Yugoslavia was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state, following centuries in which the region had been part of the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary. Peter I of Serbia was its first sovereign; the kingdom gained international recognition on 13 July 1922 at the Conference of Ambassadors in Paris. The official name of the state was changed to Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 3 October 1929. Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers on 6 April 1941. In 1943, a Democratic Federal Yugoslavia was proclaimed by the Partisan resistance. In 1944 King Peter II living in exile, recognised it as the legitimate government; the monarchy was subsequently abolished in November 1945. Yugoslavia was renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia in 1946, when a communist government was established.
It acquired the territories of Istria and Zadar from Italy. Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito ruled the country as president until his death in 1980. In 1963, the country was renamed again, as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; the six constituent republics that made up the SFRY were the SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Serbia, SR Slovenia. Serbia contained two Socialist Autonomous Provinces and Kosovo, which after 1974 were equal to the other members of the federation. After an economic and political crisis in the 1980s and the rise of nationalism, Yugoslavia broke up along its republics' borders, at first into five countries, leading to the Yugoslav Wars. From 1993 to 2017, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia tried political and military leaders from the former Yugoslavia for war crimes and other crimes. After the breakup, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro formed a reduced federation, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which aspired to the status of sole legal successor to the SFRY, but those claims were opposed by the other former republics.
Serbia and Montenegro accepted the opinion of the Badinter Arbitration Committee about shared succession. In 2003 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was renamed to State Union of Montenegro; the union peacefully broke up when Serbia and Montenegro became independent states in 2006, while Kosovo proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008. The concept of Yugoslavia, as a single state for all South Slavic peoples, emerged in the late 17th century and gained prominence through the Illyrian Movement of the 19th century; the name was created by the combination of the Slavic words "jug" and "slaveni". Yugoslavia was the result of the Corfu Declaration, as a project of the Serbian Parliament in exile and the Serbian royal Karađorđević dynasty, who became the Yugoslav royal dynasty; the country was formed in 1918 after World War I as the Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes by union of the State of Slovenes and Serbs and the Kingdom of Serbia. It was referred to at the time as the "Versailles state"; the government renamed the country leading to the first official use of Yugoslavia in 1929.
On 20 June 1928, Serb deputy Puniša Račić shot at five members of the opposition Croatian Peasant Party in the National Assembly resulting in the death of two deputies on the spot and that of leader Stjepan Radić a few weeks later. On 6 January 1929 King Alexander I suspended the constitution, banned national political parties, assumed executive power and renamed the country Yugoslavia, he hoped to mitigate nationalist passions. He imposed a new constitution and relinquished his dictatorship in 1931. However, Alexander's policies encountered opposition from other European powers stemming from developments in Italy and Germany, where Fascists and Nazis rose to power, the Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin became absolute ruler. None of these three regimes favored the policy pursued by Alexander I. In fact and Germany wanted to revise the international treaties signed after World War I, the Soviets were determined to regain their positions in Europe and pursue a more active international policy.
Alexander attempted to create a centralised Yugoslavia. He decided to abolish Yugoslavia's historic regions, new internal boundaries were drawn for provinces or banovinas; the banovinas were named after rivers. Many politicians were kept under police surveillance; the effect of Alexander's dictatorship was to further alienate the non-Serbs from the idea of unity. During his reign the flags of Yugoslav nations were banned. Communist ideas were banned also; the king was assassinated in Marseille during an official visit to France in 1934 by Vlado Chernozemski, an experienced marksman from Ivan Mihailov's Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization with the cooperation of the Ustaše, a Croatian fascist revolutionary organisation. Alexander was succeeded by his eleven-year-old son Peter II and a regency council headed by his cousin, Prince Paul; the international political scene in the late 1930s was marked by growing intolerance between the principal figures, by the aggressive attitude of the totalitarian regimes and by the certainty that the order set up after World War I was losing its strongholds and its sponsors were
Battle of Uman
The Battle of Uman was the German offensive operation against the 6th and 12th Soviet Armies — under the command of Lieutenant General I. N. Muzychenko and Major General P. G. Ponedelin, respectively; the battle occurred during the Kiev defensive operation between the elements of the Red Army's Southwestern Front, retreating from the Lwow salient, German Army Group South commanded by Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, as part of Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front during World War II. The Soviet forces were under overall command of the Southwestern Direction, commanded by Marshal Semyon Budyonny, which included the Southwestern Front commanded by Colonel General Mikhail Kirponos and Southern Front commanded by General Ivan Tyulenev; the battle finished by the encirclement and annihilation of 6th and 12th armies to the southeast of the Uman city. In the initial weeks of Operation Barbarossa, Army Group South had advanced East, defeating several Soviet mechanized corps at the great tank Battle of Brody 23–30 June.
