Apocalypse: The Second World War - 1/6 - Aggression (1933--1939) HD

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Apocalypse The Second World War
Aggression (1933--1939)
Berlin - 1945
Europe has been freed from The Nazis' reign of terror.
The Red Army is waging its final battles.
Captain Joseph Prautof, A Russian officer:
the hate ran so deep...
we wanted to end the war, and nighly that force that wanted to kill us...
finish it off, once and for all.
Hitler's days are numbered.
He leaves his bunker for one final bit of showmanship,
as seen in this propaganda film.
Is there still a soldier, or a child, willing to die for him?
The war left some 50 million dead.
most of them innocent civilians.
For the women of Germany, the ordeal would continue
even after the cannons have gone silent.
The book "A Woman in Berlin" is a deeply disturbing account
of the Russians rape of German women in 1945.
They grab me and throw me down.
I'm lying with my head on the steps.
I see one of the soldiers keeping watch, while the other rips off my under clothes.
and brutally forces himself on me.
But then we'd say, better to have a Russian on your belly,
then an American over your head.
This German woman was referring to the Allied bombers, that pounded her city into ruins.
The Kurfurstendam, Berlin's most fashionable avenue.
13 years earlier, the showcase of Germany.
A nation still plagued by crisis.
A monument commemorating the millions of victims
of the First World War.
Marlene Dietrich is singing "The Blue Angel" in Berlin - Alexanderplatz.
Thomas Mann is savoring his Noble Prize for Literature.
in the shade of the linden trees, of Avenue Unter den Linden.
Berlin is major cultural center of Europe,
one of the most open and tolerant cities in the world.
Then in 1933, all that changes.
Through intimidation, demagoguery, and exploiting the bitterness of the German veterans.
Hitler and his armed malicious, like the SA with their hymn, the "Horst Wessel Lied",
seized control of Germany.
The Nazis take advantage of the fact that the German Left is splinted.
And it even seems like Hitler with his raised fist,
revolutionary salute, wants to get on *****
German Communists take their orders from Moscow,
which view the social democrats as the true enemy.
No alliance is possible between them.
So for the last time, German Communists sing "De Internazionale".
Hitler comes to power legally on January 30th, 1933.
Within a few months, his dictatorship is firmly in place.
He becomes The "Fuhrer" - The Leader.
His supporters rise and chant: "Heil Hitler!"
However, not all Germans are totally convinced, so again and again,
Hitler hammers home his simplistic, nationalist slogans:
Before us lies Germany
Within us Germany is stirring
Behind us, All Germany is following
And he eventually wins more and more people over,
for he has a remarkable power of persuasion over the masses.
But what does Hitler want?
In his book "Mein Kampf" - My Struggle, He clearly states what he calls his mission.
Being one of the imbedded veteran of the First World War, his mission will be to destroy France,
to wipe out the humiliation of the Versaille Treaty of 1919
that strips Germany of its army, and part of its territory.
Then, he wants to conquer what he calls "Lebensraum" - living space.
Germany has a population of 80 million, twice that of France.
He wants to make Germany "The World Power" that it deserves to be.
A pathological anti-semit,
Hitler has also taken on the mission of asserting the superiority of the Germanic Arian race.
menaced by the Jews.
For him, the Jews were the cause of the Great War,
German's defeat, inflation, unemployment.
The next war will be a war on the Jews.
They will be sent to Dachau, the first concentration camp.
Where Hitler locks up the anti-Nazis, the communist, social-democrats, 75 00:07:39,103 --> 00:07:43,851 and all those opposed to the Nazi regime.
Last lead, Hitler takes on the mission of bringing all German speaking people
into the rights fold, beginning with those of his homeland.
The Anschluss: Austria's annex,
and immediately submitted to the same reign of terror as Germany.
With the opening of one of the infamous concentration camps
at Mauthausen, near Linz.
Which country will be his next victim?
Neighboring Czechoslovakia, whether is a German population,
the Sudeten German.
But the country is recognized as an independent state, by England and France.
The clouds of war gather.
In Munich, temple of Nazism, an 11-hour peace conference is organized.
On one side, Adolf Hitler who was becoming more and more frightening.
And his ally, the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini.
Mussolini, the founder of fascism, an indoctrination of an entire nation.
From child to a Don,
On the other side, the Western democracies,
victorious but exhausted from the Great War.
Neville Chamberlain, the conservative British Prime Minister.
