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The German Plan to Destroy French Culture – The Occupation of France – WW2 – 066 – November 30, 1940

November 30, 1940 Their leaders have been so full of confidence
and so sure of victory, but that confidence does not ensure victory, and this week both
the Italians and the Japanese fail. I’m Indy Neidell; this is World War Two. Last week the Greek counteroffensive against
the Italians continued to gain ground, but the Italians suddenly gained more allies as
several nations became Axis Powers. And the Chinese detected a buildup of Japanese
forces in Hubei Province. This week that build up becomes an attack. In the Yicheng and Sha regions of Hubei province
against Chinese Nationalist and guerrilla forces. This is the Central Hubei Operation, codenamed
Han River Operation to the Japanese. The attack is launched the morning of the
25th and the Japanese break through in several places. They do a lot of damage, but the Chinese know
the local mountainous terrain and by the 26th are slowing the Japanese down. A Chinese counterattack the 27th forces the
Japanese back in several places, and the 28th Japanese Commander Waichiro Sonobe orders
his forces back to their starting points. The Japanese lose a lot of men in the retreat,
until air cover can arrive and put a stop to that. The whole operation- a failure for the Japanese-
is finished by the 30th with some 5,000 Japanese soldiers killed and 7-8,000 wounded. I don’t have numbers for the Chinese. There are Japanese sources that claim the
operation was actually a probe to find Tang Enbo’s forces. They do not succeed in this if it is in fact,
the purpose of the operation. One thing that was supposed to happen was
a Japanese victory right when Japan finally recognizes Wang Jingwei’s puppet Nanking
government as the Chinese government on the 30th. That would mess with Chinese morale. Instead, the Japanese get the opposite. But Greek morale is certainly getting a boost,
as their counteroffensive continues gaining ground. I’ve talked a bit about it the past couple
weeks, but I never went over the Greek order of battle, so here it is in general. 8 infantry divisions, 2 infantry brigades,
and a cavalry division take part in the counter offensive. In the west is the 1st Corps, in the center
the 2nd Corps in the mountains, and then the 5th and 3rd Corps to the North in Western
Macedonia. The Greek Army lacks tanks and anti-tank weaponry,
so a standard tactic is to stick to the mountain ridges and avoid descending into valleys whenever
possible. The ultimate goal of the counter offensive
is the port of Valona. Capturing this would leave the Italians with
only one Albanian port from which to reinforce their army. But just as the Italian advance in the first
place was a logistical nightmare, the further the Greeks advance toward and into Albania,
the more it becomes one for them, even as the Italian lines now grow shorter and more
stable. So the plan is for the TSDM- the Western Macedonia
Section- to hold their positions and apply some pressure, and the 1st Corps to try to
advance up the coast. 2nd Corps is to be the pivot and maintain
the link between flanks. So this week, 1st Corps is moving into Albania
along the Drinos River while 2nd Corps is moving towards Fräsher. The 13th division, with the 3rd Corps, takes
Pogradec the 30th with no opposition, as the Greeks keep pushing on. I’ve mentioned that Hitler has been worried
that Greece would give the British bases from which they could bomb the Romanian oil fields-
a big source of German oil- but he has other worries too here. What if Greece should win? And what if Greece and its ally Britain consolidate
that victory in the Balkans? After all, the only sort of enemy Britain
has had in the region is Bulgaria, who’d been an enemy in WW1, but they’re trying
to stay uninvolved. And Greece and Yugoslavia provide nearly half
the aluminum ore used by Germany industry, Yugoslavia 90% of the tin, and nearly half
of the lead. What if all that came under threat from British
bombers, or possibly worse- British diplomacy? Heck, Britain’s support for Slavic independence
in 1918 and 19 is partly responsible for Yugoslavia’s existence. What would that then mean for Hitler’s war
plans? Likely nothing good. So there are wheels within wheels here. It’s also interesting to see Hitler’s
thoughts about enemies he’d already defeated, for example, France. Now, we saw last month that Hitler was interested
in getting Vichy France to maybe actively join the war against Britain, much as he was
trying the same with neutral Spain as well. He’d even met with French leader Philippe
Petain. But Hitler was reluctant to make any actual
concessions and was suspicious of the French, even though there were plenty in the German
army, navy, and diplomatic service that were all for some sort of accommodation. But by now there is more reluctance than ever
on the FRENCH side. See, Vichy leaders, maybe even more so than
German leaders, had been certain Britain would be defeated, and it is now obvious that isn’t
going to happen any time soon. Okay, so…? So… even though American aid to Britain
is more of a stream than a river at this point, it is also pretty obvious that is going to
change, and the High Command in Vichy France, whatever they think of Britain, does not want
to find itself in an open war against the United States. The Germans, of course, only make any sort
of accommodation that much harder by going out of their way to be jerks to the French
rather than making any concessions that might possibly win them over. There was the imposition of huge financial
burdens as reparations, the day to day treatment of the French citizens and especially the