The armies of the Southwestern Front were ordered to retreat to the line of fortifications along the old Soviet-Polish border of 1939. III and XXXXVIII Motorized corps of the 1st Panzer Group wedged in between the 5th and 6th Soviet armies. On July 5, XXXXVIII Motorized Corps cracked a weak defense on the Stalin Line and began to move embracing the right flank of the 6th Army. A new Soviet counter-attack was attempted on July 9 in the direction of Berdychiv to prevent further advance of the 1st Panzer Group to the east; the fighting continued until July 16, the 11th Panzer Division lost 2,000 men, but Soviet troops failed and on July 16 the German offensive continued. Further to the north, the mobile units of the III Motorized Corps overcame the Stalin Line and reached the approaches to Kiev; the command of Army Group South intended to capture Kiev while Hitler and the High Command insisted on a strike in the southern direction, which guaranteed the encirclement of the Soviet troops in conjunction with the 11th Army.
The compromise solution proposed the capture of Belaya Tserkov and after that a strike in the south-west direction towards the 11th Army. Such a decision left the possibility, instead of a strike to the southwest, to continue the offensive from Kiev farther east, beyond the Dnieper, but Kiev was secured by a separate fortified area, the rear communications of the III Motorized Corps were under attack from the 5th Army. So, in the opening days of Battle of Uman the task of encircling the 6th and 12th armies from the north and the east was to be done by divisions of the XXXXVIII Motorized Corps only. To help them, the third unit of the 1st Panzer Group, the XIV Motorized Corps, was transferred from the south and committed to action between the III and XXXXVIII Motorized corps in the direction to the Belaya Tserkov. Infantry units of the German 6th Field Army on the north hastened to replace the advanced tank units, the 17th Field Army on the west continued to pursue retreating forces of the Soviet 6th and 12th armies.
The advance of the 11th Field Army from the Soviet-Romanian border was suspended by Soviet counterblows, its attack from the south towards Vinnytsia was postponed. Most of the Soviet forces were depleted, having withdrawn under heavy assaults from the Luftwaffe from the Polish border, the mechanised units were reduced to a single "Corps" after the Brody counter-offensive, its mechanised infantry now fighting as ordinary rifle troops; the Axis forces were divided into those of 1st Panzer Group that had suffered significant losses in matériel, but retained combat effectiveness, the large infantry formations of the German and Romanian armies that attempted to advance from the West to meet the armored troops north of Crimea, the initial strategic objective of Army Group South. Since July 15, the XXXXVIII Motorized Corps of Wehrmacht repulsed the counter-attacks of the Soviet "Berdichev Group" and resumed the offensive; the 16th Panzer Division seized the city of Kazatin. On the left, the 11th Panzer division was in the gap between Soviet armies, so by July 16 it made a deep breakthrough to the South-East.
