Defeat Of France, Belgium And Holland: 1940 (LARGE IMAGES)

France was no mean power in 1940. But its defences collapsed like a pack of cards under the ruthless German offensive in May 1940. The British too had to hastily retreat from France. It left the world stunned. Why? Poor leadership both political and military. The Germans had provided a trailer in September 1939 in Poland. But the British and French learnt nothing. Blitzkrieg overwhelmed them. Below are some images of the defeat of France, Holland and Belgium in 1940.
 May 1940. German soldiers watch as a heavily bombed Rotterdam burns
 French soldiers industriously load a 220 mm artillery shell. But it was to be of no avail

A formation of German bombers, Dornier Do.17Z, flying over France, June 21, 1940.
 British bombs fall on German held French airport at Abbeville. June 1940

 Rotterdam in Holland burns

 A devastated Rotterdam. Germany saw such bombing on its towns by the Allies later in the war. Dresden was reduced to rubble in 1944.

The German ultimatum ordering the Dutch commander of Rotterdam to cease fire was delivered to him at 10:30 am on May 14, 1940. At 1:22 pm, German bombers set the whole inner city of Rotterdam ablaze, killing 30,000 of its inhabitants.

 The center of Rotterdam. destroyed. May 14, 1940 . The Luftwaffe razed it to the ground, one day after killing 900 and leaving 80,000 homeless in the largest port of the world then. Unable to break the resistance of the Dutch (who did not have any tanks or aircraft) on the ground, the Germans destroyed it from the air. In history the massacre has remained under the name of Rotterdam Blitz. The Germans made it clear that they would not stop. So to save Amsterdam and The Hague, the Netherlands capitulated.
It is surprising two of the highest building in Rotterdam - The White House and the Church of St. Lawrence were least affected.

Rotterdam again

 France was no more. A German officer with Spanish border guards at the France-Spain border. 1940

 May 25, 1940. A French tank moves to the front line

 Morose French POW of the colonial units
 German soldiers march on the streets of Paris

 Belgium. A broken down German tank is hooked to another tank to be towed away.

 Hitler poses against the Eiffel Tower. June 23, 1940

 Hitler shakes hands with Marshal Petain, the ruler of the German puppet Vichy regime

CBS correspondent, William Shirer files his report after France surrendered to Germany. In the background is the house that housed the railway car, in which was signed Armistice (November 11, 1918) so hated by all Germans. The car was then taken to Germany, where it was destroyed during a bombing raid.

The family of Belgian refugees in a tandem bike on the road to France
Tearful Belgian men big goodbye to the men going to the front. May 11, 1940

A British artillery in Belgian. May 30, 1940

The British infantry crosses the border of Belgium, near Roubaix May 10, 1940

A Dutch officer talks with the German. One of them is mighty amused at the conversation. Holland fell on May 14, 1940
 Exhausted Belgian troops on the road of Leuven, Brussels. 1940. All European armies except the British, used a large number of horses in 1940.
French prisoner-of-war in a makeshift camp. Summer 1940

German soldiers cross the river Maas (Meuse). May 14, 1940

 French refugees in the region of Leuven. May 1940

Refugees killed by a German air raid in France. The image was taken by German soldiers

 German soldiers in France. 1940

Stuka dive bombers (Ju 87 B2) in the French skies.

 A German tank burns in France

 Calais station. Destroyed British and French military vehicles

Captured vehicles being sent to Germany by train

 Dead french soldiers

French soldiers carry a wounded comrade in a Belgian city. 1940

German infantry in a Belgian street

 Dead British soldiers

 French POW of different nationalities
 French POW sit by the roadside

 French soldiers surrender. 1940

 The German flag flies over Paris

 Germans march in Paris

 Germans in the Belgian town of Bruget. May 6, 1940
 Luftwaffe Air Corps motorcyclist. In West Flanders, Belgium
 Heaps of French helmets. Stalingrad saw a similar scene 3 years later. Only they were German helmets.

The German general Fedor von Bock, and French General Henri Fernand Denz during peace talks in Paris on 14 June 1940....

The following images show French soldiers, POW belonging to a proud country, now defeated, walking in captivity...One feels seeing these images must hurt a Frenchman even today.

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito