Battle of France
The Battle of France known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy invaded France over the Alps. In Fall Gelb, German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion; when British and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. German forces began Fall Rot on 5 June; the sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility.
German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities. On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by Germany; the neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton, until the Allied liberation in 1944. During the 1930s, the French built fortifications along the border with Germany; the line was intended to economise on manpower and deter a German invasion across the Franco-German border by diverting it into Belgium, which could be met by the best divisions of the French Army.
The war would take place outside French territory avoiding the destruction of the First World War. The main section of the Maginot Line ended at Longwy. General Philippe Pétain declared the Ardennes to be "impenetrable" as long as "special provisions" were taken to destroy an invasion force as it emerged from the Ardennes by a pincer attack; the French commander-in-chief, Maurice Gamelin believed the area to be safe from attack, noting it "never favoured large operations". French war games held in 1938, of a hypothetical German armoured attack through the Ardennes, left the army with the impression that the region was still impenetrable and that this, along with the obstacle of the Meuse River, would allow the French time to bring up troops into the area to counter an attack. In 1939, Britain and France offered military support to Poland in the case of a German invasion. In the dawn of 1 September 1939, the German Invasion of Poland began. France and the United Kingdom declared war on 3 September, after an ultimatum for German forces to withdraw their forces from Poland was not answered.
Following this, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada declared war on Germany. While British and French commitments to Poland were met politically, the Allies were not in a position to render meaningful military assistance to the Poles in a timely manner. If Allied military intervention in Poland had been feasible, it would have come at the risk of drawing the Soviet Union into the war on Germany's side due to the recently-signed German-Soviet non-aggression pact and subsequent Soviet invasion of eastern Poland; as a result, the Allies settled on a long-war strategy and mobilised for defensive land operations against Germany, while a trade blockade was imposed and the pre-war re-armament was accelerated, ready for an eventual invasion of Germany. On 7 September, in accordance with their alliance with Poland, France began the Saar Offensive with an advance from the Maginot Line 5 km into the Saar. France had mobilised 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks against a German force consisting of 43 divisions and no tanks.
The French advanced until they met the thin and undermanned Siegfried Line. On 17 September, the French supreme commander, Maurice Gamelin gave the order to withdraw French troops to their starting positions. Following the Saar Offensive, a period of inaction called the Phoney War set in between the belligerents. Adolf Hitler had hoped that France and Britain would acquiesce in the conquest of Poland and make peace. On 6 October, he made a peace offer to both Western powers. On 9 October, Hitler issued a new "Führer-Directive Number 6". Hitler recognised the necessity of military campaigns to defeat the Western European nations, preliminary to the conquest of territory in Eastern Europe, to avoid a two-front war but these intentions were absent from Directive N°6; the plan was based on the more realistic assumption that German military strength would have to be built up for several years. For the moment only limited objectives could be envisaged and were aimed at improving Germany's ability to survive a long war in the west.
Hitler ordered a conquest of the Low Countries to be executed at the shortest possible notice to forestall the French and prevent Allied air po
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million. An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject. Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703. During the periods 1713–1728 and 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow, about 625 km to the south-east. Saint Petersburg is one of the most modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital; the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg. An admirer of everything German, Peter the Great named the city, Sankt-Peterburg.
On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd, meaning "Peter's city", in order to expunge the German name Sankt and Burg. On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad, meaning "Lenin's City". On 6 September 1991, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned. Today, in English the city is known as "Saint Petersburg". Local residents refer to the city by its shortened nickname, Piter; the city's traditional nicknames among Russians are the Window to Europe. Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in what was called Ingermanland, inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians; the small town of Nyen grew up around it. At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport in order to trade with the rest of Europe, he needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter.
On 12 May 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans and soon replaced the fortress. On 27 May 1703, closer to the estuary 5 km inland from the gulf), on Zayachy Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city; the city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city; the city became the centre of the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war. During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 the Swiss Italian Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals; the project is evident in the layout of the streets.
