German-occupied Europe refers to the sovereign countries of Europe which were occupied and civil occupied including puppet government by the military forces and the government of Nazi Germany at various times between 1939 and 1945, during and shortly before World War II, generally administered by the Nazi regime.The farthest east in Europe the German Wehrmacht managed to occupy was the town of Mozdok in the Soviet Union; the farthest north was the settlement of Barentsburg in the Kingdom of Norway; the farthest south in Europe was the island of Gavdos in the Kingdom of Greece; and the farthest west in Europe was the island of Ushant in the French Republic.
Several German-occupied countries initially entered World War II as Allies of the United Kingdomor the Soviet Union. Some were forced to surrender before outbreak of the war such as Czechoslovakia; others like Poland (invaded on 1 September 1939) were conquered in battle and then occupied. In some cases, the legitimate governments went into exile, in other cases the governments-in-exile were formed by their citizens in other Allied countries. Some countries occupied by Nazi Germany were officially neutral. Others were former members of the Axis powers that were occupied by German forces at a later stage of the war.
The countries occupied included all, or most of the following:
|Country or territory of occupation||Puppet state(s) or military administration(s)||Timeline of occupation(s)||German annexed or occupied territory||Resistance movement(s)|
|8 September 1943 – 29 November 1944||None||Albanian resistance|
|30 June 1940 – 9 May 1945||None||Guernseyian resistance|
|1 July 1940 – 9 May 1945||None||Jerseyian resistance|
|1 October 1938 – 11 May 1945||Czechoslovakian resistance|
|Engelbert Dollfuss and his successor Kurt Schuschnigg wanted to maintain at least some type of independence. Dollfuss had implemented an authoritarian regime now termed Austrofascism, continued by Schussnigg, which imprisoned many members of the Austrian Nazi Party and the Social Democratic Party which both favored unification. Violence by Austrian Nazi Party members including the assassination of Dollfuss, along with German propaganda and ultimately threats of invasion by Adolf Hitler, eventually led Schuschnigg to capitulate and resign. Hitler, however, did not wait for his hand-picked successor, Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart, to be sworn in and ordered German troops to invade Austria at dawn on 12 March 1938, where they were met with cheering crowds and an Austrian army previously ordered not to resist.None. Although there was substantial popular support in Austria for some type of (re)unification with Germany, Chancellors||12 March 1938 – 9 May 1945||Austrian resistance|
|None||1 September 1939 – 9 May 1945||Danzigian resistance|
|10 May 1940 – 9 May 1945||French resistance|
|10 May 1940 – February 1945||Luxembourg resistance|
|8 September 1943 – 8 May 1945||None|
|10 May 1940 – February 1945||Belgian resistance|
|protectorate state||9 April 1940 – 5 May 1945||None||Danish resistance|
|6 April 1941 – 8 May 1945||None||Greek resistance|
|19 March 1944 – May 1945||None||Hungarian resistance|
|8 September 1943 – 2 May 1945||None||Italian resistance|
|9 April 1940 – 8 May 1945||None||Norwegian resistance|
|10 May 1940 – 20 May 1945||None||Dutch resistance|
|6 April 1941 – 15 May 1945||Yugoslav resistance|
|None||8 September 1943 – 3 September 1944||None|
|None||15 September 1944 – 25 April 1945||None||Finnish resistance|
|22 March 1939 – 21 July 1940 |
23 June 1941 – 5 August 1941
|1 September 1939 – 9 May 1945||Polish resistance|
|None||17 September 1944 – 20 September 1944||None|
|April 30, 1941 – January 1945||None||Serbian resistance|
|23 March 1939 – May 1945||None||Slovakian resistance|
|None. In a referendum in 1935, over 90% of residents supported reunification with Germany over remaining a League of Nations protectorate of France and the United Kingdom or joining France.||1 March 1935 – April 1945||Saar Basinian resistance|
|30 June 1941 – September 1941||Ukrainian resistance|
| Lepel Republic ||22 June 1941 – 10 May 1945||Soviet resistance|
|Government in exile||Capital in exile||Timeline of exile||Occupier(s)|
|1941 – 1945|
(1940 – 1941)
|1940 – August 31, 1944|
(September 29/30, 1939 – 1940)
(1940 – June 12, 1940)
|September 29/30, 1939 – December 22, 1990|
(October 22, 1940 – September 8, 1944)
|October 22, 1940 – September 8, 1944|
|1943 – 1945|
|1940 – 1944|
|April 29, 1941 – October 12, 1944|
|June 7, 1940 – May 31, 1945|
|June 7, 1941 – March 7, 1945|
|1940 – 1945|
(October 2, 1939 – 1940)
|October 2, 1939 – April 2, 1945|
|Government in exile||Capital in exile||Timeline of exile||Occupier(s)|
|September 16, 1944 – May 10, 1945|
|1944 – April 22, 1945|
|March 28/29, 1945 – May 7, 1945|
|1944 – 1945|
|Summer of 1944 – May 8, 1945|
|April 4, 1945 – 8 May 1945|
|Government in exile||Capital in exile||Timeline of exile||Occupier(s)|
(1923 – 1938)
|1919 – present|
(1944 – August 20, 1991)
|June 17, 1940 – August 20, 1991|
(1920 – 1939)
|1920 – August 22, 1992|
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Axis powers, also known as "Rome–Berlin–Tokyo Axis", were the nations that fought in World War II against the Allies. The Axis powers agreed on their opposition to the Allies, but did not completely coordinate their activity.