French shopkeepers and food and drink establishments, and Germany still keeps most of the 1.5 million
French POWs as POWs, which leads to the question of who the French would use to fight the British
if they are ever so inclined to do so. And this week on the 28th, the German Ministry
of Propaganda sends a note to Otto Abertz, German Ambassador in Paris, “The result
of our victorious struggle should be to smash French predominance in cultural propaganda,
in Europe, and in the world.” Any support given to French culture is a crime
against the German nation. So you may wonder why Hitler even keeps Vichy
France independent in the first place. Well, since Germany does not have naval superiority,
it is the only practical way to try and keep the French colonies from being used by the
enemy. But I’ll peer a few days into the future
now and say that already in December, Operation Attila- plans to occupy Vichy France- are
being drawn up, just in case. Another operation is happening this week,
though- Operation Collar. Three British merchantmen sail from Gibraltar
with supplies for Malta and Alexandria without a loss. This is the first time it’s merchant ships
and not warships doing the transport on what Mussolini called “the Italian Lake”. Or is that what really happened? See, that is what David Somerville says. Other sources say that the convoy is escorted
by the cruisers Manchester and Southampton and eventually the destroyer Hotspur. Further north, the British do have a strong
force in the waters- Force H, which we’ve seen before. This is under James Somerville, and they do
battle with the Italian navy the 27th at the Battle of Spartivento. The Italians under Admiral Inigo Campioni-
and I cannot hear that name without thinking of the Princess Bride- have two battleships,
6 heavy cruisers, and 14 destroyers. The British match them in destroyers, and
have a battleship, a battle cruiser, a heavy cruiser and five light cruisers, and some
smaller ships. The British do also have an aircraft carrier,
which is an advantage, but the Italians have larger and longer range guns, which is one
to them. Campioni has orders, however, to avoid a decisive
battle unless he has big odds in his favor, so there is only a brief firefight and one
British cruiser and one Italian destroyer are damaged. Also in the Mediterranean this week, on the
26th, aircraft from the carrier Eagle attack Tripoli, and ones from the carrier Illustrious
attack Rhodes. And to the south east there is news from Egypt. This month, the British crypto-analysts working
in Cairo at the Combined Middle East Bureau, which is the Bletchley Park station there,
break the ciphers of the Italian High Command. So Italian plans and maneuvers all over Africa
are now read basically as soon as they are issued. And there are notes from all over Europe this
week. Rioting and Civil disturbances begin in Romania
the 27th. It begins after the Jilava Massacre the night
before when 64 political prisoners at Jilava penitentiary are killed by the Iron Guard. The 27th the Guard arrests and executes prominent
figures including former PM Nicolae Iorga. The army clamps down and quiets things eventually
with some German help, but here’s the thing- the Iron Guard did this independently of Conducator-
national leader- Ion Antonescu, and we are now seeing an escalating power struggle between
him and the Iron Guard under Horia Sima. On the 28th in Germany comes the premiere
of yet another rabidly anti-Semitic film, The Eternal Jew. This film is presented as a documentary, though
it is no such thing. And with a massive Luftwaffe bombing raid
on Liverpool the 29th, and one on Southampton the 30th, the week comes to an end. Along with the Han River Offensive, though
the Greek counter offensive does not end at all. Nor do British convoy and escort actions in
the Mediterranean. Things aren’t looking so good for the Axis
this particular week- being pushed back in both Greece and China. And those invasions and those attacks were
supposed to be so easy, since, you know, the invaders just knew that they were better people,
better armies. It becomes so monotonous since we’ve seen
it time and again in both this world war and the last one that you’d think people would
wise up- hubris never leads where you think it will. If you’d like to see how Romania and other
nations struggled with Fascist movements in the 1930’s, you can check out our 1932 video
on the “Rise of Fascism” right here. Coming soon. Our Patreon of the week is Donn Mershon – it
is thanks to Patreons like Donn that we can cover the war in its entirety even as it expands
to newer and newer places, so be sure to join the TimeGhost Army on or Click the be

2 Replies to “The German Plan to Destroy French Culture – The Occupation of France – WW2 – 066 – November 30, 1940”

  • Early on in this series we realised that colorised portraits do a great job of humanising the main characters of the war. This is why we make a big effort to have every single portrait we used colorised. We have an ever growing team of amazing volunteers who do this for us on a weekly basis. All of them have their own Facebook and Instagram pages where they showcase all of their work (not just portraits). Make sure to follow them, I promise you won't be disappointed. Here is a list of our most active volunteers:

    – Julius Jääskeläinen –
    – Adrien Fillon –
    – Dememorabilia –
    – Teppeny –
    – Oleg M –


    STAY CIVIL AND POLITE we will delete any comments with personal insults, or attacks.
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  • Quick, everyone what's your favorite ww2 UK US German fighters and bombers
    UK spitfire, Lancaster
    US P51, B17
    Ger FW190, HE111

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