world war ii: nazi occupied france

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The Normandy Landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30.

When the seaborne units began to land about 06:30 on June 6, the British and Canadians on Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches overcame light opposition. So did the Americans at Utah. The U.S. 1st Division at Omaha Beach, however, confronted the best of the German coast divisions, the 352nd, and was roughly handled by machine gunners as the troops waded ashore. During the morning, the landing at Omaha threatened to fail. Only dedicated local leadership eventually got the troops inland—though at a cost of more than 2,000 casualties.

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The Non-German defenders of the Atlantic Wall,

In 1942 Germany began construction of the Atlantic Wall in order to defends its World War II territorial conquests from a possible Allied amphibious invasion.  The wall consisted of various fortifications, mines, tank barriers, mortars, artillery pieces, machine gun nests, pillboxes, and bunkers, and was designed to fend off any beach landing. On June 6th, 1944 Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy and quickly overran these defenses.  Thousands of German soldiers were captured, but surprisingly still many of those capture were not German at all.

At the very beginning of the war Germany upheld its Nazi belief in pure Arianism. However as the war dragged, that sentiment quickly gave way as casualties grew and manpower shortages worsened. Both the Wehrmacht and the SS began to accept foreign volunteers.  Many of these foreign troops were sent to man the defenses of the Atlantic Wall.  These soldiers came from all over Europe, and even the Middle East and Asia.  One notable extreme was the Indian Legion, also known as the Azad Regiment, which consisted of volunteers from India who believed that a German victory would secure India’s independence from the British Empire. 

The reasons for volunteering were varied, some political, many as a necessity for survival.  By far the most numerous foreign volunteers were those from the Soviet Union. Some volunteered because they were disgruntled with Soviet rule, for example the Russian Liberation Army, which joined the Wehrmacht to oppose communism in Russia. However most volunteered as an alternative to spending the rest of the war as a POW.  Soviet POW’s were treated terribly during the war, with 3.3 to 3.5 million dying of starvation, disease, exhaustion, and overall maltreatment. For many Soviet POW’s, service with the German Army was the only way to avoid such a horrible fate. Typically, these troops were often not very reliable in combat. Understandably, they were not very motivated to sacrifice life and limb for their conquerors. In some cases they proved to by a grave liability, such as the case of a battalion of soldiers from Georgia which manned the Atlantic Wall defenses on the Dutch island of Texel, who in 1945 openly rebelled against the Germans.

As well as many thousand foreign volunteers, there were also many thousand foreign conscripts who were forcibly made to serve in the German Army. By far the most interesting extreme in this instance were a group of Koreans who were captured by American forces during the D-Day invasion. For three decades Japan had occupied Korea, and the men were forcibly conscripted into the Japanese Imperial Army. In 1939 Japan attempted to invade the Soviet Union through Mongolia, but were badly beaten at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The Koreans were captured and sent to the gulags, but with the German invasion of the Soviet Union, were then forced to join the Red Army and fight on the Eastern Front.  They were then captured by the Germans, conscripted into the German Army, and forced to man the defenses of the Atlantic Wall at Normandy.

By far the most numerous conscripts were Polish.  Before World War I many parts of Poland had been a part of Prussia, and later the German Empire. When Germany re-conquered these territories they considered many of the people living there to be ethnic Germans.  As such, they were considered full citizens of the Reich and thus were subject to German draft laws.  Many still believed themselves to be German and thus were willing to fight for the German cause, however many spoke Polish, had adopted Polish customs, and believed themselves to be Poles. Regardless, refusing to obey the draft laws could result in serious consequences, not only for the individual but his family as well. Some 500,000 Poles were conscripted into the Wehrmacht, with many serving on the Atlantic Wall. Like the Soviets, the Polish also were not the best soldiers as they were often unwilling to fight for their taskmasters. Around 85,000 would defect to the Free Polish Forces in France. In addition to Polish Troops, a number of Czechs considered ethnic Germans would be conscripted as well.

Overall, one in six defenders of the Atlantic Wall were not German. Nothing demonstrates the diversity of these defenders more than the photo below of a group Wehrmacht soldiers captured during D-Day

Front Row (from left to right):  a Yugoslav; an Italian; a Turk; a Pole

Back Row (from left to right): a German; a Czech; a Russian who was forced into the army when the Nazis occupied his town; and a Mongolian.

hollywoodreporter.com
Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in and Produce World War II Film 'The Lost Airman' (Exclusive)
Oscar-winning producer John Lesher will also produce the adaptation for Amazon Studios.

Jake Gyllenhaal is teaming up with John Lesher for The Lost Airman, a true-life World War II adventure project.