By July 18, the division advanced another 50 km, crossed the Ros' River and captured the settlement of Stavishche. The 16th Panzer Division, forced to repel counterattacks of the Soviet 6th Army, advanced slower, but by July 17 its forward detachment seized the Ros' station, where was an important Soviet base of rear services support. July 18, units of the 6th army managed to recapture the station. Further to the North, the XIV Motorized Corps advanced to Belaya Tserkov, but met counterattacks by the 26th Army; this army had no time to prepare the offensive, its divisions didn't have time to concentrate. They couldn't beat out the 9th Panzer Division from Belaya Tserkov, they for a short time captured Fastov. The advance of the 26th Army soon stopped, but its attacks contained the mobile units of the 1st Panzer Group. A similar situation was with the Panzer divisions of the III Motorized Corps. Halder, the chief of OKH, irritably wrote on July 18 that "the operation of the Army Group «South» is losing its shape", that "enveloping flank of the 1st Panzer Group is still hang about in the area of Berdichev and Belaya Tserkov".
At the same time the 17th Field Army from the West was approaching too and Halder feared that the future "cauldron" will not trap significant enemy forces. Meanwhile, the 17th Field Army tried to implement a shortcut version of the original plan, according to which the Soviet troops were to be surrounded to the
War crimes of the Wehrmacht
During World War II, the German combined armed forces committed systematic war crimes, including massacres, looting, the exploitation of forced labor, the murder of three million Soviet prisoners of war, participated in the extermination of Jews. While the Nazi Party's own SS forces of Nazi Germany was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of the Holocaust, the regular armed forces represented by the Wehrmacht committed war crimes of their own on the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union; the Nuremberg Trials at the end of World War II considered whether the Wehrmacht high command structure should be tried. However, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht was judged not to be a criminal organization under the legal grounds that because of poor co-ordination between the German Army and Air Force high commands, which operated as more or less separate entities during the war, the OKW did not constitute an "organization" as defined by Article 9 of the constitution of the International Military Tribunal which conducted the Nuremberg trials.
This matter of legal definition has been misconstrued by German World War II veterans and others to mean that the IMT ruled that the OKW was not a "criminal organization" because the Wehrmacht committed no war crimes. Prior to the developments of the Second World War there was a history of the German Army committing violent acts against civilians in previous conflicts. During a rebellion by the Herero and Nama natives of a German African Colony in 1904, the German Army was tasked to quell the uprising. General Lothar von Trotha, the commander tasked with eliminating the uprising, remarked "against'nonhumans' one cannot conduct war "humanely'"; this conflict resulted in the death of 66-75 percent of the entire native Herero population and 50 percent of the Nama population. By contrast, the German army lost only 676 soldiers in combat over the course of the conflict. Additionally, the Zabern Affair was an incident which showed the German military's indifferent attitude and eventual extrajudicial and illegal activity when individual soldiers were known to have committed violent acts against civilians.
During the First World War, the pattern of civilian brutality continued. During the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, the Germans were recorded to have deliberately killed 6,427 Belgian and French civilians; these attacks were in response to a perceived resistance from the civilian population. However, it has since been shown that there was in fact no significant resistance from the population that would have warranted these levels of civilian casualties. In August 1914 during the German attack on Russia, the German army burned and murdered many inhabitants of the Polish city of Kalisz; when the National Socialists came to power, it was welcomed by the entire officer corps of the Reichswehr as a way of creating the Wiederwehrhaftmachung of Germany, namely the total militarization of German society in order to ensure that Germany did not lose the next war. As such, what both the Nazis and the German Army wanted to see was a militarized Volksgemeinschaft that would be purged of those perceived internal enemies like the Jews who it was believed had "stabbed Germany in the back" in 1918.
Many officers therefore willingly embraced National Socialist ideology in the 1930s. Acting on his own initiative, the Defence Minister Werner von Blomberg had purged the Army of all its Jewish personnel in February 1934. On December 8, 1938, the Army leadership had instructed all officers to be well versed in National Socialism and to apply its values in all situations. Starting in February 1939, pamphlets were issued; the content can be gauged by the titles: "The Officer and Politics", "Hitler's World Historical Mission", "The Army in the Third Reich", "The Battle for German Living Space", "Hands off Danzig!", "The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in the Third Reich". In the last essay, the author, C. A. Holberg wrote:The defensive battle against Jewry will continue if the last Jew has left Germany. Two big and important tasks remain: 1) the eradication of all Jewish influence, above all in the economy and in culture. Attitudes like the ones expressed above colored all the instructions that came to Wehrmacht troops in the summer of 1939 as a way of preparing for the attack on Poland.
