Thuringia the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany. Thuringia is located in central Germany covering an area of 16,171 square kilometres and a population of 2.15 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest German state by area and the fifth smallest by population. Erfurt is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Jena and Weimar. Thuringia is surrounded by the states of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony. Most of Thuringia is within the watershed of the Saale, a left tributary of the Elbe, has been known as "the green heart of Germany" from the late 19th century due to the dense forest covering the land. Thuringia is home to the Rennsteig, Germany's most well-known hiking trail, the winter resort of Oberhof, making it a well-known winter sports destination with half of Germany's 136 Winter Olympic gold medals won through 2014 having been won by Thuringian athletes. Thuringia is home to prominent German intellectuals and creative artists, including Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, is location of the University of Jena, the Ilmenau University of Technology, the University of Erfurt, the Bauhaus University of Weimar.
Thuringia was established in 1920 as a state of the Weimar Republic from a merger of the Ernestine duchies, except for Saxe-Coburg, but can trace its origins to the Frankish Duchy of Thuringia established around 631 AD by King Dagobert I. After World War II, Thuringia came under the Soviet occupation zone in Allied-occupied Germany, its borders altered to become contiguous. Thuringia became part of the German Democratic Republic in 1947, but was dissolved in 1952 during administrative reforms, its territory divided into the districts of Erfurt and Gera. Thuringia was re-established in 1990 following German reunification, with different borders, became one of the Federal Republic of Germany's new states; the name Thuringia or Thüringen derives from the Germanic tribe Thuringii, who emerged during the Migration Period. Their origin is unknown. An older theory claims that they were successors of the Hermunduri, but research rejected the idea. Other historians argue that the Thuringians were allies of the Huns, came to central Europe together with them, lived before in what is Galicia today.
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus first mentioned the Thuringii around 400. The Thuringian Realm existed until after 531, the Landgraviate of Thuringia was the largest state in the region, persisting between 1131 and 1247. Afterwards the state known as Thuringia ceased to exist. After the Treaty of Leipzig, Thuringia had its own dynasty again, the Ernestine Wettins, their various lands formed the Free State of Thuringia, founded in 1920, together with some other small principalities. The Prussian territories around Erfurt, Mühlhausen and Nordhausen joined Thuringia in 1945; the coat of arms of Thuringia shows the lion of the Ludowingian Landgraves of 12th-century origin. The eight stars around it represent the eight former states; the flag of Thuringia is a white-red bicolor, derived from the white and red stripes of the Ludowingian lion. The coat of arms and flag of Hesse are quite similar to the Thuringian ones, because they are derived from the Ludowingian symbols. Symbols of Thuringia in popular culture are the Bratwurst and the Forest, because a large amount of the territory is forested.
Named after the Thuringii tribe who occupied it around AD 300, Thuringia came under Frankish domination in the 6th century. Thuringia became a landgraviate in 1130 AD. After the extinction of the reigning Ludowingian line of counts and landgraves in 1247 and the War of the Thuringian Succession, the western half became independent under the name of "Hesse", never to become a part of Thuringia again. Most of the remaining Thuringia came under the rule of the Wettin dynasty of the nearby Margraviate of Meissen, the nucleus of the Electorate and Kingdom of Saxony. With the division of the house of Wettin in 1485, Thuringia went to the senior Ernestine branch of the family, which subsequently subdivided the area into a number of smaller states, according to the Saxon tradition of dividing inheritance amongst male heirs; these were the "Saxon duchies", among others, of the states of Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Eisenach, Saxe-Jena, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg, Saxe-Gotha. Thuringia accepted the Protestant Reformation, Roman Catholicism was suppressed as early as 1520.
In Mühlhausen and elsewhere, the Anabaptists found many adherents. Thomas Müntzer, a leader of some non-peaceful groups of this sect, was active in this city. Within the borders of modern Thuringia the Roman Catholic faith only survived in the Eichsfeld district, ruled by the Archbishop of Mainz, to a small degree in Erfurt and its immediate vicinity; the modern German black-red-gold tricolour flag's first appearance anywhere in a German-ethnicity sovereign state, within what today comprises Germany, occurred in 1778 as the state flag of the Principality of Reuss-Greiz, a principality whose lands were located within m
Saarland is a state of Germany. Saarland is located in western Germany covering an area of 2,570 km2 and a population of 995,600, the smallest German state in both area and population apart from the city-states of Berlin and Hamburg. Saarbrücken is the state capital and largest city, while other major cities include Neunkirchen and Saarlouis. Saarland is surrounded by France to the west and south and the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate to the north and east. Saarland was established in 1920 after World War I as the Territory of the Saar Basin, formed from land of Prussia and Bavaria occupied and governed by France and the United Kingdom under a League of Nations mandate; the industrialized region was economically valuable due to the wealth of its coal deposits and location on the border between France and Germany. Saarland was returned to Nazi Germany in the 1935 Saar status referendum, becoming de jure part of Bavaria and de facto part of Gau Westmark. Following World War II, the French military administration in Allied-occupied Germany organized the territory as the Saar Protectorate from 1947, becoming a protectorate of France, between 1950 and 1956 was a member of the Council of Europe.