Amazon Studios has picked up the rights to the nonfiction book, titled The Lost Airman: A True Story of Escape From Nazi-Occupied France and written by Seth Meyerowitz.

Gyllenhaal is attached to star in the project and will produce with Riva Marker, his partner at the duo’s Nine Stories banner. Lesher will produce through his Le Grisbi Productions.

Based on recently declassified materials, the book tells the incredible true story of Arthur Meyerowitz, an American turret-gunner whose B-24 bomber was shot down over Vichy France in 1943. While hiding in the French countryside, Meyerowitz befriended Marcel Talliander, the founder of the legendary French resistance group Morhange, who helped shelter the man from the Gestapo through his secret network. After six months of barely evading capture, Meyerowitz escaped through a carefully orchestrated plan that also involved R.F.W. Cleaver, one of the most accomplished British fighter pilots of the war.

sweetest-garlic  asked:

MY BROTHER IS REALLY SEXIST AND MY DAD IS SLIGHTLY LESS BUT STILL P R O B L E M A T I C AND MY ENGLISH TEACHER SAYS THAT SINGULAR THEY "IS NOT REAL AND NOT TO BE USED" AND IT MAKES ME REALLY MAD AND I JUST WANT TO VENT AND FIND SOME STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS AND SLAP MY BROTHER IN THE FACE WITH THEM BECAUSE HE SAYS THAT JAMES BOND CAN'T HAVE FEMALE SPIES IN IT AND I'M JUST REALLY, REALLY MAD AND I WANT TO ANGRY CRY

GO AHEAD AND ANGRY CRY. WHILST YOUR BROTHER IS BEING A SEXIST PIG, SLAP HIM WITH SOME REAL FEMALE REALNESS.

This is Eileen Nearne. She was a spy during World War II and at 23 she was dropped by parachute into occupied France to relay messages from the French resistance. She was captured by the Germans, tortured and sent to a concentration camp. But she managed to keep up her story and was moved to a different camp. She managed to escape the camp and hide from the gestapo until the area she was hiding in was liberated. When she passed away in 2010 she was given a hero’s funeral.

SHE’S BADASS. AND WAS A REAL LIFE SPY. SO SHOVE THAT IS YOUR BROTHER’S PIE HOLE.

Check out Virginia Hall. She was wanted by the Gestapo as one of the most dangerous allied spies. She worked for Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Nazi-occupied France in World War II. Having lost her lower leg in 1933, she wore a prosthetic. In 1942, the Germans took direct control of France and Virginia had to leave. She managed to hike all the through the snowy Pyrenees Mountains to Spain on her prosthetic to escape the Nazis. Think about that for a minute. Prosthetics weren’t what they’re like now. This would have been some tough shit. I don’t see James Bond hiking through the snow on a false limb. OH AND. She then returned to France to train and arm guerrilla groups whilst constantly moving around to avoid detection by Nazis - who by this point had issued wanted posters and rewards for the so-called “limping lady”.

JAMES BOND’S GOT NOTHING ON THIS WOMAN.

Meet Nancy Wake. One of the most decorated Allied servicewomen of World War II. Nancy Grace Augusta Wake was known to the Gestapo as ”The White Mouse“ for her ability to evade detection and capture. She was part of the French Resistance and later on in the war joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE). She was parachuted into the Auvergne region of France to provide guerrilla groups with arms. Her compatriots praised her strength and courage, two qualities she needed in abundance when she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands to stop him raising the alarm during a raid. After the war ended, Nancy was awarded the George Medal, the US Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the Médaille de la Résistance and three Croix de Guerres from France.

DON’T TELL ME WOMEN CAN’T BE SPIES BECAUSE I KNOW THEY CAN.

Also, your English teacher is behind the times and in my opinion, totally wrong. Gender is a construct. No-one is born with their gender, they’re born with their sex (literally, the organs you are born with). Gender is something you learn. And should you decide you are not female, or male, or either, then that is your decision. If you want your pronouns to be ‘they’, ‘them’ etc. then so ahead and use that! People are still adjusting to using different pronouns for people. But they will get it eventually. I promise you.

NOW HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH, USE WHATEVER PRONOUNS YOU DAMN WELL WANT AND STRUT AWAY FROM ALL THAT NEGATIVITY.

Originally posted by gifs-for-the-masses

PJO WWII

OK, something that has been bugging me about PJO’s take on World War II is that the fandom plays it straight along trope lines; evil=Hades=Hitler (no questions as to whether or not Hitler was evil, he was), good=Zeus=Roosevelt/Churchill and that ticks me off a little bit because it completely ignores the character and canon disposition of the gods in the PJO-verse. May I propose an alternative. 

