World War II Question

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Neil J, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. Neil J

    Neil J Stunt Coordinator

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    I know the countries surrounding Germany were overrun by the blitkrieg but what happened to the armies? Like France, did the military retreat somewhere else to fight another day or were they annihilated? That goes for Poland also. I'm curious because it seems to me that Paris was spared major combat operations except maybe a little fighting from the resistance.
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    They either: A. Died fighting (against overwhelming odds) B. Showed a white flag
    C. Went underground.
    The ones that gave up usually ended up in the Nazi army.

    I think France gave up quickly rather than have Paris destroyed. You also have to consider that most of the European countries didn't have much of an army - the logic being, 'hey, our neighbors aren't going to invade us!'

    Well, it made sense at the time!

    Glenn
     
  3. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    - General George Patton
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Many of the Eastern European armies ended up as conscripts in the German army after being conquered. Of the troops manning the defenses at Normandy, a lot were Polish and Czech conscripts.

    The Vichy situation in France was different. France signed an armisticce agreement with Germany on June 22, 1940. The key section of the agreement divided France into two zones - occupied and unoccupied. Germany controled northern and western France and the entire Atlantic coast. The remaining two-fifths of the country was administered by the French government with the capital at Vichy. All Jews in France were handed over to Germany. The French Army was reduced to 100,000 men and the French prisoners of war remained in captivity. The French paid the occupation costs of the German troops, and prevented any French people leaving the country. Essentially, France became a puppet government instead of a conquered nation (not that there's much difference).
     
  5. Greg Morse

    Greg Morse Stunt Coordinator

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    In the case of Poland, a lot of troops actually made it out of the country. 100,000 troops were organized under General Sikorski in France and most of those then escaped to England (numbered 250000 by the end of the war). They were to fight at Normany and Norway amongst others later on. Another 75,000 were reorganized under General Anders in the Middle East after being released by the Soviets as prisoners of war. For the most part, their officers weren't so lucky (Katyn Massacre). These guys are best known for fighting at Monte Cassino in Italy. As far, as those left behind, many were executed (like the Katyn Massacre) or sent to concentration camps, some simply went home, some joined the home army (partisans) which numbered about 200,000.
     
  6. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Yes, I vaguely remember that one of the first paratroopers out of the planes on D-Day was symbolically a Polish veteran. There were also Poles on the first few Higgin's boats to land.
     
  7. Neil J

    Neil J Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, interesting stuff.
     
  8. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Gene Hackman plays a Polish officer in A Bridge Too Far, and there were many Polish pilots in England in To Be or Not to Be.
     
  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    A Polish destroyer was lost off the beaches on D-Day.
     
  10. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    OK, I'm waiting on the punch line .....................
     
  11. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Lost as in "sunk by enemy fire".
     
  12. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Not a Polish joke? As in:

    A Polish destroyer was lost off the beaches on D-Day.... they were looking for Brighton Beach.



    [​IMG]
     
  13. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    Didn't a lot of French troops escape with the English troops at Dunkirk?
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Yes, and they formed the core of the Free French. DeGaulle went to England and refused to surrender, thereby getting a Vichy court-martial and resulting death sentence. [​IMG]

    Now you know why Louis tosses the bottle of Vichy water into the trash and then kicks it in "Casablanca"...
     
  15. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    There were some very large Polish units under the Allied powers, fighting in many different places.

    I'm in a Central Eastern Europe History class. My teacher is a very old Polish lady who was taken by the Soviets to Kazikstan (sp?) when the Germans/Russians took over Poland - she was a kid (like 10-12). She was lucky enough to have gotten let out during one of the times when Russia started being nice to the Poles (they needed the Polish army to help fight Germany). She got her first PhD in England... She tends to be very Polish-centric (occasionally wanders offtopic telling a story. She's really old though, so it's OK. Sometimes the stories are fascinating, as long as it isn't a time where she is repeating herself).

    There was also a very large Polish Underground Resistance, the A.K. At one point they rebelled, taking a lot of Warsaw back over from the Germans. Only a minority of them even had guns - many fought with rocks, clubs, etc until they could get a gun.

    Allied support (bombers, etc) basically didn't show to support the Polish uprising (Russia under Stalin wouldn't agree to Allied planes landing in his territory to refuel).

    We watched a brief CNN documentary about it in class (not sure where it is available). The Czechs had a resistance movement as well.

    Here's a good page about the Polish resistance

    http://www.citinet.net/ak/ak_f2.html


    Poland actually was a substantial empire at one time before it was crushed and split between Russia, Germany, and Austria. It was independent again after WWI for a brief period before WWII.


    I've learned a lot in this class. I really knew very little about eastern Europe - just as I know very little about Asian history.
     
  16. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Not a good place to be

    What's pretty interesting and nobody ever talks about; Poland and the USSR fought a war between WWI & WWII. When the reds were fighting the whites, Poland attacked the USSR and actually took Kiev with the French 'advisors'. The Poles & French won and gained land from Lithuania mostly.

    I visted Warsaw and it's without a doubt the most depressing place on earth (at least that I have seen) The city was leveled and rebuilt in gray cement.
    And the Russians and Poles still hate each other with a Passion but it does not break out like other local conflicts.
    We have relatives over there ....and they still spit when you mention the Russians.
    Way too much blood
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I spent two weeks in Warsaw and although you are right about the communist influenced areas around the airport and the new city, the old city that was built just after WWII (the whole city was basically destroyed) was modeled after 15th century Poland and is quite beautiful in many places (Chopin park was my favorite). Although I would rather have been home, Poland is full of great people with a great love for Americans. They are a country that was formerly under the yoke that has a democratic spirit like no other.
     
  18. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    This hasn't been mentioned yet:

    France was so confident about the Maginot Line that they made little effort to develop a modern army in the 30's. Their technology was outdated without enough troops. They were overwhelmed by Germany so quickly that they had little time to mobilize their army. With Paris, they had no interest of fighting a war there since they wanted to preserve the city.

    Poland suffered heavily losses when the Germans invaded. What the Germans don't want you to know is that the Polish army managed to kill a lot of Germans -- they're still very proud of this. Per capita, Poland had more citizens die during the war than any other nation.
     
  19. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    There were a lot of French troops outside of France in the North African colonies that were officially under Vichy control and gave surprisingly stiff resistance to the Allied Operation "Torch" landings in 1942. They couldn't be seen as just rolling over to the Allies because their families were essentially hostage in France. Read "An Army at Dawn" for an excellent history of the "Torch" landings and the politics behind the scenes. It won last year's Pulitzer for history.

    In late 1943, the Germans swept into southern France and formally occupied the whole country since their Vichy "allies" were not very reliable and the Germans wanted to ensure a proper defence of the whole country.
     
  20. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    They were confident that it would slow the Germans down and since they had very few young men for the army (A huge % was lost in WWI). They just never finished it off and thought that the forest was not passable.
     

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