An assault gun is a form of self-propelled artillery which uses an infantry support gun mounted on a motorized chassis an armored fighting vehicle. Assault guns are designed to provide direct fire support for infantry attacks against other infantry or fortified positions; the term is a literal translation of the German word Sturmgeschütz, applied to the first purpose-built assault gun, the StuG III, in 1940. The concept of assault guns was similar to that of the infantry tank, as both were combat vehicles intended to accompany infantry formations into battle. However, during World War II assault guns were more mobile than tanks and could be utilized as both direct and indirect fire artillery. Although they could approximate the firepower of a tank, assault guns fired high explosive shells at low velocities, which were well suited for their role of knocking out hard points such as fortified positions and buildings, they were not intended to be dedicated tank destroyers. As the conflict progressed, the increasing proliferation of tanks on the battlefield forced many assault gun units to engage armor in defense of the infantry, led to armies becoming more dependent on multipurpose designs which combined the traditionally separate roles of an assault gun and a tank destroyer.
German and Soviet assault guns introduced during World War II carried their main armament in a enclosed casemate rather than a gun turret. Although this limited the field of fire and traverse of the armament, it had the advantage of a reduced silhouette and simplified the manufacturing process; the United States never developed a purpose-built assault gun during the war, although it did modify preexisting armored fighting vehicles for that role, including the M4 Sherman and M5 Stuart tanks and the M3 Half-track. The assault gun concept was abandoned during the postwar era in favor of tanks or multipurpose tank destroyers attached to infantry formations which were capable of providing direct fire support as needed. In the United States and most Western countries, the assault gun ceased to be recognized as a unique niche, with individual examples being classified either as a self-propelled howitzer or a tank; the Soviet Union continued funding development of new assault guns as late as 1967, although few of its postwar designs were adopted in large numbers.
In Soviet and other Eastern European armies, the traditional assault gun was superseded by tank destroyers such as the SU-100 capable of supporting either infantry or armor. Assault guns were used during World War II by the forces of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Early in the war, the Germans began to create makeshift assault guns by mounting their infantry support weapons on the bed of a truck or on obsolete tanks with the turret removed. In the war, both the Germans and the Soviets introduced armoured purpose-built assault guns into their arsenals. Early on, the Soviets built the KV-2, a variant of the KV-1 heavy tank with a short-barrelled 152 mm howitzer mounted in an oversized turret; this was not a success in battle, was replaced with a successful series of turretless assault guns: the SU-76, SU-122, the heavy SU-152, which were followed by the ISU-122 and ISU-152 on the new IS heavy tank chassis. The primary German assault gun was the Sturmgeschütz III. At about the same time as the howitzer-like KwK 37 gun was dropped from the Panzer IV's use, its Sturmkanone equivalent in the StuG III up to that time, was replaced with a longer-barreled, high-velocity dual-purpose 75mm gun, derived from the successful PaK 40 anti-tank towed artillery piece.
The Germans built a number of other armoured turretless assault guns, including the StuG IV, StuIG 33B, Brummbär and Sturmtiger. The latter two were heavy vehicles, were built only in small quantities. Battalions of assault guns StuG IIIs replaced the intended panzer battalion in the German panzergrenadier divisions due to the chronic shortage of tanks, were sometimes used as makeshifts in the panzer divisions. Independent battalions were deployed as "stiffeners" for infantry divisions, the StuG III's anti-tank capabilities bolstered dwindling tank numbers on the Eastern and Western fronts. US and UK forces deployed vehicles designed for a close support role, but these were conventional tanks whose only significant modification was the replacement of the main gun with a howitzer. Two versions of the American Sherman tank were armed with the M4 105 mm howitzer, the M4 and the M4A3; the M8 Scott, based on the chassis of the M5 Stuart light tank, was an assault cannon and carried a 75 mm short howitzer.