In 1716, Peter the Great appointed Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg. The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great. In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two, his endeavours to modernize Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility—resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow, but four years in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tsars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich commissioned a new plan in 1737; the city was divided into five boroughs, the city centre was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka. It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now one street known as Nevsky Prospekt, Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. Baroque architecture became dominant in the city during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Italian Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s, Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture. Established in 1762, the Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg ruled that no structure in the
The October Revolution known in Soviet historiography as the Great October Socialist Revolution and referred to as the October Uprising, the October Coup, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Bolshevik Coup or the Red October, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin, instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 7 November 1917, it followed and capitalized on the February Revolution of the same year, which overthrew the Tsarist autocracy and resulted in a provisional government after a transfer of power proclaimed by Grand Duke Michael, the younger brother of Tsar Nicholas II, who declined to take power after the Tsar stepped down. During this time, urban workers began to organize into councils wherein revolutionaries criticized the provisional government and its actions. After the Congress of Soviets, now the governing body, had its second session, it elected members of the Bolsheviks and other leftist groups such as the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to important positions within the new state of affairs.
This initiated the establishment of the Russian Soviet Republic. On 17 July 1918, his family were executed; the revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in the Petrograd Soviet to organize the armed forces. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military Revolutionary Committee began the occupation of government buildings on 7 November 1917; the following day, the Winter Palace was captured. The long-awaited Constituent Assembly elections were held on 12 November 1917. In contrast to their majority in the Soviets, the Bolsheviks only won 175 seats in the 715-seat legislative body, coming in second behind the Socialist Revolutionary Party, which won 370 seats, although the SR Party no longer existed as a whole party by that time, as the Left SRs had gone into coalition with the Bolsheviks from October 1917 to March 1918; the Constituent Assembly was to first meet on 28 November 1917, but its convocation was delayed until 5 January 1918 by the Bolsheviks. On its first and only day in session, the Constituent Assembly came into conflict with the Soviets, it rejected Soviet decrees on peace and land, resulting in the Constituent Assembly being dissolved the next day by order of the Congress of Soviets.
As the revolution was not universally recognized, there followed the struggles of the Russian Civil War and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922. At first, the event was referred to as the October coup or the Uprising of 3rd, as seen in contemporary documents. In Russian, however, "переворот" has a similar meaning to "revolution" and means "upheaval" or "overturn", so "coup" is not the correct translation. With time, the term October Revolution came into use, it is known as the "November Revolution" having occurred in November according to the Gregorian Calendar. The February Revolution had toppled Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, replaced his government with the Russian Provisional Government. However, the provisional government was riven by internal dissension, it continued to wage World War I, which became unpopular. A nationwide crisis developed in Russia, affecting social and political relations. Disorder in industry and transport had intensified, difficulties in obtaining provisions had increased.
Gross industrial production in 1917 had decreased by over 36% from what it had been in 1914. In the autumn, as much as 50% of all enterprises were closed down in the Urals, the Donbas, other industrial centers, leading to mass unemployment. At the same time, the cost of living increased sharply. Real wages fell about 50% from what they had been in 1913. Russia's national debt in October 1917 had risen to 50 billion rubles. Of this, debts to foreign governments constituted more than 11 billion rubles; the country faced the threat of financial bankruptcy. Throughout June and August 1917, it was common to hear working-class Russians speak about their lack of confidence and misgivings with those in power in the Provisional Government. Factory workers around Russia felt unhappy with the growing shortages of food and other materials, they blamed their own managers or foremen and would attack them in the factories. The workers blamed many rich and influential individuals, such as elites in positions of power, for the overall shortage of food and poor living conditions.
Workers labelled these rich and powerful individuals as opponents of the Revolution, called them words such as "bourgeois and imperialist."In September and October 1917, there were mass strike actions by the Moscow and Petrograd workers, miners in Donbas, metalworkers in the Urals, oil workers in Baku, textile workers in the Central Industrial Region, railroad workers on 44 railway lines. In these months alone, more than a million workers took part in strikes. Workers established control over production and distribution in many factories and plants in a social revolution. Workers were able to organize these strikes through factory committees; the factory committees represented the workers and were able to negotiate better working conditions and hours. Though workplace conditions may have been increasing in quality, the overall quality of life for workers was not improving. There were still shortages of food and the increased wages workers had obtained did little to provide for their families.
By October 1917, peasant uprisings were common. By autumn the peasant movement ag
The Bolsheviks known in English as Bolshevists, were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903. The RSDLP was a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898 in Minsk, Belarus to unite the various revolutionary organisations of the Russian Empire into one party. In the Second Party Congress vote, the Bolsheviks won on the majority of important issues, hence their name, they became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks, or Reds, came to power in Russia during the October Revolution phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and founded the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. With the Reds defeating the Whites and others during the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, the RSFSR became the chief constituent of the Soviet Union in December 1922; the Bolsheviks, founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov, were by 1905 a major organization consisting of workers under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism, who considered themselves the leaders of the revolutionary working class of Russia.