And the radical socialist French Premier, Edouard Daladier,
want to save the peace.
They end up accepting the unacceptable,
They give up the Czech province of Sudetenland to Hitler,
In exchange for his solemn promise to make no more claim
on another European territory.
But what is Hitler's promise worth?
Just 6 months later, he invades the rest of Czechoslovakia,
and enters Prague, accompanied by Marshall Hermann Goering.
Goering, a former First World War fighter pilot,
one of the founders of the Nazi party, is now the Air Minister.
And an ogre, trying to charm the Czech children.
Hitler no longer needs the excuse of reuniting German speaking people.
The powerful Czech industry will be working for him.
Why shouldn't he take advantage of it?
The Allies let him get away with it.
The U.S.S.R. is the last major neighboring power left to counter Hitler
It assigned a mutual assistance treaty with France.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is the official name
of communist Russia, and its satellite republics.
Manipulation of the masses in Red Square, masked the ironfisted dictatorship of Stalin
who’s also thrown million of poor wretches into his labor camps,
The Gulag
Industrialization and forced militarization, have made the U.S.S.R. a major power.
Despite their fear of communism, the Western powers rely on the U.S.S.R.
Hitler is going to beat them to the punch.
In the summer of 1939, in his Berchtesgarden chalet,
with his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop,
he prepares a blocking maneuver.
Hitler, who swore to destroy communism, sends von Robbentrop, the Nazi, to Moscow
to sign a history-making treaty with his worst enemy.
When Stalin's foreign affair minister, Molotov, signed the Germano-Soviet Pact,
communists are totally taken aback, like these French Party Members.
It's August, 1939, and people in France are enjoying their first paid holidays.
One of the major victories of the Socialist Popular Front.
One of the reasons behind this non-aggression pact.
The Soviets answer that Stalin is playing for time.
Letting Hitler and the Western powers killed each other off.
Perhaps, Stalin, who intends to grab the Baltic countries and part of Poland
even has the illusion that he could share Europe with Hitler on a permanent basis.
In 1936, the US Congress had passed the Neutrality Act,
to avoid being dragged into European war once again.
So, with nothing to fear either from the United States or from Russia,
Hitler decides to wipe out what he calls
"the worst monstrosity of The Versaille Treaty"
The Danzig Corridor.
In 1919, German territory was cut in two,
in order to give Poland access to the sea.
Hitler decides to launch his invasion off Poland and recover Danzig.
On September 1, 1939,
At 5:35 AM.
The first cannon shot of the Second World War, is fired on Danzig.
Hitler is convinced that the French and the British will not take action.
He had the two governments meet immediately, and sent him an ultimatum
demanding that he hold all military action against Poland.
Hitler declares, "Our enemies are little worms,"
and he adds, "Who wants to get bogged down in a world war for Danzig? "
September 3, 1939.
At 11 AM, The Ambassador of Great Britain in Berlin delivers a declaration of war.
At 5 PM, France declares war on Germany.
Hitler can hardly believe it.
German generals find themselves facing their worst case scenario:
war, on two fronts.
But the die is cast.
Hitler unleashes the Wehrmacht, The Armed Forces of Nazi Germany,
onto Poland.
Entering battle as if in a bygone age, the Polish cavalry charges the German tanks,
and is slaughtered.
Paris, the Gare de l'Est train station,
Many of these men had shipped out from these same platforms 25 years ago,
in a totally different atmosphere.
In August 1914, they marched off to war in high spirit
with flowers in their riffles.
But there are no flowers this time.
And no riffles.
Nobody wants to fight this war.
4 million men are mobilized.
Many of them are farmers. France is still a largely rural country.
They head for the German border on foot, with their officers following on horseback.
Army's still rely heavily on horses. And these are requisition surround the country.
Motorization is not kept up.
Gaston Chirac, a driver of one of these outdated trucks,
with solid rubber tires, recalls:
There was such a shortage of equipment. we have one riffle for two per truck
We have one box of 10 bullets, which we won't allow to open.
It was pathetic.
If we had what we needed, we'd have fought,
cause we're no a great friend of the "Bosche".
The "Bosche" was a pejorative term for the German soldiers during the previous war.
They were also called "vert-de-gris", which in French means "field gray",
the color of their uniform, which enable them to blend in with their surroundings.
But just who are these soldiers?
Let’s take for an example, one of these young German, marching as he sings:
"Our lag is waving before us, Our flag is a new age."
"Our flag is stronger than death."
