Q3. The German blitzkrieg made Germany the supreme power for a period. Comment
Germany launched her invasion of Norway and Denmark on 9 April 1940 and within three weeks completed the conquest of these two countries. In Norway, the German invaders were helped by Quisling, leader of Norway’s fascist party, who set up a puppet government in Norway under German occupation.
In early May began the invasion of Belgium and Holland which was completed before the end of May. Soon the German armies marched into France and by 14 June 1940, the capital city of Paris had fallen into German hands almost without a fight. In the meantime, Italy also had joined the war on the side of her ally, Germany. On 22 June 1940, the French government surrendered and signed a truce with Germany according to which about half of France was occupied by Germany. The remaining part remained under the French government which was required to disband the French army and provide for the maintenance of the German army in France. The French government which had surrendered to Germany ruled from Vichy. With the defeat of France, Germany became the supreme power over the continent of Europe. The war conducted by Germany with great speed and force is known as blitzkrieg which means a ‘lightning war’.
Britain was the only major power left in Europe after the fall of France and believed that Britain would surrender soon as she was without any allies in Europe. German air force began bombing raids on Britain in August 1940 with the aim of terrorizing her into surrender. The battle that ensued is known as the Battle of Britain. The Royal Air Force of Britain played a heroic role in its defence against air raids and conducted air raids on German territories in retaliation. The Prime Minister of Britain during the war years was Winston Churchill. Under his leadership, the people of Britain successfully resisted the German air raids with courage and determination.
In the meantime, Italy had started military operations in North Africa. She also invaded Greece, but the Italian attack in both the areas was repulsed. However, Germany succeeded in capturing the Balkans —Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and also large parts of North Africa.