Their beliefs and practices were referred to as Bolshevism. In the 2nd Congress of the RSDLP held in Brussels and London, UK during August 1903, Lenin and Julius Martov disagreed over the membership rules. Lenin wanted members who financially supported the party and participated in it. Martov suggested "by regular personal assistance under the direction of one of the party's organisations". Lenin advocated limiting party membership to a smaller core of active members as opposed to card carriers who might only be active in party branches from time to time or not at all; this active base would develop the cadre, a core of professional revolutionaries, consisting of loyal communists who would spend most of their time organising the party toward a mass revolutionary party capable of leading a workers' revolution against the Tsarist autocracy. A main source of the factions could be directly attributed to Lenin's steadfast opinion and what was described by Plekhanov as his inability to "bear opinions which were contrary to his own".
It was obvious at early stages in Lenin's revolutionary practices that he would not be willing to concede on any party policy that conflicted with his own predetermined ideas. It was the loyalty that he had to his own self-envisioned utopia. Lenin was seen by fellow party members as being so narrow-minded that he believed that anyone who didn't follow him was his enemy. Leon Trotsky, one of Lenin's fellow revolutionaries, compared Lenin in 1904 to the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre. Lenin's view of politics as verbal and ideological warfare and his inability to accept criticism if it came from his own dedicated followers was the reason behind this accusation; the root of the split was a book titled What Is To Be Done? that Lenin wrote while serving a sentence of exile. In Germany, the book was published in 1902. In Russia, strict censorship outlawed its distribution. One of the main points of Lenin's writing was that a revolution can only be achieved by the strong leadership of one person over the masses.
After the proposed revolution had overthrown the government, this individual leader must release power to allow socialism to encompass the nation. Lenin wrote that revolutionary leaders must dedicate their entire lives to the cause in order for it to be successful. Lenin said that if professional revolutionaries did not maintain control over the workers they would lose sight of the party's objective and adopt opposing beliefs abandon the revolution entirely. Lenin's view of a socialist intelligentsia showed that he was not a complete supporter of Marxist theory, which created some party unrest. For example, Lenin agreed with the Marxist idea of eliminating social classes, but in his utopian society there would still be visible distinctions between those in politics and the common worker. Most party members considered unequal treatment of workers immoral and were loyal to the idea of a classless society, therefore Lenin's variations caused internal dissonance. Although the party split of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks would not become official until 1903, the differences began to surface with the publication of What Is To Be Done?.
Through the influence of the book, Lenin undermined another group of reformers known as "Economists", who were pushing for economic reform while wanting to leave the government unchanged and who failed to recognize the importance of uniting the working population behind the party's cause. Other than the debate between Lenin and Martov, Lenin felt membership should require support of the party program, financial contributions and involvement in a party organization whereas Martov did not see the need for joining Party organizations, internal unrest rose over the structure, best suited for Soviet power; as discussed in What Is To Be Done?, Lenin believed that a rigid political structure was needed to initiate a formal revolution. This idea was met with opposition from his once close followers including Julius Martov, Georgy Plekhanov, Leon Trotsky and Pavel Axelrod. Plekhanov and Lenin's major dispute arose addressing the topic of nationalizing land or leaving it for private use. Lenin wanted to nationalize to aid in collectivization whereas Plekhanov thought worker motivation would remain higher if individuals were able to maintain their own property.
Those who opposed Lenin and wanted to continue on the Marxist path t
Anapa is a town in Krasnodar Krai, located on the northern coast of the Black Sea near the Sea of Azov. Population: 58,990 ; the area around Anapa was settled in antiquity. It was a major seaport for the Natkhuay tribe of the Adyghe people and the capital of Sindica; the colony of Gorgippia was built on the site of Sinda in the 6th century BCE by Pontic Greeks, who named it after a king of the Cimmerian Bosporus. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE, Gorgippia flourished as part of the Bosporan Kingdom, as did its guild of shipowners, which controlled maritime trade in the eastern part of the Black Sea. A fine statue of Neokles was unearthed by Russian archaeologists and is now on exhibit at the Russian Museum. Gorgippia was inhabited until the 3rd century CE; these tribes, of Circassian or Adyghe origin, gave Anapa its modern name. The Black Sea littoral was overrun by successive waves of Asiatic nomads, including the Sarmatians, Huns, Gokturks, Khazars and Tatars; the settlement was renamed Mapa by the Genoese at the turn of the 14th century.
