Military history

PHOTOS

I. The German Army enters Lódz in September 1939 to an ecstatic welcome from ethnic Germans, while the city’s Polish inhabitants look silently on.

2. Redrawing the racial map of Europe: ethnic Germans from Lithuania cross the border with Germany at Eydtkau in East Prussia in February 1941, entering the Reich under a banner bidding them ‘Welcome to Greater Germany’.

3. Polish Jews are assembled for road-sweeping duties by German troops, September 1939.

4. German air force troops round up a group of terrified Jews in the diarist Zygmunt Klukowski’s home town of Szczebrzeszyn.

5. This still from I Accuse (1941), directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner, shows the concert pianist Hanna Heyt, who is suffering from multiple sclerosis, asking her friend Dr Lang for advice; his opposition to assisted suicide is used as a foil for the film’s justification of the killing of the incurably ill.

6. An assassination attempt that failed: the destruction caused in a Munich beer-cellar on the evening of 8 November 1939 by a bomb planted by the lone left-winger Georg Elser. Hitler left the hall shortly before the bomb went off.

7. Rudolf Hess visits the Krupp armaments factory on I May 1940, flanked by Robert Ley (left) and Alfred Krupp (right).

8. ‘The biggest traffic jam in history’: German armour squeezes through the narrow gorges of the Ardennes on its way to France on 11 May 1940.

9. Hitler, with Albert Speer (left) and Arno Breker (right), at the Trocadéro in Paris during a brief private visit to the conquered city on 28 June 1940.

10. Spying out the land: Field-Marshal Fedor von Bock (left) gauges the situation in the Crimea in May 1942, accompanied by General Fritz Lindemann.

11. Operation Barbarossa: grenadiers of the third ‘Death’s Head’ tank division drive along a dusty road near Smolensk, September 1941.

12. German soldiers burn a Ukrainian farm in September 1941 while the farmer’s wife protests in vain.

13. Atrocity tourism: German troops take snaps as an alleged partisan is hanged in a Belarussian town in January 1942.

14. Three and a third million Red Army prisoners of war died in German captivity, many of them while being transported from the front in open goods wagons like this one, photographed at Witebsk railway station on 21 September 1941: when winter set in, these wagons became death-traps.

15. Bogged down before Moscow: German soldiers try to free a car from the mud in November 1941.

16. The propaganda war against the ‘global enemy’: a Ministry of Propaganda poster shows Churchill and Stalin joining hands across the Continent in a ‘Jewish Conspiracy Against Europe’ in the summer of 1941.

17. Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller (right), Security Service boss Reinhard Heydrich (middle) and Heinrich Himmler (left), overall head of the SS, meet in November 1939 to discuss Georg Elser’s attempt on Hitler’s life.

18. Inside a women’s barracks at Auschwitz: this photograph, taken in January 1945, shortly after liberation, can only give a faint idea of the squalor and overcrowding to which the inmates were subject.

19. Camp commandant Richard Baer, camp doctor Josef Mengele and former camp commandant Rudolf Höss in relaxed mood at the SS retreat known as the ‘Sun Huts’ outside Auschwitz in 1944

20. Albert Speer demonstrates the increase in the production of artillery pieces under his management of the war economy in 1943.

21. Tiger tanks in production, summer 1943.

22. House-to-house fighting in Stalingrad at the end of 1942; but where have the houses gone?

23. The face of defeat: a German soldier is taken prisoner at Stalingrad in January 1943.

24. The long march into captivity: German soldiers pass before the ruined city of Stalingrad, January 1943.

25. Germany in flames: Allied air-raids on Hamburg in July and August 1943 destroyed a large part of the city and killed 40,000 of its inhabitants. When this photo was taken, on 2 December 1943, all that remained of much of the city was dust and rubble.

26. Strategic bombing caused widespread disruption of communications: a photo of Hamburg’s main railway station not long after the raids.

27. General Gotthard Heinrici (right) and Field-Marshal Günther von Kluge (left) plan the next retreat.

28. Red Army soldiers advancing on Warsaw in August 1944 pursue German troops running away from their shattered tank.

29. V-I pilotless bombs sometimes carried propaganda leaflets such as this: the message on the reverse told Londoners that they were being ‘continually blasted day and night by those mysterious flying meteors’. ‘What good are all your planes, warships and tanks against that new German weapon?’ it asked.

30. The gates of hell: workers going through the entrance to the underground factory where the V-2 rockets were made in the later stages of the war.

31. Hitler with officers of the 9th Army on a brief visit to Wriezen, behind the Oder front, 3 March 1945. With him, standing in the front row, from left: Wilhelm Berlin, Robert Ritter von Greim, Franz Reuss, Job Oderbrecht and Theodor Busse.

32. The German ‘Dad’s Army’: not all members of the ‘People’s Storm’ were as smartly dressed and well equipped as in this photograph taken in Hamburg on 29 October 1944, though many of them were probably as short-sighted.

33. The young were drafted in to the ‘People’s Storm’ as well: Joseph Goebbels meets a teenage soldier at Lauban, Lower Silesia, in March 1945.

34. Hermann Goring breakfasting in his Nuremberg cell on 26 November 1945. He committed suicide rather than face the hangman.

35. Joachim von Ribbentrop contemplates his fate in the same prison. He was sentenced to death and hanged.

36. Berlin’s Tauentzienstrasse after the end of the war, with the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm church in the background. The absence of able-bodied men meant that the responsibility for clearing the wreckage fell mainly to civilian women. The signs on the left mark the border between the British-occupied sector and the US sector of the city.

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