tv Reel America Why We Fight Divide and Conquer - 1943 CSPAN September 21, 2018 8:56pm-9:55pm EDT
6 years of hard training and actual battle experience in spain and poland have made the german army look nearly invincible. but what about the brase and french? first let's take up the british. they started from scratch. both at home and abroad an army was growing. not only had britain declared war, canada, australia, new zealand, . the whole -- britain had one weapon that was ready: the royal navy. shortly after war was declared -- in the north sea. blockading germany. world conquest was impossible without running smack up
against the rock called britain. how to strike at the island, that was the question. between britain and germany stood not only france, but the accident countries of luxembourg, norway, denmark and sweden. the people of these small neutral countries were peaceful, hard working and free. they knew they were in the middle and feared violation of their neutrality. hiltler knew this. he also knew if they united with the allies, their conquest would be far more difficult. so before striking with his army, he used another weapon, the propaganda barrage, to confuse, to make them lose faith, to divide and conquer. to lull the fears of the neutrals, propaganda nobles told them germany didn't win a
war at all. it was britain and france that caused all the trouble. then it was hitler's turn. in the speech on october 6th, 1939, he made them all [indiscernible] a specific promise. in the danes, he said we have concluded a nonaggression packet with denmark. to the norwegians, he said germany never had conflict with the northern states and has none today. to the dutch, he said the new reich has endeavored to continue the relationship with holland -- which might in any way be regarded as a threat to belgium. while hitler was making these promises, his generals were picking out the first victim: norway. why did they pick norway? its many steep inlets would
make excellent u-boat bases. also it would give the nazis vital air space. this is a british naval base and this a blockade fleet. at this time, the german base bombers couldn't reach them. the bases on norway's western shore would bring these bases under easy bomber attack. he couldn't take norway without also taking denmark, the spring board for his attack. so at dawn on april 9, 1940, the german army rolled across the neutral borders of little denmark and in a number of hours had occupied the entire country. by nightfall, denmark is erased as a nation and the danes go
into slavery. only 6 months before, hitler had announced we have concluded a non-aggression packet with denmark. the danes will not forget. in norway, ships had sneaked inside norway's neutral water way and tied up. they looked like merchant ships. if the norwegians had x-ray eyes, this is what they would have seen: the trojan horse of ancient greece brought up to date with new and dangerous weapons. these quiet looking ships sprang to life. at the same time nazi warships
starting steaming up the norwegian fjords. they all flung themselves simultaneously upon a defenseless country. airborne infantry seized every norwegian airport. the whole job was made easier by [indiscernible] led-- who seized power and issued orders. nazi warships steamed past gun that is could have blasted them out of the water. it brought major quizling into national fame making his very name synonomous with the word "traitor." the germans were in complete control of all 7 ports where they had landed in the morning.
for the first time in more than 200 years, the people of norway saw an invading army parading through their city. many of these nazi soldiers strutting as conquers in 1940 had last seen norway some 20 years earlier when as refugee german children they had been raised and cared for by kind norwegians. now those same germans were back to repay the kindness with terror and destruction. once they occupied the capital, they fanned out in all directions. royal norwegian groups stopped one german column. so the germans brought up their
bomber. the norwegians were forced to flee to the north under constant and unopposed air attack. an american attache was killed. the first american soldier to lose his life in the war. mean while, the nazis had spread all over the country. small patrols occupied every strategic village. parachute troops landed high in the mountains. unopposed bombing raids sent
defenseless civilians fleeing in stark terror. they hadn't wanted war. they had done everything to avoid it. they had compromised and tragically failed to unite with the other democracies and now they faced discouraged, defenseless and alone. the germans were in control of all principal ports. regardless of this, british, french and [indiscernible] contingents made several
landings along the norwegian coast. they landed forces north and south of trondheim and -- under constant, heavy and almost entirely unopposed air attack. while the scene of action was out of range of british fighter planes, so they brought up aircraft carriers, but these are at a disadvantage when opposed by land-based planes. finally suffering heavy losses, they with drew from a hopeless situation. further to the north, they met with better success, inflicting heavy [indiscernible] on the nazis.