His name is August von Kageneck, he writes:
I thought that the military career was the right choice. My parents thought so as well.
My father would tell me: "At least there, you can still open your mouth and say what you like,
and you don't have to do that Nazi salute. "
In September 1939, August von Kageneck is still training to become a tank commander.
He writes:
My father who is a general was telling me:
The French have 40 divisions on the border, we have 15.
All the rest of them are in Poland. 500,000 men against 200,000.
They outnumber us, 2 to 1.
French Forces attack on September 7, 1939,
4 days after declaring war.
This offensive notched to show public opinion that Poland is not being abandoned,
advances 8 km into the Saar region.
The French army's cinema department shows off the spoils of war.

The Saar offensive stops there, and degenerates into a series of skirmishes,
raids by lead commandos, led by the hero, Joseph Darnand,
who receives the citation of "Premier Soldier of France".
Later, he will become one of the most rabid collaborators with the German.
And eventually, he'll be executed after the war.
The French army, in spite of its hero and its superiority in numbers, takes no further action,
General Maurice Gamelin 67 years old,
is Commandeer-in-Chief of the Allied-Franco British Land Forces.
For the French outnumber the British,
who also thinks that this war isn't for real, and it'll all be settled soon.
Gamelin himself has no desire to re-fight the war of 1914.
He wants to avoid another blood bath, at any cost.
He considers that he needs 2 years save behind the Maginot Line,
in order to re-arm the country.
The Maginot line is the work of a former Minister of war, Andre Maginot.
This complex of fortification was meant to stop the German enemy, once and for all.
It took nearly 10 years to construct,
and swallowed up 1,5 million cubic meters of concrete,
and 150,000 tons of steel.
All these ***** are linked together by a labyrinth of tunnels, 100 km of them.
The line itself, stretch for 720 km,
from the Swiss to the Belgian borders.
The Maginot Lines ends on the foot of the Ardennes Forrest.
The French military command thought that German tanks could never cross these extremely
rough terrain.
The French didn't extend the line all the way to the sea,
because Belgium before declaring its neutrality
was an ally of France, and opposed it.
This northern part of the France is man by a French army and the British Expeditionary Forces.
Later reinforced by Canadians, and troops from the far flunk British Empire.
In Britain a popular song of the day was "The Washing on the Siegfried Line"
We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.
Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.
'Cause the washing day is here.
The Siegfried line is the string of fortifications constructed by Hitler,
facing the Maginot Line.
The Germans don't attack, they're still trying to avoid a second front.
The French, nevertheless, takes some precaution.
They evacuated the population of Alsace and  Lorraine
to the region of Perigord and Charentes in the south west.
Strasbourg, a ghost town,
abandoned by its population,
emptied off its soul
especially that of the synagogues.

On September 20, Hitler orders the bombing of Warsaw.
The city is surrounded, but still holding out.
The Fuhrer wants to strike terror into the hearts and mind not only of the Polish .
but also the French's and British' as well.
"This is what is in the store for you."
The world is horrified.
In New York, the bombing of Warsaw is up in lights in Time Square,
and on the front page of all the newspapers.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, The President of The United States addresses the nation:
This nation will remain a neutral nation,
But I cannot ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well.
Even a neutral has a right to take account of facts.
Even a neutral cannot be asked to close his mind,
or to close his conscious.
The bombing of Warsaw shows how vulnerable the cities are.
Paris sets about protecting its monuments.
and hides its museum masterpieces out in the provinces.
The Champ de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, is dug full of bomb shelters,
and there are frequent air raid drills.
Gas masks are compulsory.
Poison gases were used in the First World War, and now, everyone is afraid of them.
Even the horses.
Meanwhile, Poland, is being ruthlessly carved up.
As previously agreed with Hitler, the Soviet have invaded the eastern half of Poland.
Here, German and Soviet soldiers are fraternizing,
and in congruent side, to say the least.
The Nazis hand out flyers that read:
The German Army salutes the Red Army of workers and farmers
which is always held in the highest respect.
The Polish Army surrenders to the German, and in the east, to the Soviet.
Stalin then orders the execution of 20,000 Polish prisoners.
He wants to eliminated their leads of this country he intends to annex.
4,500 Polish officers are executed with a bullet in their head,
in the Katyn forest, near Smolensk, in Russia.
2 years later, at the Kremlin, Stalin meets with the head of the Polish Government in exile,
General Sikorski, who delivers a list of Polish missing officers.