The Churchill and Cromwell tanks were all produced in versions armed with 95 mm howitzers: the Churchill Mark V and Mark VIII, the Centaur Mark IV and the Cromwell Mark VI. Earlier British tanks, such as the Crusader cruiser tank and the Matilda II Infantry tank were produced in versions armed with the 3-inch howitzer. American tank destroyer units were used in the assault gun role for infantry support; the AVRE version of the Churchill Tank was armed with a Spigot mortar that fired a 40 lb HE-filled projectile 150 yards. Its task was to attack fortified positions such as bunkers at close range. In the post-WWII era, vehicles fitting into an "assault gun" category were developed as a light-weight, air-deployable, direct fire weapon for use with airborne troops. Current weapons were eithe
Lithuania the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is considered to be one of the Baltic states, it is situated to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019, its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Other major cities are Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Baltic people; the official language, along with Latvian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family. For centuries, the southeastern shores of the Baltic Sea were inhabited by various Baltic tribes. In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas, the King of Lithuania, the first unified Lithuanian state, the Kingdom of Lithuania, was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe. With the Lublin Union of 1569, Lithuania and Poland formed a voluntary two-state personal union, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth lasted more than two centuries, until neighbouring countries systematically dismantled it from 1772 to 1795, with the Russian Empire annexing most of Lithuania's territory. As World War I neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 February 1918, declaring the founding of the modern Republic of Lithuania. In the midst of the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and by Nazi Germany; as World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Baltic state to declare itself independent, resulting in the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania. Lithuania is a developed country, it is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, Schengen Agreement, NATO and OECD. It is a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries; the United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "very high human development" country.
The first known record of the name of Lithuania is in a 9 March 1009 story of Saint Bruno in the Quedlinburg Chronicle. The Chronicle recorded a Latinized form of the name Lietuva: Litua. Due to the lack of reliable evidence, the true meaning of the name is unknown. Nowadays, scholars still debate the meaning of the word and there are a few plausible versions. Since Lietuva has a suffix, the original word should have no suffix. A candidate is Lietā; because many Baltic ethnonyms originated from hydronyms, linguists have searched for its origin among local hydronyms. Such names evolved through the following process: hydronym → toponym → ethnonym. Lietava, a small river not far from Kernavė, the core area of the early Lithuanian state and a possible first capital of the eventual Grand Duchy of Lithuania, is credited as the source of the name. However, the river is small and some find it improbable that such a small and local object could have lent its name to an entire nation. On the other hand, such a naming is not unprecedented in world history.
Artūras Dubonis proposed another hypothesis. From the middle of the 13th century, leičiai were a distinct warrior social group of the Lithuanian society subordinate to the Lithuanian ruler or the state itself; the word leičiai is used in the 14–16th-century historical sources as an ethnonym for Lithuanians and is still used poetically or in historical contexts, in the Latvian language, related to Lithuanian. The first people settled in the territory of Lithuania after the last glacial period in the 10th millennium BC: Kunda and Narva cultures, they did not form stable settlements. In the 8th millennium BC, the climate became much warmer, forests developed; the inhabitants of what is now Lithuania traveled less and engaged in local hunting and fresh-water fishing. Agriculture did not emerge until the 3rd millennium BC due to a harsh climate and terrain and a lack of suitable tools to cultivate the land. Crafts and trade started to form at this time. Over a millennium, the Indo-Europeans, who arrived in the 3rd – 2nd millennium BC, mixed with the local population and formed various Baltic tribes.
The Baltic tribes did not maintain close cultural or political contacts with the Roman Empire, but they did maintain trade contacts. Tacitus, in his study Germania, described the Aesti people, inhabitants of the south-eastern Baltic Sea shores who were Balts, around the year 97 AD; the Western Balts became known to outside chroniclers first. Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD knew of the Galindians and Yotvingians, early medieval chroniclers mentioned Old Prussians and Semigallians; the Lithuanian language is considered to be conservative for its close connection to Indo-European roots. It is believed to have differentiated from the Latvian language, the most related existing language, around the 7th century. Traditional Lithuanian pagan customs and mythology, with many archaic elements, were long preserved. Rulers' bodies were cremated up until the conversion to Christianity: the descriptions of the cremation ceremonies of the grand d
German Army (1935–1945)
The German Army was the land forces component of the Wehrmacht, the regular German Armed Forces, from 1935 until it was demobilized and dissolved in August 1946. During World War II, a total of about 13 million soldiers served in the German Army. Germany's army personnel were made up of conscripts. Only 17 months after Adolf Hitler announced publicly the rearmament program, the Army reached its projected goal of 36 divisions. During the autumn of 1937 two more corps were formed. In 1938 four additional corps were formed with the inclusion of the five divisions of the Austrian Army after the Anschluss in March. During the period of its expansion under Hitler, the German Army continued to develop concepts pioneered during World War I, combining ground and air assets into combined arms forces. Coupled with operational and tactical methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed quick victories in the two initial years of World War II, a new style of warfare described as Blitzkrieg for its speed and destructive power.