The order cast the war against the Soviet Union as one of ideological and racial differences, it provided for the immediate liquidation of political commissars in the Red Army. The order was formulated on Hitler's behalf in 1941 by the Wehrmacht command and distributed to field commanders. General Franz Halder, contrary to what he claimed after the war, did not oppose the Commissar Order, instead welcomed it writing that "Troops must participate in the ideological battle in the Eastern campaign to the end"; the enforcement of the Commissar Order led to thousands of executions. The German historian Jürgen Förster was to write in 1989 that it was not true as most German Army commanders claimed in their memoirs and some German historians like Ernst Nolte were still claiming that the Commissar Order was not enforced. On 17 July 1941 the OKW declared that the Wehrmacht was to:ree itself from all elements among the prisoners of war considered Bolshevik driving forces; the special situation of the Eastern Campaign therefore demands special measures which are to be carried out free from bureaucratic and a
Freikorps were German military volunteer units that existed from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, which fought as mercenary or private armies, regardless of their own nationality. In German-speaking countries, the first so-called Freikorps were formed in the 18th century from native volunteers, enemy renegades and deserters; these sometimes exotically equipped units served as infantry and cavalry, sometimes in just company strength, sometimes in formations up to several thousand strong. The Prussian von Kleist Freikorps included infantry, jäger and hussars; the French Volontaires de Saxe combined dragoons. In the aftermath of World War I and during the German Revolution of 1918–19, Freikorps consisting of World War I veterans were raised as right-wing paramilitary militias, ostensibly to fight on behalf of the government against the Soviet-backed German Communists attempting to overthrow the Weimar Republic. However, the Freikorps largely despised the Republic and were involved in assassinations of its supporters.
The first Freikorps were recruited by Frederick the Great during the Seven Years' War. On 15 July 1759, Frederick ordered the creation of a squadron of volunteer hussars to be attached to the 1st Regiment of Hussars, he entrusted the command of this new unit to Colonel Friedrich Wilhelm von Kleist. This first squadron was raised in Dresden and consisted of Hungarian deserters; this squadron was placed under the command of Lieutenant Johann Michael von Kovacs. At the end of 1759, the first four squadrons of dragoons of the Freikorps were organised, they consisted of Prussian volunteers from Berlin, Magdeburg and Leipzig, but recruited deserters. The Freikorps were regarded as unreliable by regular armies, so they were used as sentries and for minor duties; these early Freikorps appeared during the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War, when France and the Habsburg Monarchy embarked on an escalation of petty warfare while conserving their regular regiments. During the last Kabinettskrieg, the War of the Bavarian Succession, Freikorp formations were formed in 1778.
Germans, Poles and South Slavs, as well as Turks and Cossacks, were believed by all warring parties to be inherently good fighters. The nationality of many soldiers can no longer be ascertained as the ethnic origin was described imprecisely in the regimental lists. Slavs were referred to as "Hungarians" or just "Croats", Muslim recruits as "Turks". For Prussia, the Pandurs, who were made up of Croats and Serbs, were a clear model for the organization of such "free" troops. Frederick the Great created 14 "free infantry" units between 1756 and 1758, which were intended to be attractive to those soldiers who wanted military "adventure", but did not want to have to do military drill. A distinction should be made between the Freikorps formed up to 1759 for the final years of the war, which operated independently and disrupted the enemy with surprise attacks and the free infantry which consisted of various military branches and were used in combination, they were used to ward off Maria Theresa's Pandurs.