loyal norwegians were left with ruins, their debt. even though 6 months before, hitler had said germany never had any conflict with the northern state and has none today. the norwegians will not forget. and hitler, hitler had another victory. he had hijacked two more countries. the world wonders and sometimes
marveled at this man's efficiency. dill incher was inger was efficient too. when a man of a nation throws away all regard -- society had a police force to deal with gangster dillinger, but it had no police force to deal with gangster hitler. bases for use against britain. now he had the northern claw of an enormous pincher movement. a drive through france would give him the south claw. it would weaken the british for final invasion. then with britain gone, germany could reach out in all directions for world conquest. his next move must be through
france to get his southern claw. through france. how was she to face the onslaught? these scenes are ancient history. they occurred in 1914. the german armies without warning had smashed across neutral belgium, invaded france. out of the french capital poured the french reserves, riding out to battle the enemy in every vehicle that could move. the famous taxicab army. it was riding out to battle. in the center of the french line stood the 9th french army, commanded by an unknown general. on september 5th, 1914, he is reputed to have said: my ride has driven in. my center is giving way. the situation is excellent.
i attack. he did attack. the german onslaught was checked and paris was saved. that comparatively unknown general later became commander in chief and decided the signing of the arm isatins with defeating the germans. to this general, they elected a monument. marshal ferdinand [indiscernible] whose motto was: attack. always attack. still later, the war-wearied french people erected another
monument, this one to a minister of war, andre magineau. between the ideas -- may well lie the military story of the fall of a great nation. the proud spirit of france demand nothing less than victory and placed its faith in the attacks. imagine those times. the spirit no longer proud, cast only to avoid defeat and placed its faith in concrete. so the french built the mighty chain of fortresses called the magineau line. these were built deep into the french land. they were connected by underground passages and railways, guarding france's eastern borders facing germany.
when france was finally forced to declare war against the rising nazis, the french troops, instead of attacking, were marched into their modern caves to wait for the nazi blitz to smash itself. their general proudly announced whoever makes the first move in this war will be hurt. but hitler didn't go near the magineau line. that was france's strong point. instead, he attacked the weak point. hitler knew that the french had tried to avoid war instead of preparing for it. that knowledge was one of his greatest weapons. he knew they had planes, but he knew they were antiquated. he knew they had tanks, but he knew they were few in number and likely armored. and most parent of all, he knew france had become a cynical ask disillusioned nation. what made this change in the
french spirit? in the first place, the french suffered more than 6 million casualties and the heroic defense of their land against german invasion. the flower of of an entire generation was lost with its stimulus of new blood, new determination, new ideals. secondly, the failure of the league of nations, the corruption of many in high places, the greed of special interests all had combined to shake the faith of the french people and their democratic ideals. when a people loses its faith in their ideals, it is right for the insidious words of the devil. france still looked imposing, but hitler's termites had so gnawed away the binding unity that the castle was ready to
crumble. and during those months of military inactivity that we call the phony war, a faceless barrage of german propaganda crossed the still waters of the line to affect the soldiers in the magineau line. why do you fight, asked the banners. poems and friendly notes were sent over by balloon. french tunes were played by german bands. and german hooey was broadcast in french. the british will fight to the last drop of french blood. you have been deceived.
this was an imperialistic war for britain. we germans wanting in of france. what is happening to your wives back home, soldiers? the british are stationed in your villages. yes, france was ready to be plucked. the whole force of the nazi might was turned toward the west. how would they strike this time? throughout-- through the low countries as in 1914? what was the 1940 model conquest? the french considered the magineau line impregnable. even after hitler's rape of scandinavia, belgium hoping against hope still clung to their neutrality. so-- 17 were in the magineau
line. 10 divisions here in case mysoliny got bored. the british had 10 divisions here. the allied strategy in the event of an attack against the low countries of to swing their armies like a gate into belgium. this all important hinge was protected by the forest of the arden, a hilly and thickly wooded area honey combed with streams. its roads narrow trails. its bridges too weak for military vehicles. french-- impassable for armored forces. this was one of the costliest estimates in military history. that was the situation on may
over 10,000 troops were landed in this manner. before the stunned citizens of rotterdam even knew they were at war, aided by well -- columnists quickly captured the airport in outlying parts of the city. meantime, nazi armored columns were racing across the country. their progress speeded by other columnists who prevented the destruction of vital dikes and bridges. these forces effected a meeting with the pair shooters -- the dutch were doomed to defeat. on the 4th day of the invasion, the nazis gave the dutch
general an ultimatum: all dutch resistance must cease or rotterdam will be bombed flat. the dutch general had little choice. to save the lives of innocent civilians, he accepted the german terms, but after the unconditional surrender, the nazis bombed the city anyway. unopposed german bombers flew low over the center of rotterdam and bombed it into a heap of rubble.
