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Hitler’s Juggernaut


Hitler's juggernaut invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and another World War began. The rapidity with which Poland fell to the invaders, largely due to the Luftwaffe, had a stunning effect upon many Americans. What little lethargy remained was shattered in April-June 1940 when Norway, Holland, Belgium and France fell before the Nazis, leaving the British Isles as the Free World's only bastion in Western Europe. In but a few months, the words Stuka and Blitzkrieg became commonplace in the English language, feared symbols of supposedly invincible Nazi military strength.

The Luftwaffe then directed its attention across the English Channel and attempted to bomb the British into submission. During the Battle of Britain, which took place from Aug. 8, 1940, to the spring of 1941, the Luftwaffe suffered such heavy losses that it finally was forced to call off its concentrated air offensive.

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.