The Soviets deny any wrong-doing.
In 1992, the president of post-Soviet Russia, Boris Yeltsin
will present the Polish president, Lech Walesa, with the original order of execution,
signed by Stalin himself.
Stalin, by occupying half of Poland,
is in fact, playing into the hands of Hitler, who needs a common border
with U.S.S.R. to facilitate his plan, to invade Russia.
Hitler and Himmler, the head of the SS, will now take care of Poland
by naming the Nazi, Hans Frank, Governor General of the Occupied Polish Provinces
who proclaims:
I have the power of life and death over the Polish people.
After the war, he will be tried in Nurenberg
and hanged for crime against humanity.
These gypsies, held in a pen, are filmed by a German.
For the Nazis, they are 'non-persons'.
The women will be forced to undergo sterilization,
because they "do not deserve to reproduce".
The Nazis declare 'open season' on gypsies.
Hundreds of thousands will be interned in concentration camps,
The ordeal of the Jewish people, begin.
The Nazis now have 3 millions of Polish Jews at their mercy.
Hitler is still uncertain about what to do with them.
As long as the war is going well for him, he considers deporting them to the east.
or even shipping them to Madagascar.
It's only when the outcome of the wars becomes less certain
that Hitler and his accomplices unleashed a frenzy of hate and murder.
"The Final Solution".
For the time being, the Jews had to be identified,
marked with the yellow star, and herded into ghettos.
Some of which, are completely walled-off.
From the diary of one of these unfortunate souls:
It's heart-rending to see the shameful scenes of violence that take place
before our eyes.
Women and the elderly, beaten right out in the street by petty thugs.
Tears come to my eyes.
All our powerlessness,
all our isolation is there to see right in the open where not a single person takes on offence.
We are so weak.
All the major cities of Poland will have their ghetto prisons
where German, Austrian, and Czech Jews will also be interned.
The Jews here still feel confidence that, perhaps someday, they'll be able to return to their home.
They don't know that they will die of hunger and cold.
They don't know that the show is about to begin.
Inhabited by Jew. No Entrance.
Warsaw, is in ruins.
Hitler comes to be filmed by a propaganda crew,
seen here traveling in a car in the background.
These victorious German soldiers march their goose step to the sound of the grenadiers' march.
But they weren't too efficient during the Polish campaign.
Poor preparation, a lack of fighting spirit, and even cases of indiscipline
are the points that the commander-in-chief, General von Brauchitsch,
dares report to the Fuhrer.
Hitler is furious, but he is immune to doubt and orders the attack to the West to be prepared.
An attack on the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
Some of his generals think its madness,
some of them begin plotting to overthrow the Fuhrer.
This is a crucial moment, the course of history lies in the balance.
November 8, 1939. Hitler narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.
It's seems that he enjoys some kind of divine protection.
When he attempts the funeral for the victims, he's no longer the same man.
His power over the army and the German people has grown even stronger.
He told to the generals:
My decision is irrevocable. I will attack France when the time is right.
I will be victorious, or die in the attempt.
Yet, Hitler is still uncertain about attacking the West, for he also says:
War is like opening the door on a dark room.
You'll never know what will happen.
Eventually, he postpones the order on the attack, and goes back to his chalet in the Alps
to join his mistress, Eva Braun.
She shot this footage of Hitler entourage
of the Reich's architect, Albert Speer, who goes for a long walk with Hitler.
Speer recalls:
Hitler wanted to re-christened Berlin, Germania.
We already had a mark up of the future, Adolf Hitler Square
with a dome, inspired by St. Peter's in Rome,
but 17 times bigger.
I said to him, "My Fuhrer, wouldn't that make an ideal target for bombers?
He answered: Not at all. Goering has assured me that
no enemy aircraft will ever fly over the Reich.
From his barrack, the future German officer, August von Kageneck, writes to his mother:
We are all eager to fight. We are ready for battle.
His mother answers:
This war is a crime, and we are going to have to pay for it.
The war then enters a new bizarre face,
The Germans call it the "Sitzkrieg", "the sitting war".
The British call it the "phoney war",
and for the French, it's "Drole de Guerre", "the funny war".
A long, strange waiting period, especially hard on the women.
For them there's not only the anguish of war, but also the survival of their family to worry about.
As in the last war, the soldiers dig in and try to make the best of things.
The French soldier, Gaston Chirac, writes to his wife:
It's 30 degrees below zero, the bread is frozen.