The European theatre of World War II opened with the German invasion of Poland on Friday September 1, 1939, which was then followed by the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939. In the face of overwhelming forces of opponents and the betrayal of its allies, the Polish Army was defeated after more than a month of fierce fighting. Poland never officially capitulated. After Poland had been overrun, a government-in-exile, armed forces, and an intelligence service were established outside of Poland. These organizations contributed to the Allied effort throughout the war. The Polish Army was recreated in the West, as well as in the East.
The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively. The conference was held near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union, within the Livadia, Yusupov, and Vorontsov Palaces.
Following the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, the Kingdom of Romania under King Carol II officially adopted a position of neutrality. However, the rapidly changing situation in Europe during 1940, as well as domestic political upheaval, undermined this stance. Fascist political forces such as the Iron Guard rose in popularity and power, urging an alliance with Nazi Germany and its allies. As the military fortunes of Romania's two main guarantors of territorial integrity—France and Britain—crumbled in the Fall of France, the government of Romania turned to Germany in hopes of a similar guarantee, unaware that the then dominant European power had already granted its consent to Soviet territorial claims in a secret protocol of 1939's Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
The history of Poland from 1939 to 1945 encompasses primarily the period from the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union to the end of World War II. Following the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany on 1 September 1939 and by the Soviet Union on 17 September. The campaigns ended in early October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland. After the Axis attack on the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, the entirety of Poland was occupied by Germany, which proceeded to advance its racial and genocidal policies across Poland. Under the two occupations, Polish citizens suffered enormous human and material losses. According to the Institute of National Remembrance estimates, about 5.6 million Polish citizens died as a result of the German occupation and about 150,000 died as a result of the Soviet occupation. The Jews were singled out by the Germans for a quick and total annihilation and about 90% of Polish Jews were murdered as part of the Holocaust. Jews, Poles, Romani people and prisoners of many other ethnicities were killed en masse at Nazi extermination camps, such as Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibór. Ethnic Poles were subjected to both Nazi German and Soviet persecution. The Germans killed an estimated two million ethnic Poles. They had future plans to turn the remaining majority of Poles into slave labor and annihilate those perceived as “undesirable” as part of the wider Generalplan Ost. Ethnic cleansing and massacres of Poles and to a lesser extent Ukrainians were perpetrated in western Ukraine from 1943. The Poles were murdered by Ukrainian nationalists.
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union (USSR), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties.
The Polish government-in-exile, officially known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile, was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, which brought to an end the Second Polish Republic.
The concept of Western betrayal refers to the view that the United Kingdom and France failed to meet their legal, diplomatic, military, and moral obligations with respect to the Czechoslovak and Polish nations during the prelude to and aftermath of World War II. It also sometimes refers to the treatment of other Central and Eastern European nations at the time.
Historians from many countries gave deep attention to the causes of World War II. Leading themes include the political takeover in 1933 of Germany by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, which ruthlessly promoted an aggressive foreign policy in violation of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, Japanese militarism against China, Italian aggression against Ethiopia, and the success of Germany in forming an agreement with the Soviet Union in August 1939 to divide up Eastern Europe. The immediate precipitating event was Germany invading Poland on September 1, 1939, and Britain and France declaring war on Germany on September 3, 1939.
The Polish Underground State is a collective term for the underground resistance organizations in Poland during World War II, both military and civilian, that were loyal to the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile in London. The first elements of the Underground State were established in the final days of the German and Soviet invasion of Poland, in late September 1939. The Underground State was perceived by supporters as a legal continuation of the pre-war Republic of Poland that waged an armed struggle against the country's occupying powers: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Underground State encompassed not only military resistance, one of the largest in the world, but also civilian structures, such as education, culture and social services.
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War (1939–1945). The Allies promoted the alliance as a means to control German, Japanese and Italian aggression.
The Historiography of World War II is the study of how historians portray the causes, conduct, and outcomes of World War II.
The military alliance between the United Kingdom and Poland was formalised by the Anglo-Polish Agreement in 1939, with subsequent addenda of 1940 and 1944, for mutual assistance in case of a military invasion from Germany, as specified in a secret protocol.
During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included the eastern regions of Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, the USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.
The Soviet offensive plans controversy is a debate among historians whether Soviet leader Joseph Stalin planned to attack Axis forces in Eastern Europe prior to Operation Barbarossa. Most historians agree that the geopolitical differences between the Soviet Union and the Axis made war inevitable, and that Stalin had made extensive preparations for war and exploited the military conflict in Europe to his advantage. Viktor Suvorov has argued that Stalin planned to attack Hitler from behind while Germany fought the Allies, and Barbarossa was a preemptive strike by Hitler. Many historians have written in response to Suvorov's views. Gabriel Gorodetsky and David Glantz authored books refuting his claims. Suvorov received some support from Valeri Danilov, Joachim Hoffmann, Mikhail Meltyukhov, and Vladimir Nevezhin.
The Soviet Union occupied most of the territory of the Baltic states in its 1944 Baltic Offensive during World War II. The Red Army regained control over the three Baltic capitals and encircled retreating Wehrmacht and Latvian forces in the Courland Pocket where they held out until the final German surrender at the end of the war. The German forces were deported and the leaders of Latvian collaborating forces were executed as traitors. After the war, the Soviet Union reestablished control over the Baltic territories in line with its forcible annexations as communist republics in 1940.
The diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939).
The occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II (1939–1945) began with the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, and it was formally concluded with the defeat of Germany by the Allies in May 1945. Throughout the entire course of the foreign occupation, the territory of Poland was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union (USSR) with the intention of eradicating Polish culture and subjugating its people by occupying German and Soviet powers. In summer-autumn of 1941, the lands annexed by the Soviets were overrun by Germany in the course of the initially successful German attack on the USSR. After a few years of fighting, the Red Army drove the German forces out of the USSR and across Poland from the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.
This is a bibliographyof works on World War II.