In the era of linear tactics, light troops had been seen necessary for outpost and reconnaissance duties. During the war, eight such volunteer corps were set up: Trümbach's Freikorps Kleist's Freikorps Glasenapp's Free Dragoons Schony's Freikorps Gschray's Freikorps Bauer's Free Hussars Légion Britannique Volontaires Auxiliaires. Because, with some exceptions, they were seen as undisciplined and less battleworthy, they were used for less onerous guard and garrison duties. In the so-called "petty wars", the Freikorps interdicted enemy supply lines with guerrilla warfare. In the case of capture, their members were at risk of being executed as irregular fighters. In Prussia the Freikorps, which Frederick the Great had despised as "vermin", were disbanded, their soldiers were given no entitlement to pensions or invalidity payments. In France, many corps continued to exist until 1776, they were attached to regular dragoon regiments as jäger squadrons. During the Napoleonic Wars, Austria recruited various Freikorps of Slavic origin.
The Slavonic Wurmser Freikorps fought in Alsace. The combat effectiveness of the six Viennese Freikorps, was low. An exception were the border regiments of Croats and Serbs who served permanently on the Austro-Ottoman border. Freikorps in the modern sense emerged in Germany during the course of the Napoleonic Wars, they fought not so much for money but rather out of patriotic motives, seeking to shake off the French Confederation of the Rhine. After the French under Emperor Napoleon had either conquered the German states or forced them to collaborate, remnants of the defeated armies continued to fight on in this fashion. Famous formations included the King's German Legion, who had fought for Britain in French-occupied Spain and were recruited from Hanoverians, the Lützow Free Corps and the Black Brunswickers; the Freikorps attracted students. Freikorps commanders such as Ferdinand von Schill, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow or Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, known as the "Black Duke", led their own attacks on Napoleonic occupa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans, to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories. In the two years leading up to the invasion and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes; the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940, which Adolf Hitler authorized on 18 December 1940. Over the course of the operation, about three million personnel of the Axis powers – the largest invasion force in the history of warfare – invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer front. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht deployed some 600,000 motor vehicles, between 600,000 and 700,000 horses for non-combat operations.
The offensive marked an escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition. Operationally, German forces achieved major victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union and inflicted, as well as sustained, heavy casualties. Despite these Axis successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow at the end of 1941, the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive pushed German troops back; the Red Army absorbed the Wehrmacht's strongest blows and forced the Germans into a war of attrition that they were unprepared for. The Wehrmacht never again mounted a simultaneous offensive along the entire Eastern front; the failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue in 1942 and Operation Citadel in 1943 – all of which failed. The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in which more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history.
The Eastern Front became the site of some of the largest battles, most horrific atrocities, highest World War II casualties, all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the subsequent history of the 20th century. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Red Army troops, who were denied the protection guaranteed by the Hague Conventions and the 1929 Geneva Convention. A majority of Red Army POWs never returned alive; the Nazis deliberately starved to death, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million prisoners of war, as well as a huge number of civilians. Einsatzgruppen death-squads and gassing operations murdered over a million Soviet Jews as part of the Holocaust; as early as 1925, Adolf Hitler vaguely declared in his political manifesto and autobiography Mein Kampf that he would invade the Soviet Union, asserting that the German people needed to secure Lebensraum to ensure the survival of Germany for generations to come. On 10 February 1939, Hitler told his army commanders that the next war would be "purely a war of Weltanschauungen... a people's war, a racial war".
On 23 November, once World War II had started, Hitler declared that "racial war has broken out and this war shall determine who shall govern Europe, with it, the world". The racial policy of Nazi Germany portrayed the Soviet Union as populated by non-Aryan Untermenschen, ruled by Jewish Bolshevik conspirators. Hitler claimed in Mein Kampf that Germany's destiny was to "turn to the East" as it did "six hundred years ago". Accordingly, it was stated Nazi policy to kill, deport, or enslave the majority of Russian and other Slavic populations and repopulate the land with Germanic peoples, under the Generalplan Ost; the Germans' belief in their ethnic superiority is evident in official German records and discernible in pseudoscientific articles in German periodicals at the time, which covered topics such as "how to deal with alien populations". While older histories tended to emphasize the notion of a "Clean Wehrmacht", the historian Jürgen Förster notes that "In fact, the military commanders were caught up in the ideological character of the conflict, involved in its implementation as willing participants."
