Air raids on Japan
Allied forces conducted many air raids on Japan during World War II, causing extensive destruction to the countrys cities and killing between 241,000 and 900,000 people. During the first years of the Pacific War these attacks were limited to the Doolittle Raid in April 1942, Strategic bombing raids began in June 1944 and continued until the end of the war in August 1945. Allied naval and land-based tactical air units attacked Japan during 1945, the United States military air campaign waged against Japan began in earnest in mid-1944 and intensified during the wars last months. While plans for attacks on Japan had been prepared prior to the Pacific War, from June 1944 until January 1945, B-29s stationed in India staged through bases in China to make a series of raids on Japan, but this effort proved unsuccessful. The strategic bombing campaign was expanded from November 1944 when bases in the Mariana Islands became available as a result of the Mariana Islands Campaign. Aircraft flying from Allied aircraft carriers and the Ryukyu Islands frequently struck targets in Japan during 1945 in preparation for the invasion of Japan scheduled for October 1945.
During early August 1945, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were struck, Japans military and civil defenses were unable to stop the Allied attacks. Fuel shortages, inadequate training, and a lack of coordination between units constrained the effectiveness of the fighter force. Despite the vulnerability of Japanese cities to firebombing attacks, the firefighting services lacked training and equipment, as a result, the B-29s were able to inflict severe damage on urban areas while suffering few losses. The Allied bombing campaign was one of the factors which influenced the Japanese governments decision to surrender in mid-August 1945. However, there has been a debate over the morality of the attacks on Japanese cities. The most commonly cited estimate of Japanese casualties from the raids is 333,000 killed and 473,000 wounded, there are a number of other estimates of total fatalities, which range from 241,000 to 900,000. In addition to the loss of civilian life, the raids contributed to a large decline in industrial production.
The United States Army Air Corps began developing plans for an air campaign against Japan during 1940. The first American Volunteer Group began operations as part of the Chinese Air Force in late 1941 using P-40 Warhawk fighter aircraft, a second American Volunteer Group was formed in late 1941 to attack Japan from bases in China using Hudson and A-20 Havoc medium bombers. The attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 led to hostilities between the US and Japan and ended the need for covert operations and this unit did not become active. The small number of Second Air Volunteer Group personnel who were dispatched from the United States in November 1941 were diverted to Australia upon the outbreak of war. Before the outbreak of war, the USAAF had planned to bomb Japan from Wake Island, the Philippines and coastal areas in China
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdoms aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. The RAF describe its mission statement as, an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, and that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission. The mission statement is supported by the RAFs definition of air power, Air power is defined as the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events. Today the Royal Air Force maintains a fleet of various types of aircraft. The majority of the RAFs rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces, most of the RAFs aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. It was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps, at that time it was the largest air force in the world.
The RAFs naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924, the RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War. The RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed Article XV squadrons for service with RAF formations. Many individual personnel from countries, and exiles from occupied Europe. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe, the largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command.
Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, during the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Before Britain developed its own nuclear weapons the RAF was provided with American nuclear weapons under Project E and these were initially armed with nuclear gravity bombs, being equipped with the Blue Steel missile. Following the development of the Royal Navys Polaris submarines, the nuclear deterrent passed to the navys submarines on 30 June 1969. With the introduction of Polaris, the RAFs strategic nuclear role was reduced to a tactical one and this tactical role was continued by the V bombers into the 1980s and until 1998 by Tornado GR1s. For much of the Cold War the primary role of the RAF was the defence of Western Europe against potential attack by the Soviet Union, with many squadrons based in West Germany. With the decline of the British Empire, global operations were scaled back, despite this, the RAF fought in many battles in the Cold War period
Heinkel He 111
The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. The bomber fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its defensive armament was exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne, as the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European theatre. The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified, but became obsolete during the part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realised, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics, production of the Heinkel continued after the war as the Spanish-built CASA2.111. Spain received a batch of He 111H-16s in 1943 along with an agreement to licence-build Spanish versions and its airframe was produced in Spain under licence by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA.
