THE SECOND WORLD WAR March 1940

THE SECOND WORLD WAR March 1940
Adolf Hitler directed his generals, on the 1st March 1940, to plan the invasion of Denmark and Norway.
On the 3rd March 1940, the Soviet army attacked Viipuri in Finland which was a suburb of Vyburg and established a beachhead on the Western Gulf of Vyburg. The Soviets declined the offer of the Finnish proposal for an armistice on the 5th March 1940. The Soviets wished to keep the pressure on the Finnish government and a peace delegation was hastily dispatched to Moscow via Stockholm arriving in Moscow on the 7th March 1940. As the Soviet military was in a strong and improving position the Soviet government made further demands to which the Finns had little choice but to accept the terms. The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed on the 12th March 1940 in Moscow. The ceasefire took effect the following day.
With a large proportion of food imported into Britain from across the world, on the 11th March 1940 the British Ministry of Food extended their rationing system. The extension went on to include meat, cheese, milk and eggs in addition to the rationing of basic foods from the 7th January 1940.
During an air raid on the 16th March 1940, thirty-two German Junkers Ju 88 dive bombers attacked the Royal Naval Base at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. One of the bombs hit HMS Norfolk and blew a hole below the water line. There were 6 sailors killed and James Isbister was the first British civilian killed in the nearby village of Bridge of Waithe when a German bomb hit his house.
On the 18th March 1940, the fascist dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass on the Austrian border. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss when Italy would join in the war against Britain and France. Hitler gave details of his planned invasion of Europe but did not disclose his intension with regard to Denmark and Norway. Mussolini promised, once it became obvious the German offensive proved to be victorious, that Italy would enter the war “at an appropriate moment”.
When Édouard Daladier lost the position of prime minister of France on the 21st March 1940, Paul Reynaud was elected as the new Prime Minister. As an opponent of appeasement Reynaud became a strong supporter of the military ideas of Charles De Gaulle. At a meeting with the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain a week later in London on the 28th March 1940, both men signed a joint declaration that the two countries would not sign a separate peace Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
On the 30th March 1940 the Reorganised National Government of the Republic of China was formed. In reality it was only a puppet regime of Japan whose advisors had extensive powers following the Second Sino-Japanese War.
On the 30th March 1940, Britain undertook secret reconnaissance flights inside the Soviet Union to photograph the Soviet Oil Industry. The photographs were to assist the bombing plan which would destroy the Soviet oil industry, causing the collapse of the economy thus depriving Germany of Soviet oil resources. The plan was devised after the Anglo-French alliance came to the conclusion that the Nazi-Soviet pact signed in Moscow would make the Soviet Union the ally of Hitler.

THE SECOND WORLD WAR February 1940

THE SECOND WORLD WAR February 1940
Japan’s military had a strong influence on Japanese society since the days of the Samurai. On the 1st February 1940 the Japanese government announced that over half of its record high expenditure would be on the military. Before the Second World War, as Japan possessed very few natural resources, the Japanese had built an extensive empire in order to import raw materials essential to its economy. They regarded the military as essential to the empire’s defence.
Norway had favourable trade agreements with Britain and France, as well as with Germany. Both Norway and Finland were neutral countries with Norway having a long western coastline giving access to the North Sea and North Atlantic. On the 5th February 1940, Britain and France decided to intervene in Norway in order to cut off the iron ore in anticipation of the expected German occupation. They were also keen to keep the route open for access to Finland. The operation was scheduled to commence about the 20th March 1940. On the 21st February 1940, German General Nicolaus von Falkenhorst was informed by Adolf Hitler he would be the ground commander for the German invasion of Norway. He would need a basic plan for the invasion which Hitler approved when submitted.
Erich von Manstein was a German General who was given command of the German 38th Army Corp, on the 9th February 1940. Manstein had devised an invasion into France through the Ardennes Forest but the German High Command disagreed with his plan. They wished to implement their own proposals, which was a modified version of the Great War’s Schlieffen Plan. This disagreement was followed by his transfer from the High Command’s Headquarters. Adolf Hitler however, was seeking a more aggressive plan and Manstein presented his proposals for the invasion of France on the 17th February 1940.
The German – Soviet Commercial Agreement was signed on the 10th February 1940. The agreement was an economic arrangement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Soviet Union agreed to sell and deliver to Germany such commoditize as oil, raw materials and grain.
On the 15th February 1940, the Soviet Army broke through the Mannerheim Line and captured Summa, an important defence point in Finland. The Mannerheim Line was a defensive border fortification built by Finland against the Soviet Union, and on the 17th February 1940 the Finns continued to retreat from the Mannerheim Line.
World opinion supported the Finnish cause in the struggle against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1940. British civilians were asked to volunteer, on the 14th February 1940, to provide material aid such as medical supplies. Britain and France sold aircraft to the Finnish air force and the British government provided small arms and ammunition.
On the 15th February 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered unrestricted U-boat warfare in an effort to blockade England of the supplies transported across the Atlantic from America. It was hoped that Germany could sink sufficient ships and starve the British nation into suing for peace.
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