The infantry remained foot soldiers throughout the war. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, were cited as the main reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland and Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands, Yugoslavia and the initial stages of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union; however their motorized and tank formations accounted for only 20% of the Heer's capacity at their peak strength. The army's lack of trucks limited infantry movement during and after the Normandy invasion when Allied air-power devastated the French rail network north of the Loire. Panzer movements depended on rail, since driving a tank long distances wore out its tracks; the Oberkommando des Heeres was Germany's Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. In theory the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht served as the military General Staff for the German Reich's armed forces, coordinating the Wehrmacht operations. In practice OKW acted in a subordinate role as Hitler's personal military staff, translating his ideas into military plans and orders, issuing them to the three services.
However, as the war progressed the OKW found itself exercising increasing amounts of direct command authority over military units in the west. This created a situation where by 1943 the OKW was the de facto command of Western Theatre forces while the Army High Command was the same on the Eastern Front; the Abwehr was the Army intelligence organization from 1921 to 1944. The term Abwehr had been created just after World War I as an ostensible concession to Allied demands that Germany's intelligence activities be for defensive purposes only. After 4 February 1938, the Abwehr's name was changed to the Overseas Department/Office in Defence of the Armed Forces High Command. Nazi Germany used the system of military districts to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible, to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the field forces; the method OKW adopted was to separate the Field Army from the Home Command, to entrust the responsibilities of training, conscription and equipment to Home Command.
The German Army was structured in Army groups consisting of several armies that were relocated, restructured or renamed in the course of the war. Forces or allied states as well as units made up of non-Germans were assigned to German units. For Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the Army forces were assigned to three strategic campaign groupings: Army Group North with Leningrad as its campaign objective Army Group Centre with Smolensk as its campaign objective Army Group South with Kiev as its campaign objectiveBelow the army group level forces included Field armies –, panzer groups, which became army level formations themselves and divisions; the army used the German term Kampfgruppe which equates to the English'combat group' or battle group. These provisional combat groupings ranged from an Army Corps size such as Army Detachment Kempf to commands composed of several companies and platoons, they were named for their commanding officers. German operational doctrine emphasized sweeping pincer and lateral movements meant to destroy the enemy forces as as possible.
This approach, referred to as Blitzkrieg, was an operational doctrine instrumental in the success of the offensives in Poland and France. Blitzkrieg has been considered by many historians as having its roots in precepts developed by Fuller, Liddel-Hart and von Seeckt, having ancient prototypes practiced by Alexander, Genghis Khan and Napoleon. Recent studies of the Battle of France suggest that the actions of either Rommel or Guderian or both of them, ignoring orders of superiors who had never foreseen such spectacular successes and thus prepared much more prudent plans, were conflated into a purposeful doctrine and created the first archetype of blitzkrieg, which gained a fearsome reputati
The Don is one of the major Eurasian rivers of Russia and the fifth-longest river in Europe. The Don basin is between the Dnieper basin to the west, the Volga basin to the east, the Oka basin to the north; the Don rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast of Tula, flows for a distance of about 1,870 kilometres to the Sea of Azov. From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh southwest to its mouth; the main city on the river is Rostov on Don. Its main tributary is the Seversky Donets. According to the Kurgan hypothesis, the Volga-Don river region was the homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans c. 4000BC. The Don river functioned as a fertile cradle of civilization where the Neolithic farmer culture of the Near East fused with the hunter-gatherer culture of Siberian groups, resulting in the nomadic pastoralism of the Proto-Indo-Europeans. In antiquity, the river was viewed as the border between Europe and Asia by some ancient Greek geographers. In the Book of Jubilees, it is mentioned as being part of the border, beginning with its easternmost point up to its mouth, between the allotments of sons of Noah, that of Japheth to the north and that of Shem to the south.
