Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Max Gallo

Reactions of world leaders to Pearl Harbor attack by Imperialist Japan on Dec. 7, 1941?

On Dec. 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) and destroyed half the US naval fleet. The two airplane carriers Lexington and Enterprise were saved: They were transporting airplanes to the islands of Guam, Wake and Midway. Admiral Kimmel decided that the fleet would be safer in Hawaii. since the plane carriers were not able to cover their movements.

All these countries had efficient decoding means of secret messages and orders, and Japan knew that the US has decided to protect its colonies in the Far East, particularly the Philippines, and to check Japan’s territory expansion.

The US had started in earnest, even before WWII started, to relocate many navy shipbuilding facilities to the west coast, particularly in Los Angeles.

Four weeks ago, Germany encouraged Japan to declare war on the US as it evaluated that Roosevelt is doing his best to fail all negotiations.

1. Churchill was following the development on the Russian front and harassing the British generals in Libya: “You are not audacious enough to engage Rommel…”.

This morning, after hearing the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Churchill is hopping like a kid and wants to immediately be connected to Roosevelt.

Sure,  the Russians are inflicting 95% of all German casualties, but the US engagement in the war is a definite victory. Churchill is behaving years younger: “The destiny of Nazi Germany is now sealed, and Mussolini is done with. Japan will be reduced to dust…”

Churchill is already viewing himself as the pivot of the Great Alliance.  De Gaulle beg to differ: Churchill will be at the beck of Roosevelt who will barely suffer Churchill’s decisions.

Churchill set sail on Dec. 12 to meet with Roosevelt: His strategy is to convince Roosevelt that the primary enemy is still Germany, and the Atlantic Ocean the main battlefield

2. Stalin does not show his jubilation and deep relief.  His is anxious that the US military supplies will now be delayed in order to check Japan’s expansion in the Pacific. Stalin wants also to remind Roosevelt that Germany is the main enemy., and is harassing England to open a second front in the Balkans or in France to give Russia a breathing space…

3. De Gaulle learns the news on the radio in his British house of Ellesmere.  He is saying to Dewavrin (nicknamed Passy): “Now the war is definitely won. The future is preparing two phases:

1.  How to save Germany after the war by the allies, and

2. A potential global war between the US and the Soviet Union.  The US might be defeated in that challenge if it fails to take the necessary timely measures.

4. Mussolini was ecstatic this time around: The invasion of Russia however disturbed Mussolini greatly, especially that Hitler warned him only half an hour before the incursion. Mussolini had said then: “I wish this time that the Russian would give him a good lesson. I should be fortifying the Italian borders against the inevitable German occupation of Italy. But it is too late: When among the wolves, all you can do is howl like them…”

Note: Extracts from the French book “1941: The world catches fire” by Max Gallo

Letters to wives during WWII: Gen. Erwin Rommel, Gen. Gotthardt Heirici

In this winter of 1941, the German armies failed to encircle Moscow: Hitler delayed launching the attack till late June because the German Armies had entered Greece, occupied Yugoslavia with 680,000 soldiers in May 4, and were ready to pound on the Baltic countries of Rumania, Hungry, and Bulgaria.

In this difficult Russian winter, Hitler ordered all the commanders in the eastern front Not to retreat. The commanders who suggested a retreat were replaced by other commanders, and a few who did not obey were court marshaled and executed.

In Dec. 25, 1941, General Gotthardt Heirici wrote to his wife:

“They (The German officers and Hitler) don’t want to accept the fact that their armies, facing Moscow, are already completely encircled by the Russian armies. They refuse to admit that the Russians are capable of such military maneuvers.

Thus, they keep rushing in the abyss, totally blind to the consequences. Within 4 weeks, they will have lost their armies, and later they’ll lose the war…”

The weather is below 35 degrees Celsius, the ground muddy and icy, and the German soldiers lacks winter clothing and the vehicles and equipment are frozen, and the supplies are lacking…

The Russian army barely manage to resist the first onslaught, and as Stalin was convinced that Japan is no longer prepared any attacks on Russia, Stalin dispatched 400,000 soldiers from Russia far eastern front to face the German armies that penetrated very deep into Russia since June.