Before and during the invasion of the Soviet Union, German troops were indoctrinated with anti-Bolshevik, anti-Semitic, anti-Slavic ideology via movies, lectures and leaflets. Likening the Soviets to the forces of Genghis Khan, Hitler told Croatian military leader Slavko Kvaternik that the "Mongolian race" threatened Europe. Following the invasion, Wehrmacht officers told their soldiers to target people who were described as "Jewish Bolshevik subhumans", the "Mongol hordes", the "Asiatic flood", the "Red beast". Nazi propaganda portrayed the war against the Soviet Union as both an ideological war between German National Socialism and Jewish Bolshevism and a racial war between the Germans and the Jewish and Slavic Untermenschen. An'order from the Führer' stated that the Einsatzgruppen were to execute all Soviet functionaries who were "less valuable Asiatics and Jews". Six months into the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered in excess of 500,000 Soviet Jews, a figure greater than the number of Red Army soldiers killed in combat during that same time frame.
German army command
Pomerania is a historical region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. The name derives from the Slavic po more, meaning "by the sea" or "on the sea". Pomerania stretches from the Recknitz and Trebel rivers in the west to the Vistula river in the east; the largest Pomeranian islands are Usedom/Uznam and Wolin. The largest Pomeranian city is Gdańsk, or, when using a narrower definition of the region, Szczecin. Outside its urban areas, Pomerania is characterized by farmland, dotted with numerous lakes and towns; the region was affected by post–World War I and II border and population shifts, with most of its pre-war inhabitants leaving or being expelled after 1945. Pomerania is the area along the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea between the rivers Recknitz and Trebel in the west and Vistula in the east, it reached as far south as the Noteć river, but since the 13th century its southern boundary has been placed further north. Most of the region is coastal lowland, being part of the Central European Plain, but its southern, hilly parts belong to the Baltic Ridge, a belt of terminal moraines formed during the Pleistocene.
Within this ridge, a chain of moraine-dammed lakes constitutes the Pomeranian Lake District. The soil is rather poor, sometimes sandy or marshy; the western coastline is jagged, with many peninsulas and islands enclosing numerous bays and lagoons. The eastern coastline is smooth. Łebsko and several other lakes were bays, but have been cut off from the sea. The easternmost coastline along the Gdańsk Bay and Vistula Lagoon, has the Hel Peninsula and the Vistula peninsula jutting out into the Baltic; the Pomeranian region has the following administrative divisions: Hither Pomerania in northeastern Germany, stretching from the Recknitz river to the Oder–Neisse line. This region is part of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; the southernmost part of historical Vorpommern is now in Brandenburg, while its historical eastern parts are now in Poland. Vorpommern comprises the historical regions inhabited by Slavic tribes Rugians and Volinians, otherwise the Principality of Rügen and the County of Gützkow.
The West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland, stretching from the Oder–Neisse line to the Wieprza river, encompassing most of historical Pomerania in the narrow sense. The Pomeranian Voivodeship, with similar borders to Pomerelia, stretching from the Wieprza river to the Vistula delta in the vicinity of Gdańsk; the northern half of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, comprising most of Chełmno Land. The bulk of Farther Pomerania is included within the modern West Pomeranian Voivodeship, but its easternmost parts now constitute the northwest of Pomeranian Voivodeship. Farther Pomerania in turn comprises several other historical subregions, most notably the Principality of Cammin, the County of Naugard, the Lands of Schlawe and Stolp, the Lauenburg and Bütow Land. Parts of Pomerania and surrounding regions have constituted a euroregion since 1995; the Pomerania euroregion comprises Hither Pomerania and Uckermark in Germany, West Pomerania in Poland, Scania in Sweden. "Pomerania" and its cognates in other languages are derived from Old Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along", more, meaning "sea", thus "Pomerania" means "seacoast" or "land by the sea", referring to its proximity to the Baltic Sea.