During the times of the old Scythians it was known in Greek as the Tanaïs and has been a major trading route since. Tanais appears in ancient Greek sources as both the name of the river and of a city on it, situated in the Maeotian marshes. Pliny gives the Scythian name of the Tanais as Silys. According to Plutarch, the Don River was home to the legendary Amazons of Greek mythology; the area around the estuary is speculated to be the source of the Black Death. While the lower Don was well known to ancient geographers, its middle and upper reaches were not mapped with any accuracy before the gradual conquest of the area by Muscovy in the 16th century; the Don Cossacks, who settled the fertile valley of the river in the 16th and 17th centuries, were named after the river. The fort of Donkov was founded by the princes of Ryazan in the late 14th century; the fort stood on the left bank of the Don, about 34 kilometers from the modern town of Dankov, until 1568, when it was destroyed by the Crimean Tatars, but soon restored at a better fortified location.
It is shown as Donko in Mercator's Atlas, Donkov was again relocated in 1618, appearing as Donkagorod in Joan Blaeu's map of 1645. Both Blaeu and Mercator follow the 16th-century cartographic tradition of letting the Don originate in a great lake, labelled Resanskoy ozera by Blaeu. Mercator still follows Giacomo Gastaldo in showing a waterway connecting this lake to Ryazan and the Oka River. Mercator shows Mtsensk as a great city on this waterway, suggesting a system of canals connecting the Don with the Zusha and Upa centered on a settlement Odoium, reported as Odoium lacum in the map made by Baron Augustin von Mayerberg, leader of an embassy to Muscovy in 1661. In modern literature, the Don region was featured in the work And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, a Nobel-prize winning writer from the stanitsa of Veshenskaya. At its easternmost point, the Don comes near the Volga, the Volga-Don Canal, connecting the two rivers, is a major waterway; the water level of the Don in this area is raised by the Tsimlyansk Dam, forming the Tsimlyansk Reservoir.
For the next 130 kilometres below the Tsimlyansk Dam, the sufficient water depth in the Don River is maintained by the sequence of three dam-and-ship-lock complexes: the Nikolayevsky Ship Lock, Konstantinovsk Ship Lock, the best known of the three, the Kochetovsky Ship Lock. The Kochetovsky Lock, built in 1914–1919 and doubled in 2004–2008, is 7.5 kilometres below the fall of the Seversky Donets into the Don, 131 kilometres upstream of Rostov-on-Don, the Kochetovsky Ship Lock is located. This facility, with its dam, maintains sufficient water level both in its section of the Don and in the lowermost stretch of the Seversky Donets; this is presently the last lock on the Don. In order to improve shipping conditions in the lower reaches of the Don, the waterway authorities support the proposals for the construction of one or two more low dams with locks, in Bagayevsky District and also in Aksaysky District. Main tributaries from source to mouth: Krasivaya Mecha Bystraya Sosna Veduga Voronezh Tikhaya Sosna Bityug Black Kalitva Khopyor – 1,010 kilometres Medveditsa Ilovlya Chir Seversky Donets – 1,053 kilometres Aidar – 264 kilometres Sal Manych Aksay Temernik Don goat And Quiet Flows The Don Rostov railway drawbridge Don at GEOnet Names Server
4th Panzer Division (Wehrmacht)
The 4th Panzer Division was an armored division in the German Army, the Wehrmacht, during World War II, established in 1938. It participated in the 1939 invasion of Poland, the 1940 invasion of France, the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, it remained on the Eastern Front under Army Group Centre, until it was trapped on the coast at Courland in the summer of 1944. It was evacuated by sea and returned to the main front in West Prussia in January 1945, it surrendered to the Soviets there at the end of the war. During the Polish campaign, one Jewish historian claims that the division engaged in a series of massacres against the civilian population and POWs; the 4th Panzer Division was formed in Würzburg, Bavaria, on 10 November 1938 as the first of a second wave of new armoured divisions in Germany following the creation of the original three tank divisions in 1935. Alongside the 4th Panzer Division the 5th was formed at Oppeln, now Opole in Poland, five days later. Würzburg had been the garrison town for the 2nd Panzer Division which had moved its headquarters to Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938.