The design differed significantly in powerplant only, eventually being equipped with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, the Heinkels descendant continued in service until 1973. After its defeat in World War I, Germany was banned from operating an air force by the Treaty of Versailles, German re-armament began earnestly in the 1930s and was initially kept secret because it violated the treaty. The early development of military bombers was disguised as a development program for civilian transport aircraft, among the designers seeking to benefit from German re-armament was Ernst Heinkel. Heinkel decided to create the worlds fastest passenger aircraft, a goal met with scepticism by Germanys aircraft industry, Heinkel entrusted development to Siegfried and Walter Günter, both fairly new to the company and untested. In June 1933 Albert Kesselring visited Heinkels offices, Kesselring was head of the Luftwaffe Administration Office, at that point Germany did not have a State Aviation Ministry but only an aviation commissariat, the Luftfahrtkommissariat.
Kesselring was hoping to build a new air force out of the Flying Corps being constructed in the Reichswehr, Heinkel began work on the new design, which garnered urgency as the American Lockheed 12, Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2 began to appear. Features of the He 111 were apparent in the Heinkel He 70, the first single-engined He 70 Blitz rolled off the line in 1932 and immediately started breaking records. In the normal four-passenger version its speed reached 380 km/h when powered by a 447 kW BMW VI engine, the He 70 was designed with an elliptical wing, which the Günther brothers had already incorporated into the Bäumer Sausewind before they joined Heinkel. This wing design became a feature in this and many subsequent designs they developed, the He 70 drew the interest of the Luftwaffe, which was looking for an aircraft with both bomber and transport capabilities. When the Dornier Do 17 displaced the He 70, Heinkel needed a design to match its competitors
Bombing of Dresden in World War II
The bombing and the resulting firestorm destroyed over 1,600 acres of the city centre. An estimated 22,700 to 25,000 people were killed, three more USAAF air raids followed, two occurring on 2 March aimed at the citys railroad marshaling yard and one small raid on 17 April aimed at industrial areas. Immediate German propaganda claims following the attacks and post-war discussions on whether the attacks were justified has led to the bombing becoming one of the moral causes célèbres of the war. Several researchers have asserted that not all of the infrastructure, such as the bridges, was targeted. Large variations in the death toll have fueled the controversy. In March 1945, the German government ordered its press to publish a falsified casualty figure of 200,000 for the Dresden raids, and death toll estimates as high as 500,000 have been given. The city authorities at the time estimated no more than 25,000 victims, the Red Army had launched their Silesian Offensives into pre-war German territory.
The German army was retreating on all fronts, but still resisting strongly, on 8 February 1945, the Red Army crossed the Oder River, with positions just 70 km from Berlin. Alternatively, the report warned that the Germans might hold out until November if they could prevent the Soviets from taking Silesia, any assistance provided to the Soviets on the Eastern Front could shorten the war. At the time of bombing, the Soviets were conducting their Lower Silesian Offensive, plans for a large and intense aerial bombing of Berlin and the other eastern cities had been discussed under the code name Operation Thunderclap in mid-1944, but had been shelved on 16 August. These were now re-examined, and the decision was made to draw up a limited operation. That evening Churchill asked the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair and he mentioned that aircraft diverted to such raids should not be taken away from the current primary tasks of destroying oil production facilities, jet aircraft factories, and submarine yards.
Pray report to me tomorrow what is going to be done, attacks there, where main railway junctions, telephone systems, city administration and utilities were located, would result in chaos. Ostensibly, Britain had learned this after the Coventry Blitz, when loss of this crucial infrastructure had supposedly longer-lasting effects than attacks on war plants. In response, Chief of the British Air Staff Portal, who was in Yalta, bottomleys list included oil plants and aircraft factories and the cities of Berlin and Dresden. Dresden was Germanys seventh-largest city and, according to the RAF at the time, according to some historians, the contribution of Dresden to the German war effort may not have been as significant as the planners thought. The US Air Force Historical Division wrote a report in response to the concern about the bombing - the report remained classified until December 1978. This said that there were 110 factories and 50,000 workers in the city supporting the German war effort at the time of the raid and it said there were barracks, hutted camps, and a munitions storage depot
In polymer chemistry and materials science, resin is a solid or highly viscous substance of plant or synthetic origin that is typically convertible into polymers. They are often mixtures of compounds, principally terpenes. Many plants, particularly woody plants, produce resin in response to injury, the resin acts as a bandage protecting the plant from invading insects and pathogens. Plants secrete resins and rosins for their protective benefits, the resin produced by most plants is composed mainly of terpenes and derivatives. Some resins contain a proportion of resin acids. The individual components of resin can be separated by fractional distillation, rosins on the other hand are less volatile and consist, inter alia, of diterpenes. Amber is fossil resin from coniferous and other tree species, kauri gum and other resins may be found as subfossil deposits. Subfossil copal can be distinguished from genuine fossil amber because it becomes tacky when a drop of a solvent such as acetone or chloroform is placed on it, african copal and the kauri gum of New Zealand are procured in a semi-fossil condition.