Genoese domination lasted until the arrival of an Ottoman fleet in 1475. The Turks built a fort against the Russian Cossacks; the fortress was attacked by the Russian Empire and was all but destroyed during its last siege in 1829. The town was passed to Russia after the Treaty of Adrianople. See Russian conquest of the Caucasus#Black Sea Coast, it was included in Black Sea Okrug of Kuban Oblast and was granted town status in 1846. It was occupied by Ottomans between 1853-1856 during the Crimean War, it became part of Black Sea Governorate in 1896. Elizabeth Pilenko named as a saint in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was the mayor during the Russian Revolution, it became part of Kuban-Black Sea Oblast in 1920. During World War II, it was occupied and demolished by Nazi Germany with the help of Romanian troops between August 30, 1942 and September 22, 1943. Within the framework of administrative divisions, Anapa serves as the administrative center of Anapsky District though it is not a part of it; as an administrative division, it is, together with three rural localities, incorporated separately as the Town of Anapa—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.
As a municipal division, the territories of the Town of Anapa and of Anapsky District are incorporated as Anapa Urban Okrug. The town boasts a number of sanatoria and hotels. Anapa and several other cities along the Russian coast of the Black Sea have enjoyed a substantial increase in popularity since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which left traditional Soviet resort cities in Abkhazia on the other side of the national border. Anapa is served by the Anapa Airport. Anapa, like the other Black Sea coast resorts, has a superb sunny summer climate. Anapa has beautiful sandy beaches. However, Anapa attracts tourists from outside Russia due to its modest infrastructure and its inconvenient accessibility from Western Europe via Moscow or Krasnodar. Anapa remains an attractive and inexpensive option for Russians who prefer traditional Russian resorts to more expensive destinations. Transportation facilities include the Anapa Airport, a railway station, an international passenger port for small-tonnage ships, a bus station, a network of highways.
Anapa has a humid subtropical climate at the lower elevations. Its average annual temperature is +9.0 °C at night. Average annual precipitation is about 560 millimeters; the Town Theater of Anapa is located on Krymskaya Street. It was opened after the reconstruction of the Town Cultural Center. There are twenty nine public libraries including four for children. In 2010 the libraries of Anapa received more than 8,000 books, magazines and newspapers were ordered costing more than 1,000,000 roubles, in addition, nine hundred CDs were purchased. There is museum of Local History on Protapova Street; the Gorgippia Archeological museum Gates of Turkish fortress Church of St. Onuphrius Lighthouse Wildlife preserve of Bolshoy Utrish south of Sukko Maria Skobtsova Valentin Mashukov Germogen Korolyov Mikhail Boyur Vitaly Astapenko Vladimir Tsukanov Anatoly Pakhomov Tatyana Yevsikova Kinoshock film festival Blue-eyed Anapa song Festival Russian coast guard academy Anapa is twinned with: Gomel, Belarus Novy Urengoy, Russia Kizlyar, Russia Управление по взаимодействию с органами местного самоуправления Администрации Краснодарского края.
Справочная информация №34.01-707/13-03 от 23 мая 2013 г. «Реестр административно-территориальных единиц Краснодарского края».. Законодательное Собрание Краснодарского края. Закон №676-КЗ от 1 апреля 2004 г. «Об установлении границ муниципального образования город-курорт Анапа и наделении его статусом городского округа», в ред. Закона №1756-КЗ от 3 июня 2009 г «О внесении изменений в некоторые законодательные акты Краснодарского края об установлении границ муниципальных образований». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Кубанские новости", №64–65, 17 апреля 2004 г. (Legislative Assembly of Krasnodar Krai. Law #676-KZ of April 1, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formation of the Resort City of Anapa and on Granting It the Status of an Urban Okrug, as amended by the Law #1756-
Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Ravensbrück was a German concentration camp for women from 1939 to 1945, located in northern Germany, 90 km north of Berlin at a site near the village of Ravensbrück. The largest single national group consisted of 40,000 Polish women. Others included 26,000 Jewish women from various countries: 18,800 Russian, 8,000 French, 1,000 Dutch. More than 80 percent were political prisoners. Many slave labor prisoners were employed by Halske. From 1942 to 1945, medical experiments to test the effectiveness of sulfonamides were undertaken. In the spring of 1941, the SS established a small adjacent camp for male inmates, who built and managed the camp's gas chambers in 1944. Of some 130,000 female prisoners who passed through the Ravensbrück camp, about 50,000 of them perished, some 2,200 were killed in the gas chambers and 15,000 survived until liberation. Construction of the camp began in November 1938 by the order of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler and was unusual in that it was intended to hold female inmates.