Pomerania was first mentioned in an imperial document of 1046, referring to a Zemuzil dux Bomeranorum. Pomerania is mentioned in the chronicles of Adam of Bremen and Gallus Anonymous; the term "West Pomerania" is ambiguous, since it may refer to either Hither Pomerania or to the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The term "East Pomerania" may carry different meanings, referring either to Farther Pomerania, or to Pomerelia or the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Settlement in the area called Pomerania for the last 1,000 years started by the end of the Vistula Glacial Stage, some 13,000 years ago. Archeological traces have been found of various cultures during the Stone and Bronze Age, Baltic peoples, Germanic peoples and Veneti during the Iron Age and, in the Dark Ages, Slavic tribes and Vikings. Starting in the 10th century, early Polish dukes on several occasions subdued parts of the region from the southeast, while the Holy Roman Empire and Denmark augmented their territory from the west and north. In the 12th century, narrow Pomerania became Christian under saint Otto of Bamberg.
Since the Griffin Duchy of Pomerania stayed with the Holy Roman Empire and the Principality of Rugia with Denmark, while Pomerelia, under the ruling of Samborides, was a part of Poland. Pomerania, during its alliance in the Holy Roman Empire, shared borders with Slavic state Oldenburg, as well as Poland and Brandenburg; the Teutonic Knights succeeded in integrating Pomerelia into their monastic state in the early 14th century. Meanwhile, the Ostsiedlung started to turn Slavic narrow Pomerania into an German-settled area. In 1325 the line of the pri
Invasion of Poland
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, in Germany as the Poland Campaign, was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union; the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty. German forces invaded Poland from the north and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident. Slovak military forces advanced alongside the Germans in northern Slovakia; as the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established defense lines to the east.
After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom. While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was limited. On 17 September, the Soviet Red Army invaded Eastern Poland, the territory that fell into the Soviet "sphere of influence" according to the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland; the success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
On 8 October, after an initial period of military administration, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under the administration of the newly established General Government. The Soviet Union incorporated its newly acquired areas into its constituent Belarusian and Ukrainian republics, started a campaign of Sovietization. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance organizations formed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the military exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West, an armed force loyal to the Polish government-in-exile. On 30 January 1933, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, came to power in Germany. While the Weimar Republic had long sought to annex territories belonging to Poland, it was Hitler's own idea and not a realization of Weimar plans to invade and partition Poland, annex Bohemia and Austria, create satellite or puppet states economically subordinate to Germany.
As part of this long-term policy, Hitler at first pursued a policy of rapprochement with Poland, trying to improve opinion in Germany, culminating in the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934. Earlier, Hitler's foreign policy worked to weaken ties between Poland and France, attempted to manoeuvre Poland into the Anti-Comintern Pact, forming a cooperative front against the Soviet Union. Poland would be granted territory to its northeast in Ukraine and Belarus if it agreed to wage war against the Soviet Union, but the concessions the Poles were expected to make meant that their homeland would become dependent on Germany, functioning as little more than a client state; the Poles feared that their independence would be threatened altogether. How can they demand the rights of independent states?"The population of the Free City of Danzig was in favour of annexation by Germany, as were many of the ethnic German inhabitants of the Polish territory that separated the German exclave of East Prussia from the rest of the Reich.
The so-called Polish Corridor constituted land long disputed by Poland and Germany, inhabited by a Polish majority. The Corridor had become a part of Poland after the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans wanted the urban port city of Danzig and its environs to be reincorporated into Germany. Danzig city had a German majority, had been separated from Germany after Versailles and made into the nominally independent Free City. Hitler sought to use this as casus belli, a reason for war, reverse the post-1918 territorial losses, on many occasions had appealed to German nationalism, promising to "liberate" the German minority still in the Corridor, as well as Danzig; the invasion was referred to by Germany as the 1939 Defensive War since Hitler proclaimed that Poland had attacked Germany and that "Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier."Poland participated with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia that followed the Munich Agreement, although they were not part of the agreement.
It coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the region of Český Těšín by issuing an ultimatum to that effect