Solidified resin from which the volatile terpene components have been removed by distillation is known as rosin, typical rosin is a transparent or translucent mass, with a vitreous fracture and a faintly yellow or brown colour, non-odorous or having only a slight turpentine odor and taste. Rosin is insoluble in water, mostly soluble in alcohol, essential oils and hot fatty oils, and softens and melts under the influence of heat, rosin consists of a complex mixture of different substances including organic acids named the resin acids. These are closely related to the terpenes, and derive from them through partial oxidation, Resin acids can be dissolved in alkalis to form resin soaps, from which the purified resin acids are regenerated by treatment with acids. Examples of resin acids are abietic acid, C20H30O2, plicatic acid contained in cedar, and pimaric acid, C20H30O2, a constituent of galipot resin. Abietic acid can be extracted from rosin by means of hot alcohol, it crystallizes in leaflets, pimaric acid closely resembles abietic acid into which it passes when distilled in a vacuum, it has been supposed to consist of three isomers.
Rosin is obtained from pines and some plants, mostly conifers. Propolis, consisting largely of resins collected from such as poplars and conifers, is used by honey bees to seal gaps in their hives. Shellac and lacquer are examples of insect-derived resins and Utah resin are petroleum bitumens, not a product secreted by plants, although it was ultimately derived from plants. These were highly prized substances, and required as incense in religious rites. The word resin has been applied in the world to nearly any component of a liquid that will set into a hard lacquer or enamel-like finish
Kerosene, known as paraffin, lamp oil and coal oil, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid which is derived from petroleum, widely used as a fuel in industry as well as households. Its name derives from Greek, κηρός meaning wax, and was registered as a trademark by Abraham Gesner in 1854 before evolving into a genericized trademark and it is sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage. Liquid paraffin is a more viscous and highly refined product which is used as a laxative, paraffin wax is a waxy solid extracted from petroleum. Kerosene is widely used to power jet engines of aircraft and some rocket engines, in parts of Asia, where the price of kerosene is subsidized, it fuels outboard motors on small fishing boats. World total kerosene consumption for all purposes is equivalent to about 1.2 million barrels per day, to prevent confusion between kerosene and the much more flammable and volatile gasoline, some jurisdictions regulate markings or colorings for containers used to store or dispense kerosene.
For example, in the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that portable containers used at retail service stations be colored blue and it is miscible in petroleum solvents but immiscible in water. The American Society for Testing and Materials standard specification D-3699-78 recognizes two grades of kerosene, grades 1-K and 2-K, regardless of crude oil source or processing history, kerosenes major components are branched and straight chain alkanes and naphthenes, which normally account for at least 70% by volume. Aromatic hydrocarbons in this range, such as alkylbenzenes and alkylnaphthalenes. Olefins are usually not present at more than 5% by volume, the flash point of kerosene is between 37 and 65 °C, and its autoignition temperature is 220 °C. The pour point of kerosene depends on grade, with aviation fuel standardized at −47 °C. 1-K grade kerosene freezes around -40 °C, heat of combustion of kerosene is similar to that of diesel fuel, its lower heating value is 43.1 MJ/kg, and its higher heating value is 46.2 MJ/kg.
In the United Kingdom, two grades of heating oil are defined, BS2869 Class C1 is the lightest grade used for lanterns, camping stoves, wick heaters, and mixed with gasoline in some vintage combustion engines as a substitute for tractor vaporising oil. BS2869 Class C2 is a heavier distillate, which is used as heating oil. Premium kerosene is sold in 5 or 20 liter containers from hardware, camping. Standard kerosene is usually dispensed in bulk by a tanker and is undyed and international standards define the properties of several grades of kerosene used for jet fuel. Flash point and freezing point properties are of particular interest for operation and safety, the process of distilling crude oil/petroleum into kerosene, as well as other hydrocarbon compounds, was first written about in the 9th century by the Persian scholar Rāzi. In his Kitab al-Asrar, the physician and chemist Razi described two methods for the production of kerosene, termed naft abyad, using an apparatus called an alembic, one method used clay as an absorbent, whereas the other method used ammonium chloride.