I will be focusing on the main leaders of each faction here, but since this part of history is not my forte I will happily accept any comments

  • Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany: Son of Zeus (Hitler seized upon the national depression after WWI, wherein Germany was brutally penalized so that England and France could dominate it, and many considered it justice to conquer France. Zeus was a patron of justice, and also capable of immense cruelty for those who opposed him)
  • Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister of Italy: Son of Mars (A charismatic leader who lead the army to depose the state. Not only was this VERY VERY Roman, his role as the head of state in the aftermath is much more like Mars than Ares)
  • Franklin Roosevelt, President of the US: Son of Athena (because not only was he a great leader in popular perception he also championed the rights of the poor and marginalized (mostly), and Athena always stood with the human heroes)
  • Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the UK: Son of Poseidon (strong and steadfast, Churchill and England stood alone in the early part of World War II, but they never wavered. Hitler’s fear of crossing the English Channel may have been fear of Poseidon protecting his offspring)
  • Charles de Gaulle, Leader of the French Resistance: Son of Hades (In occupied France, de Gaulle often had to work from the shadows (i.e shadow travel) to oppose the Nazis. He was also devoted to his cause, and after the war looked after French interests above all)
  • Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the USSR: WAS NOT A GREEK/ROMAN DEMIGOD because he was so thoroughly anti-Western Culture. He was probably descended from the Slavic or Georgian gods.
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Violette Szabo, GC, a British subject, executed on or around this day, 5 February in 1945, was the daughter of an English father and French mother, and the widow of French army officer, Etienne Szabo who was killed in action in North Africa in 1942.

She served during World War II as an SOE agent on two missions in occupied France. It is unclear how she came to be recruited by the Special Operations Executive – although her fluency in French will have been noticed by someone.

On her second mission she was captured by the Germans, interrogated and tortured, and deported to Germany where she was executed at the age of 23, at Ravensbruck concentration camp, on or around 5 February 1945.

Men from many nationalities were conscripted or volunteered to fight in the German Wehrmacht during World War II. Nothing illustrates this better than this photo of soldiers captured in France by Allied forces.

Front Row (from left to right):  a Yugoslav; an Italian; a Turk; a Pole

Back Row (from left to right): a German; a Czech; a Russian who was forced into the army when the Nazis occupied his town; and a Mongolian.

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FRANCE, Colleville-sur-Mer : US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande look out over Omaha Beach during the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, June 6, 2014. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary since the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

Noor Inayat Khan, a WWII agent dubbed the “Spy Princess” is among the individuals who the Royal Mail states have made a remarkable contribution to British Society and have been included in stamps that were issued today.

Khan became a heroic and highly decorated wartime spy for Britain behind enemy lines and was named the most wanted Allied agent while on the run in Paris

Raised in Britain and France and a descendant of Indian royalty, bilingual Noor Inayat Khan was recruited by the elite Special Operations Executive (SOE) in 1942 to work in Paris as a radio operator.

Records from the national archives show she was the first female wireless operator sent to Nazi-occupied France during World War II.

After evading capture for three months, the spy was imprisoned, tortured and eventually shot by the German Gestapo at Dachau concentration camp in 1944.

Her final word - uttered as the German firing squad raised their weapons - was simple. “Liberté”.

Liberty was a notion the pacificist-turned-war-heroine held deeply, according to Ms Basu.

For her bravery, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross. In France she was honoured with the Croix de Guerre, and later with two memorials and an annual ceremony marking her death.

Brave, glamorous and both sensitive and formidable, it is said she acted not out of a love for Britain, but out of an aversion to fascism and dictatorial rule.

Read more about her here

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Experience a daring World War II rescue mission with Defying the Nazis VR—a virtual reality experience that shows you what it was like to flee Nazi-occupied France and arrive in America on the Excambion. Download LIFE VR now on the App Store and learn more on TIME.com/lifevr.

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FRANCE, Arromanches-les-Bains : Men dressed in vintage World War II US military uniforms stand next to a Willis jeep, on the beach, in the morning in Arromanches, western France, on June 5, 2014, a day before the start of the D-Day commemorations. The D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary since the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / LUDOVIC MARIN

FRANCE, Ranville : British World War II veteran Frederick Glover poses for a photograph as soldiers parachute down during a D-Day commemoration paratroopers launch event in Ranville, northern France, on June 5, 2014, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. D-Day ceremonies on June 6 this year mark the 70th anniversary of the launch of ‘Operation Overlord’, a vast military operation by Allied forces in Normandy, which turned the tide of World War II, eventually leading to the liberation of occupied France and the end of the war against Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS BREGARDIS