Gotthardt Heirici wrote in April 24, two months before the Russia campaign, and describing the occupation of Poland:

“In Poland, the Germans are behaving exactly as during the Antiquity when the Roman Empire conquered other people: The Polish people are to serve as slaves. Poland is considered the garbage dump of Europe… (the land where most people are potential for extermination).

Gen. Erwin Rommel had led his Panzer division in 1940 across the occupied France in a swift mechanized “horse ride”.

In Jan. 6, 1941, Gen. Erwin Rommel writes to his wife LU, from his quarters in Bordeaux (France):

“It seems the postal service is back to normal: I received your correspondence of Dec. 21 and 23. This afternoon we watched the movie “Le Coeur de la reine” (on Marie Stuart0 and I liked it.

The French peasants are living in the same life style as during the Roman Empire. Their homes are similar to ancient Rome, rough construction, flat roofs with round tiles, no running water, windows that don’t close shut, and not designed to keep the cold and wind out

I am not surprised of the military debacles of the Italian armies in Libya, Greece, Albania, Ethiopia, Somalia… against the armies of the British Gen. Archibald Wavell… The Italians forgot that war is not an easy enterprise…”

The British had rounded up 160,000 Italian soldiers as prisoners and the Italian armies overseas were in constant retreat. Churchill decided that the British armies are better to be shipped to Greece to counter the German advances in the Balkan, instead of reconquering all of Libya and Tunisia.

On Feb. 6, 1941, Rommel meets with the Fuhrer and receives the order to lead the AfrikaKorps in North Africa.

Rommel air bombs the port of Benghazi to prevent the British armies from it to supply its troops, and he settled in Tripoli, waiting for the 120 Panzer tanks to land.

The Italian officers were already packed up and waiting to be repatriated to Italy.

The initial mission of Rommel was to reconnoiter the front and the theaters of operations in Libya. He quickly stepped out of his limited orders and advanced very swiftly by fooling the British that he had many more tanks than he had: Rommel attached makeshift tank bodies on Volkswagen cars and led columns of transport vehicles to raise a lot of dust and give the illusion that an entire division of tanks are on the move…

By Aril 25, 1941, Rommel writes to his wife:

“The city of Tobruk will fall within two weeks and the battle of Egypt and the Suez canal is now seriously engaged. Easter passed and we didn’t notice it. You and my son Manfred are the most precious people I have in this world.

Greece is to fall very shortly… The German traditional officers who are burdened with theories do not comprehend practical spirits.  The energy shared by the chief in constant contacts with his soldiers is often more important than his intellectual gifts and talents.

The modern warfare is swiftness and requires maximum initiatives from the commanders and his troops…”

Athens fell on April 27. The 55,000 British soldiers who were supporting the 200,000 Greek armies had to retreat haphazardly to the island of Crete.  A few weeks later, 5,000 German parachutists landed in Crete and were supported by 15,000 coming from the sea and forced 30,000 British to evacuate again.

Many generals begged Hitler to occupy Cyprus to be at a striking distance from the Suez Canal. The Fuhrer declined the suggestion because Germany lost 4,000 of its best trained parachutists in Crete, and Hitler was still feeling sore of that loss.

Back in Russia. In December of 1941, a German soldier wrote to his wife: “Don’t worry. Don’t be sad: The sooner I’m buried deep in earth, the sooner I’ll save myself further pains and suffering…”

The war in Russia has turned “extermination style” on both sides. villages were burned to the ground and the civilians left to die in the cold and out of famine. No prisoners were taken.

Note: Extracts from the French book of Max Gallo “1941: The world catches fire”. Gallo


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2021
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