The distillation process was repeated until all most of the volatile hydrocarbon fractions had been removed, Kerosene was produced during the same period from oil shale and bitumen by heating the rock to extract the oil, which was distilled
The fire lance was a gunpowder weapon that appeared in 10th century China during the Jin-Song Wars. It is considered to be a proto-gun, the predecessor of the cannon. Fire lances were relatively short range weapons and were used to give its user an advantage in close quarters combat, the first fire lances consisted of a tube, usually bamboo, containing gunpowder and a slow match, strapped to a spear or other polearm weapon. Once ignited, the tube would ideally eject a stream of flames in the direction of the spearhead. Co-viative projectiles such as pellets or pottery shards were added to the gunpowder. Upon firing, the gunpowder charge ejected the projectiles along with the flame, metal fire lance barrels appeared around the mid 13th century and these began to be used independently of the lance itself. The independent metal barrel was known as an eruptor, and became the forerunner of the hand cannon, the first fire-lances appeared in the Song dynasty as early as the year 950 and were mentioned in the military text Wujing Zongyao of 1044.
They were at this point antipersonnel weapons, in 1163 fire lances were attached to war carts known as at-your-desire-carts used to defend mobile firembomb trebuchets. In the late 1100s shrapnel such as iron pellets and porcelain shards were added to the gunpowder tube. Some fire lances discarded the spearhead altogether and relied solely on their firepower, by 1232 the Jin were using fire lances, but with improved reusable barrels consisting of durable paper material. Jin soldiers used them in combat and in one instance. In 1259 a pellet wad that occluded the barrel was recorded to have used as a fire lance projectile. By 1276 fire lances had transitioned to metal barrels, the metal-barreled fire lance began to be used independently of the lance around the mid to late 13th century. These proto-cannons which fired co-viative projectiles, known as eruptors, were the forerunners of the hand cannon, Joseph, Science & Civilisation in China, V,7, The Gunpowder Epic, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-30358-3.
Little Bit of Info on the Fire Lance Medieval Chinese Armies, ISBN 1-85532-599-3 Chinese Siege Warfare, Mechanical Artillery & Siege Weapons of Antiquity
Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantines typically used it in battles to great effect. The impression made by Greek fire on the western European Crusaders was such that the name was applied to any sort of weapon, including those used by Arabs, the Chinese. These, were different mixtures and not the Byzantine formula, Byzantine use of incendiary mixtures was distinguished by the use of pressurized nozzles or siphōn to project the liquid onto the enemy. The composition of Greek fire is unknown and it remains a matter of speculation and debate, with various proposals including combinations of pine resin, quicklime, calcium phosphide, sulfur, or niter. Incendiary and flaming weapons were used in warfare for centuries prior to the invention of Greek fire and they included a number of sulfur-, petroleum-, and bitumen-based mixtures. Incendiary arrows and pots containing combustible substances were used as early as the 9th century BC by the Assyrians and were used in the Greco-Roman world as well.
Furthermore, Thucydides mentions that in the siege of Delium in 424 BC a long tube on wheels was used which blew flames forward using a large bellows, Greek fire proper, was developed in c. He had devised a sea fire which ignited the Arab ships, thus it was that the Romans returned with victory and discovered the sea fire. If this is not due to confusion of the events of the siege. Indeed, the 11th-century chronicler George Kedrenos records that Kallinikos came from Heliopolis in Egypt, within a generation, Syria and Egypt had fallen to the Arabs, who in c. 672 set out to conquer the imperial capital of Constantinople. Greek fire was used to great effect against the Muslim fleets, helping to repel the Muslims at the first and second Arab sieges of the city. Utilisation of the substance was prominent in Byzantine civil wars, chiefly the revolt of the fleets in 727. In both cases, the fleets were defeated by the Constantinopolitan Imperial Fleet through the use of Greek fire. The importance placed on Greek fire during the Empires struggle against the Arabs would lead to its discovery being ascribed to divine intervention.
As a warning, he adds that one official, who was bribed into handing some of it over to the Empires enemies, was struck down by a flame from heaven as he was about to enter a church. This, was not enough to allow their enemies to copy it. Greek fire continued to be mentioned during the 12th century, although the use of hastily improvised fireships is mentioned during the 1203 siege of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, no report confirms the use of the actual Greek fire
Bombing of Tokyo
The US first mounted a small-scale raid on Tokyo in April 1942. Strategic bombing and urban area bombing began in 1944 after the long-range B-29 Superfortress bomber entered service, first deployed from China, B-29 raids from those islands began on 17 November 1944, and lasted until 15 August 1945, the day Japan capitulated. Japanese called this event Night of the Black Snow, the raid was retaliation against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid did little damage to Japans war capability but was a significant propaganda victory for the United States. Launched at longer range than planned when the force encountered a Japanese picket boat. One aircraft landed in the neutral Soviet Union where the crew was interned, two crews were captured by the Japanese in occupied China. Three crewmen from these groups were executed, almost 90% of the bombs dropped on the home islands of Japan were delivered by this type of bomber. Once Allied ground forces had captured islands sufficiently close to Japan, airfields were built on those islands, the initial raids were carried out by the Twentieth Air Force operating out of mainland China in Operation Matterhorn under XX Bomber Command, but these could not reach Tokyo.