Saarland rejected the 1955 Saar Statute referendum, joined the Federal Republic of Germany as a state on 1 January 1957. Saarland used its own currency, the Saar franc, postage stamps issued specially for the territory until 1959; the region of the Saarland was settled by the Celtic tribes of Mediomatrici. The most impressive relic of their time is the remains of a fortress of refuge at Otzenhausen in the north of the Saarland. In the 1st century BC, the Roman Empire made the region part of its province of Belgica; the Celtic population mixed with the Roman immigrants. The region gained wealth, which can still be seen in the remains of Roman villages. Roman rule ended in the 5th century. For the next 1,300 years the region shared the history of the Kingdom of the Franks, the Carolingian Empire and of the Holy Roman Empire; the region of the Saarland was divided into several small territories, some of which were ruled by sovereigns of adjoining regions. Most important of the local rulers were the counts of Nassau-Saarbrücken.
Within the Holy Roman Empire these territories gained a wide range of independence, however, by the French kings, who sought, from the 17th century onwards, to incorporate all the territories on the western side of the river Rhine and invaded the area in 1635, in 1676, in 1679 and in 1734, extending their realm to the Saar River and establishing the city and stronghold of Saarlouis in 1680. It was not the king of France but the armies of the French Revolution who terminated the independence of the states in the region of the Saarland. After 1792 they made it part of the French Republic. While a strip in the west belonged to the Département Moselle, the centre in 1798 became part of the Département de Sarre, the east became part of the Département du Mont-Tonnerre. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the region was divided again. Most of it became part of the Prussian Rhine Province. Another part in the east, corresponding to the present Saarpfalz district, was allocated to the Kingdom of Bavaria.
A small part in the northeast was ruled by the Duke of Oldenburg. On 31 July 1870, the French Emperor Napoleon III ordered an invasion across the River Saar to seize Saarbrücken; the first shots of the Franco-Prussian War 1870/71 were fired on the heights of Spichern, south of Saarbrücken. The Saar region became part of the German Empire which came into existence on 18 January 1871, during the course of this war. In 1920 the Saargebiet was occupied by Britain and France under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles; the occupied area included portions of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Bavarian Rhenish Palatinate. In practice the region was administered by France. In 1920 this was formalized by a 15-year League of Nations mandate. In 1933, a considerable number of communists and other political opponents of National Socialism fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany that remained outside national administration following the First World War; as a result, anti-Nazi groups agitated for the Saarland to remain under French administration.
However, with most of the population being ethnically German, such views were considered suspect or treasonous, therefore found little support. When the original 15-year term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935: 90.8% of those voting favoured rejoining Germany. Following the referendum Josef Bürckel was appointed on 1 March 1935 as the German Reich's commissioner for reintegration; when the reincorporation was considered accomplished, his title was changed to Reichskommissar für das Saarland. In September 1939, in response to the German Invasion of Poland, French forces invaded the Saarland in a half-hearted offensive, occupying some villages and meeting little resistance, before withdrawing. A further change was made after 8 April 1940 to Reichskommissar für die Saarpfalz, he died on 28 September 1944 and was succeeded by Willi Stöhr, who remained in office until the region fell to advancing American forces in March 1945. After World War II, the Saarland came under French occupation and administration again, as the Saar Protectorate.
Under the Monnet Plan France attempted to gain economic control of the German industrial areas with large c
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
A division is a large military unit or formation consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 30,000 in nominal strength. In most armies, a division is composed of several brigades; the division has been the default combined arms unit capable of independent operations. Smaller combined arms units, such as the American regimental combat team during World War II, were used when conditions favored them. In recent times, modern Western militaries have begun adopting the smaller brigade combat team as the default combined arms unit, with the division they belong to being less important. While the focus of this article is on army divisions, in naval usage division has a different meaning, referring to either an administrative/functional sub-unit of a department aboard naval and coast guard ships, shore commands, in naval aviation units, to a sub-unit of several ships within a flotilla or squadron, or to two or three sections of aircraft operating under a designated division leader.