Ravensbrück first housed prisoners in May 1939, when the SS moved 900 women from the Lichtenburg concentration camp in Saxony. Eight months after the start of World War II the camp's maximum capacity was exceeded, it underwent major expansion following the invasion of Poland. By the summer of 1941 with the launch of Operation Barbarossa an estimated total of 5,000 women were imprisoned, who were fed decreasing hunger rations. By the end of 1942, the inmate population of Ravensbrück had grown to about 10,000. Between 1939 and 1945, some 130,000 to 132,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, about 50,000 of them perished from disease, starvation and despair. Only 15,000 of the total survived until liberation, on 29–30 April 1945 some 3,500 prisoners were still alive in the main camp. During the first year of their stay in the camp, from August 1940 to August 1941 47 women died. During the last year of the camp's existence, about 80 inmates died each day from disease or famine-related causes.
Although the inmates came from every country in German-occupied Europe, the largest single national group in the camp were Polish. In the spring of 1941, the SS authorities established a small men's camp adjacent to the main camp; the male inmates built and managed the gas chambers for the camp in 1944. There were children in the camp as well. At first, they arrived with mothers who were Romani or Jews incarcerated in the camp or were born to imprisoned women. There were few children early on, including a few Czech children from Lidice in July 1942; the children in the camp represented all nations of Europe occupied by Germany. Between April and October 1944 their number increased consisting of two groups. One group was composed of Romani children with their mothers or sisters brought into the camp after the Romani camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau was closed; the other group included children who were brought with Polish mothers sent to Ravensbrück after the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Most of these children died of starvation.
Ravensbrück had 70 sub-camps used for slave labour that were spread across an area from the Baltic Sea to Bavaria. Among the thousands executed at Ravensbrück were four members of the British World War II organization Special Operations Executive: Denise Bloch, Cecily Lefort, Lilian Rolfe and Violette Szabo. Other victims included the Roman Catholic nun Élise Rivet, Elisabeth de Rothschild, Russian Orthodox nun St. Maria Skobtsova, the 25-year-old French Princess Anne de Bauffremont-Courtenay, Milena Jesenská, lover of Franz Kafka, Olga Benário, wife of the Brazilian Communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes; the largest single group of women executed at the camp were 200 young Polish members of the Home Army. Among the survivors of Ravensbrück was author Corrie ten Boom, arrested with her family for harbouring Jews in their home in Haarlem, the Netherlands, she documented her ordeal alongside her sister Betsie ten Boom in her book The Hiding Place, produced as a motion picture. Polish Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, an art historian and author of Michelangelo in Ravensbrück, was imprisoned there from 1943 until 1945.
Eileen Nearne, a member of the Special Operations Executive, was a prisoner in 1944 before being transferred to another work camp and escaping. Ravensbrück survivors who wrote memoirs about their experiences include Gemma LaGuardia Gluck, sister of New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, as well as Germaine Tillion, a Ravensbrück survivor from France who published her own eyewitness account of the camp in 1975. 500 women from Ravensbrück were transferred to Dachau, where they were assigned as labourers to the Agfa-Commando. A male political prisoner, Gustav Noske, stayed in Ravensbrück concentration camp after his arrest by the Gestapo in 1944. Noske was freed by advancing Allied troops from a Gestapo prison in Berlin. Camp commandants included SS-Standartenführer Günther Tamaschke from May 1939 to August 1939, SS-Hauptsturmführer Max Koegel from January 1940 till August 1942, SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Suhren from August 1942 until the camp's liberation at the end of April 1945. Besides the male Nazi administrators, the camp staff included over 150 female SS guards assigned to oversee the prisoners at some point during the camp's operational peri