one of the most ruthless exhibitions of savagery the world has ever seen. over 30,000 men, women, and children were killed in the space of 90 minutes. though only 6 months before, hitler had said: the new reich is endeavored to continue the friendship with holland. the dutch will not forget. meantime in belgium, the whole force of nazi blitzkrieg had stormed across its neutral
border. the main german attack was directed at the canal merge river line. a seemingly impregnable fortress. the germans had built a replica in czechoslovakia. when the real attack came, it was foolproof. parachute troops, dive bombers, specially trained engineer battalions all working together as a well-trained team. they knew exactly where to cross the river.
you will notice that this assault engineer knows exactly where to put his high explosive charge in order to destroy the blackout. the german armies rolled on. meantime, an hour and a half after the german invasion began, allied troops caught the french and belgium border to meet the advancing germans.
as they raced across belgium to take up their defense positions, they met an obstacle they hadn't counted on: refugees. and the refugee choke holds didn't get that way by accident. the nazis methodically bombed little towns and villages otherwise devoid of military value not so much to kill as to drive the inhabitants out on the highway. then by expert machine gun, the nazis would herd them along and
no, no school today. although only 6 months before, hitler had announced the reich has put forth no claim that is a threat to belgium. the belgians will not forget. and what about the allies? they were convinced the that german attack on belgium and holland was the main thrust and according to plan that swung their armies like a gate into belgium, but the attack on
belgium and holland was only a feint. the main attack was to be where the allies least expected it. they have secretly assembled the mightiest striking force the world has ever seen. including 45,000 armored vehicles. at the same time that the nazi armies were plunging into holland and belgium, this column started to move.
in three days, the german armored force reached the [indiscernible] river. two days faster than the french or any troops could get through. by all rules, the germans should have paused here before bringing up any artillery. but the nazis had a new type of artillery. they blast the french positions across the mers. with feverish haste, the germans laid a barrage across the river with anything and
across these bridges the main armored force of the german military machine rolled through the sudan. the all-important break through into a dismayed and flat footed france. there went the old ball game for the allies. from here on, it was only a matter of how long. watch the map as one of our intelligence officers explains the details of the german break through. >> we speak of the break through at did you dan, but the break was at a -- extending 50 miles from belgium to sudan. by the north, the allied armies had swung like a gate into these positions. the german armies had swept over holland, broke the line of the canal and for all anyone knew were preparing to smash against the allied front with all their power. that was the situation, dangerous but obscure, on the
evening of may 13th. on the 14th and 15th, it became clear that the german break through was in the greatest strength and that the french 9th army attacked while moving into position had been shattered. without doubt, this was the point of mortal danger and the french high command ordered the abandonment of these positions, although they had not yet been attacked. those positions were abandoned solely because of the situation developing along the mers near sudan. in the meantime, the french 7th army had been ordered to make its historic 4th march far to the south into the area threatened by the rapidly advancing german spear head. this army was not used to attack the german flank, but rather was used as a plot to restore the broken front. throughout the allies had placed their faith not in our
fence, but in defense. and the defense was doomed to failure because it was confronted with an entirely new technique in warfare, a plain tank infantry team in action. the world was staggered by the speed with which the german armored columns moved. what was the secret that enabled armies to move so far so rapidly? the secret lay in the spear head. armored forces came first, followed by ordered divisions. and through the corridor, thus formed, raced the supply trucks to feed the ever lengthening column. it was obvious that if the allied situation was to be restored, the german columns would have to be cut. on may 17th, general degall attacked the german flank and captured a few prisoners, but
his mechanized forces were like the pin pricking the side of a rhinoceros. a subsequent attack met with even less success. the means simply did not exist. where numbers of divisions were required, only handfuls of companies and battalions were available. a valiant attempt to cut the german corridor was made by a group of slow-moving british tanks just south of [indiscernible] what lack of sustained striking power doomed this valiant unit to destruction. on may 21st, the german spear head reached the channel port of ashyville. protecting their flank, the germans fanned out to the
north and east. this was to be the perfect battle of a nilation. on may 20th, the belgium army pressed into a small space and laid down its arms. that left the desperate french and british defenders with their backs to the sea at the small channel of dun kirk. one of the greatest disasters in history seemed in the making. an entire british army face the a nilation. fishing boats, pleasure yachts, anything that would float. the sea going people of britain had come to rescue their army. high over head, british fighter planes brought the water to a