Operations from the Northern Mariana Islands commenced in November 1944 after the XXI Bomber Command was activated there, changing tactics to increase the damage, Curtis LeMay ordered the bombers to drop incendiary bombs to burn Japans vulnerable wood-and-paper buildings. The first such raid was against Kobe on 4 February 1945, LeMay ordered all defensive guns but the tail gun removed from the B-29s so that the aircraft would be lighter and use less fuel. On the night of 9–10 March,334 B-29s took off to raid with 279 of them dropping 1,665 tons of bombs on Tokyo. The bombs were mostly the 500-pound E-46 cluster bomb which released 38 napalm-carrying M-69 incendiary bomblets at an altitude of 2, 000–2,500 ft. The M-69s punched through thin roofing material or landed on the ground, in case they ignited 3–5 seconds later. A lesser number of M-47 incendiaries was dropped, the M-47 was a 100-pound jelled-gasoline. In the first two hours of the raid,226 of the attacking aircraft unloaded their bombs to overwhelm the citys fire defenses.
The individual fires caused by the bombs joined to create a general conflagration, approximately 15.8 square miles of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died. Damage to Tokyos heavy industry was slight until firebombing destroyed much of the industry that was used as an integral source for small machine parts. Firebombing killed or made homeless many workers who had been taking part in war industry, over 50% of Tokyos industry was spread out among residential and commercial neighborhoods, firebombing cut the whole citys output in half
An airship or dirigible balloon is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft that can navigate through the air under its own power. Aerostats gain their lift from large gas bags filled with a gas that is less dense than the surrounding air. In early dirigibles, the gas used was hydrogen, due to its high lifting capacity. Helium gas has almost the same lifting capacity and is not flammable, unlike hydrogen, significant amounts were first discovered in the United States and for a while helium was only used for airships by the United States. Most airships built since the 1960s have used helium, though some have used hot air, the envelope of an airship may form a single gas bag, or may contain a number of internal gas-filled cells. An airship has engines and optionally payload accommodation, the main types of airship are non-rigid, semi-rigid, and rigid. Non-rigid airships, often called blimps, rely on internal pressure to maintain the shape of the airship, semi-rigid airships maintain the envelope shape by internal pressure, but have some form of supporting structure, such as a fixed keel, attached to it.
Rigid airships have a structural framework which maintains the shape and carries all structural loads. Rigid airships were first flown by Count Zeppelin and the vast majority of rigid airships built were manufactured by the firm he founded, as a result, rigid airships are called zeppelins. S. Navy helium-filled rigids, the USS Akron and USS Macon respectively, during the pioneer years of aeronautics, terms such as airship, air-ship, air ship and ship of the air meant any kind of navigable or dirigible flying machine. In 1919 Frederick Handley Page was reported as referring to ships of the air, in the 1930s, large intercontinental flying boats were sometimes referred to as ships of the air or flying-ships. Nowadays the term airship is used only for powered, dirigible balloons, semirigid architecture is the more recent and the late appearance is caused by both advancements about deformable structures and exigiency of reducing weight and volume of the airships. They have a structure that ensure to keep the shape jointly with overpressure of the gas envelope.
An aerostat is an aircraft which remain aloft using buoyancy or static lift, Airships are a type of aerostat. The term aerostat has used to indicate a tethered or moored balloon as opposed to a free-floating balloon. A blimp is a non-rigid aerostat, in American usage it refers specifically to a non-rigid type of dirigible balloon or airship. In British usage it refers to any non-rigid aerostat, including balloons and other kite balloons, having a streamlined shape. The initials LZ, for Luftschiff Zeppelin, usually prefixed their crafts serial identifiers, streamlined Parsifal-shaped rigid airships are usually referred to as Zeppelin, because of the fame that this company has acquired due to the number of airships it produced
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943