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Definition: Blitzkrieg from Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable

(German, 'lightning war'). A concentrated military offensive designed to produce a knockout blow. The term was particularly applied to the attacks by Hitler's Germany on various European countries between 1939 and 1941. In 1940 in western Europe the Germans captured Copenhagen on 9 April, Oslo on 10 April, The Hague on 14 May, Brussels on 17 May and Paris on 14 June, resulting in the British withdrawal at Dunkirk. See also D-Day.


Summary Article: Blitzkrieg from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Swift military campaign, as used by Germany at the beginning of World War II (1939–41). It was characterized by rapid movement by mechanized forces, supported by tactical air forces acting as ‘flying artillery’ and is best exemplified by the campaigns in Poland in 1939 and France in 1940.

The abbreviated Blitz was applied to the attempted saturation bombing of London by the German air force between September 1940 and May 1941.

A link can be seen between the Nazi ideology of total control over all aspects of society with no potential for resistance and the tactic of Blitzkrieg used during World War II.

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the German military understood that a large part of the failure of Germany to win during World War I had been their inability to inflict a full defeat and occupy their opponents following a German military victory. Russia only signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, Austro-Hungary, and their allies in March 1918 because the Bolsheviks had taken control in the Russian Revolution (1917).

Therefore, using the new technologies of tanks in the Wehrmacht (German army) and aeroplanes in the Luftwaffe (German air Force), a new set of tactics was devised in the 1930s to enable Nazi Germany to crush its victims as quickly as possible. Poland was the first to feel the full force of this tactic in September 1939, and it was defeated in less than two weeks. Once an enemy's armed forces had been obliterated, the Nazis were able to conquer and occupy the country with relative ease.

The idea of resistance was unacceptable to Hitler, and he sought to suppress it at every turn. With the ruthlessly efficient tactic of Blitzkrieg, war became an extension of his ability to be totally powerful within Germany.

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

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