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.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Military or belligerent occupation is effective provisional control by a certain ruling power over a territory, which is not under the formal sovereignty of that entity, without the violation of the actual sovereign. The territory is then known as the occupied territory and the ruling power the occupant. Occupation is distinguished from annexation by its intended temporary nature, by its military nature, and by citizenship rights of the controlling power not being conferred upon the subjugated population.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
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.
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 over 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 50 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 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 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
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|
|None, see Anschluss||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||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|
Drang nach Osten was a term coined in the 19th century to designate German expansion into Slavic lands. The term became a motto of the German nationalist movement in the late 19th century. In some historical discourse, Drang nach Osten combines historical German settlement in Central and Eastern Europe, medieval (12th-13th-century) military expeditions like those of the Teutonic Knights, and Germanisation policies and warfare of modern German states such as those reflecting the Nazi Lebensraum concept.
The German concept of Lebensraum comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901, Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion. The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.
There were many areas annexed by Nazi Germany both immediately before and throughout the course of World War II.
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.
In Nazi German terminology, Volksdeutsche were "Germans in regard to people or race", regardless of citizenship. The term is the nominalised plural of volksdeutsch, with Volksdeutsche denoting a singular female, and Volksdeutsche(r), a singular male. The words Volk and völkisch conveyed the meanings of "folk". These terms were used by the Nazis to define Germans on the basis of their "race" rather than citizenship and thus included Germans living beyond the borders of the Reich, as long as they were not of Jewish origin.
The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held from February 4 to the 11th 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively. The conference convened 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, all of Poland was occupied by Germany. 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 Polish government-in-exile, formally 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.
Operation Margarethe was the occupation of Hungary by Nazi German forces during World War II, as it was ordered by Hitler on 12 March 1944. A plan for the occupation of Romania was devised under the name Operation Margarethe II but was never carried out.
The Polish Committee of National Liberation, also known as the Lublin Committee, was an executive governing authority established by the communists in Poland at the later stage of World War II. It was officially proclaimed on 22 July 1944 in Chełm, installed on 26 July in Lublin and placed formally under the direction of the State National Council. The PKWN was a provisional entity functioning in opposition to the Polish government-in-exile, the internationally recognized government of Poland. The PKWN exercised control over Polish territory retaken from Nazi Germany by the Soviet Red Army and the Polish People's Army. It was sponsored and controlled by the Soviet Union and dominated by Polish communists.
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 and subsequent addenda of 1940 and 1944, for mutual assistance in case of military invasion from Germany, as specified in a secret protocol.
The occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941 and ended in August 1944 with the Soviet Operation Bagration. The western parts of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic became part of the Reichskommissariat Ostland in 1941, but in 1943 the German authorities allowed local collaborators to set up a client state, the Belarusian Central Rada, that lasted until the Soviets liberated the region.
Crimes against the Polish nation committed by Nazi Germany and collaborationist forces during the invasion of Poland, along with auxiliary battalions during the subsequent occupation of Poland in World War II, consisted of the systematic extermination of Jewish Poles and the murder of millions of (non-Jewish) ethnic Poles. The Germans justified these genocides on the basis of Nazi racial theory, which depicted Jews as a constant threat and regarded Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen. By 1942, the Nazis were implementing their plan to kill every Jew in German-occupied Europe, and had also developed plans to eliminate the Polish people, through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, enslavement and extermination through labor, as well as the assimilation into German identity of a small minority of Poles regarded as racially valuable. During World War II, the Germans not only murdered millions of Jewish and non-Jewish Poles, but ethnically cleansed millions more ethnic Poles through forced deportation, supposedly to make room for racially superior German settlers.
During World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed several countries effectively handed over by Nazi Germany in the secret protocol Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939. These included Eastern Poland, as well as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, part of eastern Finland and eastern Romania. Apart from Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and post-war division of Germany, USSR also occupied and annexed Carpathian Ruthenia from Czechoslovakia in 1945.
The Polish Resettlement Act 1947 was the first ever mass immigration legislation of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It offered British citizenship to over 200,000 displaced Polish troops on British soil who had fought against Nazi Germany and opposed the Soviet takeover of their homeland. The act also supplied a labour force to the demands of war-torn Britain.
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.
Mark Mazower is a British historian. His expertise is Greece, the Balkans and, more generally, 20th-century Europe. He is currently a professor of history at Columbia University in New York City.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.