At the beginning of the Invasion of Poland, the division was one of the first to cross the border in the operational area of Army Group South. Equipped with 341 tanks, including 183 Panzer I, 130 Panzer II, 12 Panzer IV and 16 PzBef; the division lacked some infantry and anti-tank units.. After supporting 1st Panzer, the division took part in the break-through of the Polish lines near Kłobuck, the Poles withdrew. Three days the 4th Panzer Division continued its move towards Warsaw, it tried to take the city by surprise. At 17.00, the forces of the 4th Panzer Division supported by the 31st Infantry Division attempted an assault on Warsaw's western borough of Ochota. The assault was repulsed and the German forces suffered heavy casualties; the following day, the division was reinforced with artillery and the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler motorised infantry regiment, began another assault towards Ochota and Wola. Well-placed Polish anti-tank guns and barricades erected on main streets repulsed this assault.
On several occasions, the lack of armament on the Polish side was made up for by ingenuity. One of the streets leading towards the city centre was covered with turpentine from a nearby factory; when German tanks approached, the liquid was set on fire, the tanks were destroyed without a shot being fired. The German forces had to retreat. After the failed assault on Warsaw, 4th Panzer Division was withdrawn westward and took part in the Battle of the Bzura, where it supported a German counter-attack. Polish-Jewish historian, Szymon Datner, stated that on 18 September, in the village of Śladów, units of the 4th Panzer Division shot or drowned 252 prisoners of war and 106 civilians in the Vistula. After that it was withdrawn to the Niederrhein. During the Battle of France in 1940, the division came under the command of Erich Hoepner's XVI Panzer Corps, part of von Kleist's Panzer Group in the 6th Army commanded by Walther von Reichenau. After a blitzkrieg assault through Liege and Charleroi, it reached the area of Bethune, where it fought against the British Expeditionary Force in what became known as the battle of Dunkirk.
However, due to Adolf Hitler's orders, it did not manage to capture Dunkirk itself. In early June 1940, the division managed to cross a large part of France in several days. By the time that the cease fire was signed, it had reached Grenoble unopposed. After several months of occupation duty in France, in late November, the 4th Division was withdrawn to Würzburg, where it was reorganized and reinforced; the 36th Panzer Regiment was detached and assigned to the newly formed 14th Panzer Division, while the 103rd Artillery Regiment was reinforced with a third battalion. The division was moved to East Prussia and to the area of Brześć Litewski in occupied Poland, where it was assigned to the XXIV Panzer Corps under Geyr von Schweppenburg. On 22 June 1941, it took part in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. During the first day, the division managed to drive a wedge into the Soviet positions and reached Kobryń some 65 kilometres behind the lines; the division spearheaded one of the pincer moves to surround and destroy a large Soviet force in the battle of Minsk, where the German army took 300,000 prisoners.
After the battle of Homel it reached Kiev. In September 1941, the division was attached to Army Group Centre, preparing to take part in the battle of Moscow; the assault started on 30 September 1941, the division captured Orel in early October but was ambushed on the road to Mtsensk by 1st Guards Rifle Corps on the 6th of that month. Attempts by the outclassed Panzers to maneuver round the Soviet flanks were defeated with heavy loss as the soviet T-34s savaged the underarmored Mark IV tanks, reducing much of the divisional armor to burned out, smoking wreckage by end of day; the advance resumed with growing loss and in late October Heinz Guderian concentrated most of the 2nd Panzer groups' remaining tanks into a single brigade under the 4th Panzer division, the spearhead of the XXIV Panzer Corps. By mid-November it was down to 50 tanks but still ground on reaching Tula, as the southern arm of a pincer which tried to surround the Soviet capital; the Germans formations were paralysed when the autumn rains set in, turning the only road to Tula into a stretch of mud.
Bogged down German tanks were attacked by Soviet aircraft. With the onset of frost in early November, the Germans could use the roads again, but faced the problem of not being equipped for winter warfare. Warm clo
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National