Some languages, like Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Polish, use a similar word divizion/dywizjon for a battalion-size artillery or cavalry unit. In administrative/functional sub-unit usage, unit size varies though divisions number far fewer than 100 people and are equivalent in function and organizational hierarchy/command relationship to a platoon or flight. In the West, the first general to think of organising an army into smaller combined-arms units was Maurice de Saxe, Marshal General of France, in his book Mes Rêveries, he died without having implemented his idea. Victor-François de Broglie put the ideas into practice, he conducted successful practical experiments of the divisional system in the Seven Years' War. The first war in which the divisional system was used systematically was the French Revolutionary War. Lazare Carnot of the Committee of Public Safety, in charge of military affairs, came to the same conclusion about it as the previous royal government, the army was organised into divisions.
It made the armies more flexible and easy to maneuver, it made the large army of the revolution manageable. Under Napoleon, the divisions were grouped together because of their increasing size. Napoleon's military success spread the corps system all over Europe; the divisional system reached its numerical height during the Second World War. The Soviet Union's Red Army consisted of more than a thousand divisional-size units at any one time, the total number of rifle divisions raised during the Great Patriotic War is estimated at 2,000. Nazi Germany had hundreds of numbered and/or named divisions, while the United States employed 91 divisions, two of which were disbanded during the war. A notable change to divisional structures during the war was completion of the shift from square divisions to triangular divisions that many European nations started using in World War I; this was done to pare down chain of command overhead. The triangular division allowed the tactic of "two forward, one back", where two of the division's regiments would be engaging the enemy with one regiment in reserve.
All divisions in World War II were expected to have their own artillery formations the size of a regiment depending upon the nation. Divisional artillery was seconded by corps level command to increase firepower in larger engagements. Regimental combat teams were used by the US during the war as well, whereby attached and/or organic divisional units were parceled out to infantry regiments, creating smaller combined-arms units with their own armor and artillery and support units; these combat teams would still be under divisional command but have some level of autonomy on the battlefield. Organic units within divisions were units which operated directly under Divisional command and were not controlled by the Regiments; these units were support units in nature, include signal companies, medical battalions, supply trains and administration. Attached units were smaller units that were placed under Divisional command temporarily for the purpose of completing a particular mission; these units were combat units such as tank battalions, tank destroyer battalions and cavalry reconnaissance squadrons.
In modern times, most military forces have standardized their divisional structures. This does not mean that divisions are equal in size or structure from country to country, but divisions have, in most cases, come to be units of 10,000 to 20,000 troops with enough organic support to be capable of independent operations; the direct organization of the division consists of one to four brigades or battle groups of its primary combat arm, along with a brigade or regiment of combat support and a number of direct-reporting battalions for necessary specialized support tasks, such as intelligence, logistics and combat engineers. Most militaries standardize ideal organization strength for each type of division, encapsulated in a Table of Organization and Equipment which specifies exact assignments of units and equipment for a division; the modern division became the primary identifiable combat unit in many militaries during the second half of the 20th century, supplanting the brigade.
Army Group Centre
Army Group Centre was the name of two distinct strategic German Army Groups that fought on the Eastern Front in World War II. The first Army Group Centre was created on 22 June 1941, as one of three German Army formations assigned to the invasion of the Soviet Union. On 25 January 1945, after it was encircled in the Königsberg pocket, Army Group Centre was renamed Army Group North, Army Group A became Army Group Centre; the latter formation retained its name until the end of the war in Europe. The commander in chief on the formation of the Army Group Centre was Fedor von Bock. Army Group HQ troops537th Signals Regiment 537th Signals Regiment Panzer Group 2 XXIV Panzer Corps 1st Cav. Div. 3rd Pz, 4th Pz. 10th Mot. Div. 267th IDXLVI Panzer Corps SS "Das Reich" Div. 10th Pz. Inf. Reg. "Gross Deutschland"XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Pz, 18th Pz, 29th Mot. Div. 167th IDXII Army Corps 31st ID, 34th ID, 45th ID 255th ID Panzer Group 3 V Army Corps 5th ID, 35th IDVI Army Corps 6th ID, 26th IDXXXIX Panzer Corps 7th Pz, 20th Pz, 14th Mot.
