Saturday, June 28, 2014

Movie Review: Apocalypse: The Second World War: Crushing Defeat

This movie continues the world war documentary which was originally produced in France using colorized original footage.  It was presented in the U.S. first by The National Geographic Channel.  This second episode takes us through the conquering of Poland, and the destruction of the French army.  The result of the fall of Poland was the creation of Jewish slums in most major cities where the Jews were required to live.  In many communities, such as Warsaw, these were surrounded by fences and food was not allowed into the slums.  I guess the first tactic was hope everyone would starve to death.
The fall of France was very interesting, and admittedly was a strategic success for the Germans.  The French expected the Germans to attack through Belgium as they had done in the first World War.  These was the area least defended.  The French had constructed a very lard defensive barrier which stopped at Belgium, who as a neutral country would not allow it.  Also to attack elsewhere the Germans would have to get through the thick forest Ardennes.
Hitler made an initial move like he was attacking through Belgium, and allowed the French to push him back, and thus exposing their flank.  The major thrust of his attack came through the Ardennes.  They were able to overcome the defenses which were less than adequately manned.  The French and British forces were facing being surrounded.  The British commanded that their expeditionary force be evacuated.  Every vessel available in England was sent to evacuate their forces, as well as French forces.  While other French forces were left to defend Dunkirk, thus becoming an expendable rear guard.
The German forces also had the luxury of  air superiority.  They used their planes to stop fleeing refugees, as well as control supply.  They also used them to attack vessels that were fleeing to England.  Some were sunk, but most did survive.
I had always thought from talk radio that the French did not but up much of a fight.  However it was the force at Dunkirk that allowed many to escape.  As a result of the Battle for France over 100,000 French soldiers killed.  Over a million soldiers were captured, and would rot in German POW camps for the next five years.
This episode shows how the British attacked a French fleet, now under control of the French Vichy government which was a puppet German government.   The reason Churchill would send his force against a former ally was to prevent their being used for a cross channel invasion of England. 
The Battle of Britain began then with Hitler trying to win the battle from the air.  The Royal Air Force was devastated.  The lost almost 500 planes and were about at their end.  However the Nazis lost 1000.  Hitler decided to change tactics, and bomb the British cities into submission.  Although this was tragic, the British citizens made bomb shelters in their gardens, or slept in the subways, but still went to work the next day.  The children where sent away.  Had Hitler continued his fight against the British Air Force, we would have defeated them.  However, in focusing on the cities, he gave the air force a chance to regroup.

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