I'm one of the lucky ones. They gave us some straw, and with that, we can sleep better.
The winter of 1939-1940 is indeed one of the coldest of the century .
To make a bad situation worst, all the winters of this war, will be brutally cold.
The commander-in-chief, General Gamelin, is expecting the Germans to attack through Belgium
and move towards Paris across this open plain, like in 1914.
Gamelin plans to make his stand against the German, on Belgium soil.
In France, Colonel de Gaulle, a tank officer, who is beginning to make a name for himself
criticizes this strategy.
He calls it the "Maginot Lines Mentality"
which consist in waiting for the other side to make a move.
It is booked towards the professional army.
He argues in favor of taking the offensive, making massive use of tanks.
France is producing 300 tanks a month,
but they're being disperse in all the sections to back up the infantry.
French aviation has also fallen behind.
France ordered 4,000 planes from the United States.
Inspired the ever growing isolationist trend championed by Charles Lindbergh,
the hero who made the first Trans Atlantic solo flight
and now a leading proponent of the "America First" movement.
If you believe in an independent destiny for America,
if you believe that this country should not enter the war in Europe,
we ask you to join the America First Committee in its stand.
It's the isolationists' voice of America
and, of public personalities like Henry Ford, the anti-Semitic car maker,
or like Joseph Kennedy, America's ambassador in London, who is anti war.
Whereas his son, John 'the future president' Kennedy, supports European democracies.
Nazi sympathizers in America also contribute to the impassion climate
that reigns at the beginning of 1940.
In Europe, The British Union of Fascist are also quite active
up to the moment they're banned.
Oswald Mosley, "The English Fuhrer", challenges the government, right in the center of London.
He'll spend the next several years in prison.
Mosley's speeches urge people to get out on the streets, and stop the war.
But Winston Churchill has taken the reins of the British government.
Here, we see him with French general Gamelin, and Admiral Darlan
who are on an unofficial visit to London.
A Franco-British Expedition Recon, is formed to help Finland
which is being invaded by the Soviet Union.
France is preparing to send its elite soldiers, The French Foreign Legion.
For a century it has been taking in the world's reprobates, no matter what their past.
As long as it's not too 'shady'
Their headquarters, in Sidi Bel Abbes, in Algeria
now signs up a good number of Spanish Republicans.
Having fled from their country, after Franco's fascists' victory.
They now eager to fight the Nazis, who supported Franco.
They all make the long trip to France.
The Legionnaires embark at Brest, along with the well equipped "Chasseurs Alpins".
A mountain corp, trained for action in the snow.
But Finland and the Soviet Union sign a peace treaty.
A few days later, Hitler launches an offensive against Denmark and Norway.
The "Blitzkrieg", The Lightning War.
The Wehrmachts takes Oslo in 2 days.
Hitler is seeking to protect "The Iron Route".
Iron is indispensable to the German war effort,
and 50 percent of it Swedish iron ore is shipped out of the Norwegian port of Narvik.
The Franco-British Expedition Recon lands in the 'feoffee' of Narvik.
After a month of fighting, The Allies take Narvik.
The Iron Route is temporarily cut.
This victory is good for French morale and adds credence to their motto:
We will win because we are the strongest.
But the expedition recon will have to abandon Narvik,
and for the rest of the war, train load after train load of Swedish iron ore
will feed the German war machines.
The French are brought back home
for the Germans have just launched their offensive in the West.
May 9, 1940, Hitler left Berlin on his private train, code name "Amerika".
Heading west towards new headquarter near the French border.
Hitler announces:
Gentlemen, the offensive has just begun.
His generals has submitted him their battle plan during the winter.
It looks similar to that of 1914, attack through Belgium.
But Hitler preferred General von Manstein's idea.
Cutting straight through the Ardenne forest, and swinging up and driving towards the sea,
encircling the allies, with a circle cut movement.
But this circle-cut movement is, in fact, a huge gamble.
Because the Ally could turn back and counter attack.
However, Hitler is confident. He notes:
The main thing is to have a good weather.
Lieutenant August von Kageneck claims:
We are the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of greater Germany.
Victory is certain.
For the German soldiers, their homeland is in danger.
After all it was the French who declared war on Germany.
May 10, 1940. At dawn, German parachuters make a jump over Holland.
Their mission is to capture the air fields and bridges around Rotterdam.
At the same time, Hitler unleashes his war machines on Belgium.
Hitler waits.
Will The Allies fall into the trap?