A column of Panzer IIs, led by a Panzer IV, parades through the centre of Prague following the Nazi German annexation / occupation of Czechoslovakia, circa 1939.
Note the buildings decked out with Nazi banners and the Nazi salutes being given by the crowds lining the route.

The crew of a Panzer III stop to converse with some Landsers during the German invasion of the Low Countries in May 1940.
(LIFE / Hugo Jaeger)

The brutality and reality of war.
A German Sanitäter renders assistance to a landser whose arm has just been blown off...it can actually be seen lying on the ground close to him.
He is being supported by his comrades as he would have been in a state of shock as the incident had only just occurred.
The location is quoted as being on the Ost Front.
(LIFE / Hugo Jaeger)

An unmarked Tiger 1 described as being "somewhere on the OstFront".
Note that it is missing its ball-mounted MG 34 and that both front fenders have been removed.
(LIFE Collections)

On February 5, 1941, Adolf Hitler scolds his Axis partner, Benito Mussolini, for his troops’ retreat in the face of British advances in Libya, demanding that the Duce command his forces to resist.
Since 1912, Italy had occupied Libya because of purely economic “expansion” motives. In 1935, Mussolini began sending tens of thousands of Italians to Libya, mostly farmers and other rural workers, in part to relieve overpopulation concerns in Italy. So by the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, Italy had enjoyed a long-term presence in North Africa, and Mussolini began dreaming of expanding that presence–always with an eye toward the same territories that the old “Roman Empire” had counted among its conquests.
Also sitting in North Africa were British troops, which, under a 1936 treaty, were garrisoned in Egypt to protect the Suez Canal and Royal Navy bases at Alexandria and Port Said. Hitler had offered to aid Mussolini early on in his North African expansion, to send German troops to help fend off a British counterattack. But Mussolini had been rebuffed when he had offered Italian assistance during the Battle of Britain. He now insisted that as a matter of national pride, Italy would have to create a Mediterranean sphere of influence on its own–or risk becoming a “junior” partner of Germany’s.
But despite expansion into parts of East Africa and Egypt, Mussolini’s forces proved no match for the Brits in the long run. British troops pushed the Italians westward, inflicting extraordinary losses on the Axis forces in an attack at Beda Fomm. As Britain threatened to push the Italians out of Libya altogether and break through to Tunisia, Mussolini swallowed his pride and asked Hitler for assistance. Hitler reluctantly agreed (it would mean the first direct German-British encounter in the Mediterranean)–but only if Mussolini stopped the Italians’ retreat and kept the British out of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. But the Italians continued to be overwhelmed; in three months, 20,000 men were wounded or killed and 130,000 were taken prisoner. Only with the arrival of German Gen. Erwin Rommel would the Italian resistance be strengthened against further British advances. Even with Germany’s help, Italy was able to defend its North African territory only until early 1943.

SS Sturmbannführer Walter Schellenberg, SD (Sicherheitsdienst -"Security Service")
Chief of Intelligence escorts his second wife, Frau IreneGrosse-Schönepauck, from
an influential Berlin society family, after the occasion of their wedding in Berlin. Nazi
Germany. 10 October 1940.

I have a question for all the WWII historians out there - this is not a gotcha or trying to be a smart arse - just asking for an explanation. OK, Nazis invade Poland on Sept 1, 1939. Because of previous commitments to Poland by GB & FR to insure the integrity of their borders, they demand the Nazis withdraw - they don't so GB & FR declare war on Germany. On Sept 17th Russia invades Poland from the East - Hitler and Stalin each take half of Poland. So my question is, why did GB or FR not declare war on Russia as well? Russia's occupation of half of Poland was no less egregious than what Hitler did.

A Tiger I of the 1st SS Panzer Division drives through a French village past a Schwimmwagen, 21 March 1944.

Two young German paratroopers having a break during a maneuver. Both of them are members of the "Fallschirmjäger Regiment Nr. 2".

German infantrymen taking Soviet soldiers prisoner during the early stages of "Operation Barbarossa"


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