Div. 20th Mot. Div. LVII Panzer Corps 12th Pz, 18th Pz, 19th Pz4th Army VII Army Corps 7th ID, 23rd ID, 258th ID, 268th ID, 221st Sec. Div. IX Army Corps 137th ID, 263rd ID, 292nd IDXIII Army Corps 17th ID, 78th IDXLIII Army Corps 131st ID, 134th ID, 252nd ID 286th ID 9th Army VIII Army Corps 8th ID, 28th ID, 161st IDXX Army Corps 162nd ID, 256th IDXLII Army Corps 87th ID, 102nd ID, 129th ID 403rd Sec. Div. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany and its Axis allies launched their surprise offensive into the Soviet Union, their armies, totaling over three million men, were to advance in three geographical directions. Army Group Centre's initial strategic goal was to defeat the Soviet armies in Belarus and occupy Smolensk. To accomplish this, the army group planned for a rapid advance using Blitzkrieg operational methods for which purpose it commanded two panzer groups rather than one. A quick and decisive victory over the Soviet Union was expected by mid-November; the Army Group's other operational missions were to support the army groups on its northern and southern flanks, the army group boundary for the being the Pripyat River.
July 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 4th Army, 2nd Panzer Group, z. Vfg. 2nd ArmyAugust 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 2nd Army, Army Group Guderian September 1941 order of battle 3rd Panzer Group, 9th Army, 4th Army, 2nd Panzer Group, 2nd ArmyBitter fighting in the Battle of Smolensk as well as the Lötzen decision delayed the German advance for two months. The advance of Army Group Centre was further delayed as Hitler ordered a postponement of the offensive against Moscow in order to conquer Ukraine first. October 1941 detailed order of battle2nd Army LIII Army Corps 56th ID, 31st ID, 167th IDLXIII Army Corps 52nd ID, 131st IDXIII Army Corps 260th ID, 17th ID Reserve: 112th ID2nd Panzer Army XXXIV Army Corps 45th ID, 134th IDXXXV Army Corps 95th ID, 296th ID, 262nd ID, 293rd IDXLVIII Panzer Corps 9th Pz, 16th Mot. Div. 25th Mot. Div. XXIV Panzer Corps 3rd Pz, 4th Pz, 10th Mot. Div. XLVII Panzer Corps 17th Pz, 18th Pz, 29th Mot. Div.4th Army VII Army Corps 197th ID, 7th ID, 23rd ID, 267th IDXX Army Corps 268th ID, 15th, 78th IDIX Army Corps 137th ID, 263rd ID, 183rd ID, 292nd IDPanzer Group 4, Subordinated to 4th ArmyXII Army Corps 34th ID, 98th IDXL Army Corps 10th Pz, 2nd Pz, 258th IDXLVI Panzer Corps 5th Bz, 11th Pz, 252nd ID LVII Panzer Corps 20th Pz, SS "Das Reich" Mot.
Div. 3rd Mot. Div. 9th Army XXVII Army Corps 255th ID, 162nd ID, 86th IDV Army Corps 5th ID, 35th ID, 106th ID, 129th IDVIII Army Corps 8th ID, 28th ID, 87th IDXXIII Army Corps 251st ID, 102nd ID, 256th ID, 206th ID 161st ID Panzer Group 3, Subordinated to 9th ArmyLVI Panzer Corps 6th Pz, 7th Pz, 14th Mot. Div. XLI Panzer Corps 1st Pz, 36th Mot. Div. VI Army Corps 110th ID, 26th ID, 6th IDNovember 1941 order of battle 2nd Panzer Army, 3rd Panzer Group, 2nd Army, 4th Army, 9th ArmyThe commander in chief as of 19 December 1941 was Günther von Kluge. 1942 opened for Army Group Centre with continuing attacks from Soviet forces around Rzhev. The German Ninth Army was able to repel these attacks and stabilise its front, despite continuing large-scale partisan activity in its rear areas. Meanwhile, the German strategic focus on the Eastern Front shifted to southwestern Russia, with the launching of Operation Blue in June; this operation, aimed at the oilfields in the southwestern Caucasus, involved Army Group South alone, with the other German army groups giving up troops and equipment for the offensive.
