was spread that the Allies were going to take revenge. The Germans fought hard against the Soviets. The Soviets took revenge to heart and there were reprisals against the Germans. The Soviet soldiers also witnessed the high standard of living that Germans had lived. This angered the soldiers and they took brutal revenge against them. Then the Soviets discovered the concentration camps. It shocked the Soviets to see such an industrial scale of the killing. The British and the Americans thought the Soviets were exaggerating until they saw the camps for themselves.
The German soldiers rushed west to surrender to the British and Americans instead of facing the Soviet Army. The Soviets were getting close to Berlin and eventually, Berlin fell. Hitler had committed suicide and the German army surrendered.
Then the world turned toward China and Japan. Who would emerge victorious in the final stages of World War II? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
This is another good series to show in the classroom because it talks about the end of the war and the numbers involved to end the war.
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