Wednesday, March 16, 2016

September 27, 1939: Hitler Decides to Invade France

Wednesday 27 September 1939

September 27, 1939: Polish troops in Warsaw.
German Military Operations: The Polish government in Warsaw concludes a cease-fire agreement with the Germans surrounding the city. All fighting ends as the two sides negotiate capitulation terms.

German High Command: With the lightning campaign in Poland concluded, and given the collaboration of the Soviet Union, Hitler decides that it is time to plan the Wehrmacht's next step. He tells his three service commanders (Hermann Goering of the Luftwaffe, Admiral Raeder of the Kriegsmarine, and General von Brauchistsch of the Heer) that it is his "unalterable will" that the army quickly invades France. His plan is to bypass the French Maginot Line along the German border by violating the neutrality of the low countries with the forces at hand. The invasion is to take place within weeks, with an initial start date of 15 October 1939.

The plan later acquires the operational code "Fall Gelb" (Plan Yellow). The enterprise is extremely sketchy and will require elaborate planning and study. The service chiefs are both pessimistic and offended, as the tradition of the German state heretofore has been for the head of state to assign an objective and the General Staff to fill in all of the details, including timing and strategy. OKH Chief of Staff Franz Halder tells his boss, Walther von Brauchitsch, that he will resign in protest, but the latter talks him out of it. The military experts are fully aware of the thin breadth of the Wehrmacht, which only has been re-arming for about five years and requires more arms and training to reach full effectiveness. Hitler, though, is a gambler and feels that the Generals are "cowards." Their caution reinforces his growing dislike bordering on hatred of the Generals as a class.

This is the first instance of Hitler unilaterally deciding on extremely risky military ventures or strategy on his own initiative. It will become a standard occurrence. Sometimes the ventures will work out well, other times they will be disastrous. Fall Gelb will remain at the top of the priority list throughout the autumn.

Hitler confers with Keitel, Halder and von Brauchitsch, here on the occasion of the last's 60th birthday in 1941.

September 1939

September 1, 1939: Invasion of Poland
September 2, 1939: Danzig Annexed
September 3, 1939: France, Great Britain Declare War
September 4, 1939: First RAF Raid
September 5, 1939: The US Stays Out
September 6, 1939: Battle of Barking Creek
September 7, 1939: Polish HQ Bugs Out
September 8, 1939: War Crimes in Poland
September 9, 1939: The Empire Strikes Back
September 10, 1939: The Germans Break Out
September 11, 1939: Battle of Kałuszyn
September 12, 1939: The French Chicken Out
September 13, 1939: The Battle of Modlin
September 14, 1939: Germany Captures Gdynia
September 15, 1939: Warsaw Surrounded
September 16, 1939: Battle of Jaworów
September 17, 1939: Soviets Invade Poland
September 18, 1939: Lublin Falls
September 19, 1939: Germans, Soviets Hook Up
September 20, 1939: the Kraków Army Surrenders
September 21, 1939: Romania Convulses
September 22, 1939: Joint Soviet-German Military Parade
September 23, 1939: The Panama Conference
September 24, 1939: The Luftwaffe Bombs Warsaw
September 25, 1939: Black Monday for Warsaw
September 26, 1939: Warsaw on the Ropes
September 27, 1939: Hitler Decides to Invade France
September 28, 1939: Warsaw Capitulates
September 29, 1939: Modlin Fortress Falls
September 30, 1939: Graf Spee on the Loose


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