Despite the focus on the south, Army Group Centre continued to see fierce fighting throughout the year. While the Soviet attacks in early 1942 had not driven the Germans back, they had resulted in several Red Army units being trapped behind German lines. Eliminating the pockets took until July, the same month in which the Soviets made another attempt to break through the army group's front; the largest Soviet operation in the army group's sector that year, Operation Mars, took place in November. It was launched concurrently with Opera
Operation Little Saturn
Operation Saturn, revised as Operation Little Saturn, was a Red Army operation on the Eastern Front of World War II that led to battles in the North Caucasus and Donets Basin regions of the Soviet Union from December 1942 to February 1943. The success of Operation Uranus, launched on 19 November 1942, had trapped 250,000–300,000 troops of General Friedrich Paulus' German 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army in Stalingrad. To exploit this victory, the Soviet general staff planned a winter campaign of continuous and ambitious offensive operations, codenamed "Saturn". Joseph Stalin reduced his ambitious plans to a small campaign codenamed "Operation Little Saturn"; the offensive succeeded in smashing Germany's Italian and Hungarian allies, applied pressure on the over stretched German forces in Eastern Ukraine and prevented further German advances to the relief of the entrapped forces at Stalingrad. Despite these victories, the Soviets themselves became over extended, setting up the stages for the German offensives of the Third Battle of Kharkov and the Battle of Kursk.
On 17 May 1942, German Army Groups A and B launched a counteroffensive against advancing Soviet armies around the city of Kharkov, resulting in the Second Battle of Kharkov. By 6 July, General Hermann Hoth's Fourth Panzer Army had taken the city of Voronezh, threatening to collapse the Red Army's resistance. By early August, General Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist's First Panzer Army had reached the oil center of Maykop, 500 kilometres south of the city of Rostov, taken by the Fourth Panzer Army on 23 July; the rapid German advance threatened to cut the Soviet Union off from its southern territories, while threatening to cut the lend-lease supply lines from Persia. However, the offensive began to peter out, as the offensive's supply train struggled to keep up with the advance and spearhead units began to run low on fuel and manpower. Operation Uranus was the codename of the Soviet strategic operation in World War II which led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army and Fourth Romanian armies, portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army.
The operation formed part of the ongoing Battle of Stalingrad, was aimed at destroying German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced as early as September 1942, was developed with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center and German forces in the Caucasus; the Red Army took advantage of the fact that German forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched around Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian armies to guard their flanks. These Axis armies were deployed in open positions on the steppe and lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor. Operation Winter Storm, undertaken between 12–23 December 1942, was the German Fourth Panzer Army's attempt to relieve encircled Axis forces during the Battle of Stalingrad. In late November, the Red Army completed Operation Uranus, which resulted in the encirclement of Axis personnel in and around the city of Stalingrad. German forces within the Stalingrad Pocket and directly outside were reorganized under Army Group Don, under the command of Field Marshal Erich von Manstein.
As the Red Army continued to build strength, in an effort to allocate as many resources as possible to the eventual launch of the planned Operation Saturn, which aimed to isolate Army Group A from the rest of the German Army, the Luftwaffe had begun an attempt to supply German forces in Stalingrad through an air bridge. However, as the Luftwaffe proved incapable of carrying out its mission and it became more obvious that a successful breakout could only occur if it was launched as early as possible, Manstein decided to plan and launch a dedicated relief effort. After the defeat of the Romanian Army around Stalingrad and the successful encirclement of the German Sixth Army, Stalin started a counter-offensive nicknamed "Operation Little Saturn" in order to enlarge the area controlled by the Soviet Army in eastern Ukraine until Kharkov and Rostov. Zhukov states the South-Western Front was assigned a mission in which the 1st and 3rd Guard armies and the 5th Tank Army "were to strike out in the general direction of Morozovsk and destroy the enemy grouping in that sector."
They would be supported by the 6th Army of the Voronezh Front. The first stage — an attempt to cut off the German Army Group A in the Caucasus — had to be revised when General Erich von Manstein launched Operation Winter Storm on 12 December in an attempt to relieve the trapped armies at Stalingrad. While General Rodion Malinovsky's Soviet 2nd Guards Army blocked the German advance on Stalingrad, the modified plan Operation Little Saturn was launched on 16 December; this operation consisted of a pincer movement. General Fyodor Isidorovich Kuznetsov's 1st Guards Army and General Dmitri Danilovich Lelyushenko's 3rd Guards Army attacked from the north, encircling 130,000 soldiers of the Italian 8th Army on the Don and advancing to Millerovo; the Italians resisted the Soviet attack for nearly two weeks, although outnumbered 9 to 1 in some sectors, but with huge losses. Manstein sent the 6th Panzer Division to the Italians' aid: of the 130,000 encircled troops, only 45,000 survived after bloody fighting to join the Panzers at Chertkovo on 17 January.
To the south the advance of General Gerasimenko's 28th Army threatened to encircle the 1st Panzer Army and General Trufanov's 51st Army attacked the relief column directly. In a dar
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