stand still. they held the german units off long enough for the miracle of dun kirk to take place. 211,500 british troops, that's 112,000 french and belgian were rescued. over 300,000 battle tested men dermed to go back with better tools, new weapons to blast the hated nazis out of this world. for free men are like rubber balls. the harder they fall, the higher they bounce. leading the british by this time is a man who had been bouncing all his life, winston churchill, who had tried for years to warn the world about
germany. meantime, the situation that faced france was hopeless. two-5ths of the french army was lost. there were fewer than 50 divisions left. running from the northern end of the maginot line to the sea. behind that line, there were no reserves. despairing people of paris sent their children south praying that some miracle would keep them from harm. the hopeless men of the french army without adequate arms or blow. >> the first blow fell on june 5th. the french resistance was determined, but by june 8th, the left flank army had been shattered and a general was ordered to the line -- on june
9th, the german main attack came. within two days, the german armored and motorized divisions brought out into the open terrain. with this break through, the issue of the battle of france was decided and from that time on, there was official talk of anar mist is. now what about the famous maginot line? let's go back and take a look. on june 14th, the germans launched two attacks against the line. we must remember this was against fortifications defended by men devoid of hope. >> in the meantime, mysoliny now thinking it's safe, sent his division racing across the border. >> the hand that held the dagger has stuck it into the
back of its neighbor. >> organized resistance in france was no longer possible. the government faced two alternatives: retire to north africa and carry on from there or give up the struggle. france's leaders were old and tired. of the oldest and most tired was marshal patan. egged on like [indiscernible] who saw in a german victory his chance for power. the news is carried to hitler who received this word of a great nation's fall in a characteristic manner. also characteristic were his terms for the armistice. it must be signed in the coach where marshal farsh defeated
the germans -- met the germans in the last war. the french delegation arrived to pay the final price of french disunity and the treachery of some of its leaders. the final price, a price that for centuries to come, the french won't forget. more than three-5ths of their country was to be blacked out by a military occupation. the remainder was to be controlled by's french government acceptable to hitler. a tax of 4 million franks a day was to be imposed to the
people. nearly 2 million french prisoners of war were to be taken into germany and kept there as hostages, to work as slaves or rot of hunger, tuberculosis or other diseases in concentration camps. men deliberately and permanently separated from their families in order to decrease the french birth rate and eliminate france as a world power in future generations. french civilians, men, women and children must slave on farm or in factory for the nazi master race or starve. there will be a class of subject alien races. we need not hesitate to call them slaves. french children were to grow up on such inadequate food that many would reach the age of 12 before they grew new teeth. and for any attempts to protest
against these restrictions, thousands of innocent french civilians would be executed. this was the price the french were to pay as they signed the armistice. and the master of the master race must go to paris to tour the streets of what was once the city of light. you notice no cheering crowds here to welcome in the new order. when the people of paris come to the streets again, it is to hear the voice of dictators telling them what they must do. how they must live. what they must say. what they must think. telling them how to be slaves. gone is the republic of france.
gone is free speech and a free representative government. gone it liberty, equality, fraternity. these are the french. with their ears they listen but their minds and their hearts, these are down on the mediterranean where the battle -- of the regs are being taken to africa. the people -- a rallying point. charles degall, a soldier is not surrendering. he will continue to fight. gathering about him loyal french men from all over the world to become the free french army. the fighting french. yes, the people weep as they watch their colors go, not knowing that two years later, those same flags would again be unfurled in north africa along
side the stars and stripes, along side the union jack. once more, their leaders, general degall and the famous general girot stand united with the leaders of their allies. once more -- ashes of the defeat and the humiliation of france, her soul has been born again. sunday night on afterward, former secretary of state john
kerry discusses his -- wilson center, jane harmon. >> john and i were flying to kuwait on an airplane. we didn't know each other very well at all, but we were sitting opposite each other by seniority. but it worked because it brought us together and we had a conversation into the night talking about annapolis and his father and grandparents, his family and his own service and his time as a prisoner and he wanted to learn more about what happened with us and how we fought and what it was like and so forth. and we -- we pledged to each other right then that the country was still true divided over the war. that we thought we needed to find a way to not just make peace with vietnam, but make peace at home. >> watch afterwards sunday night on c span.
>> explain how it defines the american experience. we are awarding $100,000 in total cash prizes. this year's deadline is january 20, 2019. for more information, go to our website. by the summer of 1940, germany had conquered most of western europe and hitler and his generals were planning to invade england. next, a look at the battle of britain. the fourth film of the