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March 23 is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 283 days remain until the end of the year.

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  • ✪ Il Duce and der Führer Have a Date - WW2 - 030 - March 23 1940
  • ✪ Geoengineering Watch Global Alert News, March 23, 2019, #189 ( Dane Wigington )
  • ✪ Current Affairs March 23-24 , 2019 : English MCQs

Transcription

March 23, 1940 They say you should never change horses in mid-stream, but the French are not listening to that this week, for this week- while they are at war- France gets a new Prime Minister. I’m Indy Neidell; this is World War Two. Last week the British Fleet at Scapa Flow was bombed by the Germans, but the big news was that the war between Finland and the USSR was over, a peace treaty signed. The Winter War is over. The question arises, though- why does the Soviet Union sign a peace treaty and not militarily occupy all of Finland? Why stop just when the defenders seem to be falling apart? Well, the defensive efforts of the Finns have to have something to do with that. I mean, if the Soviets go ahead and take the whole country, does anyone doubt how effective Finnish guerrilla tactics will be after that conquest based on what we saw in the war? And how determined? But you also gotta think- the Finnish border is still unbroken, spring thaws are coming and will turn the battlefields of Karelia to a swamp that artillery and tanks can not pass, and if the Allies do finally send help, then not only could the Finns hold out for who knows how long, but the USSR would actively be fighting the Allies, and Stalin does not want that. Soviet prestige- in the eyes of the watching world- has been damaged by a small nation, and though the Winter War doesn’t have much of anything to do with the war between Germany and the Allies, it does influence their overall strategies. The Allies think that the Red Army is pretty lame and led by buffoons and bunglers. Finland, who was promised help by the Allies and didn’t get it, will turn to Germany for help getting back on its feet. Germany is only too happy to help out. And the Soviet Union has learned from its mistakes- they now begin equipping the army with winter clothing and snow camouflage, and all the other things you need in sub-zero temperatures, and we’ve already seen that their coordinated use of armor, artillery, and infantry from January on was a big reason for their success. So everyone is in fact colored by the Winter War, whether or not they actively fought it. The USSR’s Chief Marshall of Artillery N. N. Voronov has this to say about what happens in late March 1940, “...a plenary session of the central committee of the party was held, at which a good deal of attention was devoted to examining the lesson of the war. It noted serious shortcomings in the operations of our forces and in the indoctrination and training of our troops. We had still not learned to make use of the full potential of the new equipment... The troops were ill-prepared for operations in the forests and for coping with freezing weather and impassable roads. The Party demanded that the combat experience accumulated at Khasan, Khalkhin Gol, and on the Karelian Isthmus be thoroughly taken into account, that armaments be perfected and that the training of the troops be improved.” Political commissars are officially abolished and ranks like General are reintroduced in the Red Army. Finnish Commander Carl Gustav Mannerheim writes that using commissars in the combat ranks was a big mistake; that orders that must be approved by political leaders cause not only delays, which can lead to disaster, but take away initiative because no one wants responsibility. It is obvious to him that surrounded and starving or freezing units did not surrender because of the commissars, who made threats against the men’s families even, and it occasionally reached the point where the men chose suicide over surrender. Mannerheim has a lot to say about the Red Army- that it was a huge initial mistake for it to begin operations without even taking into account the physical character of the actual theater of war or what the defenders were like. They could have done experiments on attacking in Finnish conditions, but they didn’t, choosing instead to rely on technology and emulate the German attack on the Poles, which just won’t work in dense forests with 2m snowdrifts between the trees. Although the war had not been a true success for either side, one man would have preferred for it to continue- French PM Eduaord Daladier. He wanted to get any actual fighting for the French as far away from France as possible and had really played up the idea of intervening in Scandinavia to “help Finland”, but really to fight the Germans in somewhere like Norway instead of France. Well, on the 20th Daladier asks for a vote of confidence in French parliament. He gets 239 votes of support and only one vote against... however, 300 people abstain from voting. So he is out as Prime Minister, replaced by 62-year-old conservative Paul Reynaud. Daladier remains in the Cabinet as Defense Minister. Reynaud immediately makes proposals for landing troops in Norway and for bombing the Caucasus oilfields to cut off German supplies of iron and oil. The Caucasus is part of the USSR and they supply a lot of raw materials to Germany by trade treaty. I will talk more about this next week, but already on the 20th, allied plans to bomb Soviet oilfields in the Caucasus accelerate, as British intelligence is tasked with getting aerial recon. The British are doing something in the skies this week. They launch a reprisal air raid on the Germans the 19th. 50 British bombers attack the Luftwaffe base on Sylt Island. 41 planes claim to have hit their targets but later recon shows no damage. One British pilot, according to Martin Gilbert, flies to the wrong island in the wrong sea in the wrong country, dropping his bombs on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic, but he does no damage. And as for the British, French, and Germans in the field... “...the two sides watched and waited either side of the Franco-German frontier in the spring of 1940. The French Army, 101 divisions strong, scarcely differed in character from that of 1914. It wore the same boots, manned the same artillery, the venerated 75mm, and marched to the same tunes as under “Papa” Joffre. Moreover, it was still a marching army, its pace of maneuver determined by the age-old rhythms of soldier’s stride and horse’s walk. So too was the bulk of the German army, whose 120 infantry divisions were as road bound as those of the enemy. But the ten German panzer divisions were not road bound; the Luftwaffe squadrons that supported them were not even earthbound. Together they indeed threatened lightning war against the groundlings of the Western Alliance.” As Keegan or any historian will tell you, the defense is based on the invincibility of the Maginot Line, which the French had been building up for ten years. The idea behind it was older, though. See, the French government and High Command are determined that the French Army is never again going to fight a defensive battle on open ground. So they pumped huge amounts of money into building the Maginot Line- 87 miles of it, which is 140 km. They are pretty satisfied that this is effective protection, but it only runs along the Franco-German border, and not the 250 miles- over 400 km- of the Franco-Belgian border. That is partly for financial reasons, but also they don’t want to sabotage relations with Belgium, and the Belgians are pretty clear about how they feel about being left on the wrong side of the line if it is built up on their border. So people think a German advance will be again through Belgium like in 1914, which would involve the French and British mobile forces going into Belgian territory without coordinating anything with Belgian High Command beforehand. That might be less than satisfactory, but we saw last fall that Allied Commander Maurice Gamelin had made plans for such an advance. At first it was to be to the River Schelde if the Germans attack, but that was changed by Directive 8 in November, which was an advance to the River Dyle, which would put the British and French closer to where they thought the 22 Belgian divisions would defend. Keegan quotes a letter from the British Ambassador to Paris to Lord Halifax, “It was no use pointing to the size of the British navy and Air Force... French public opinion wanted large numbers of troops in Europe.” Well, by the beginning of this year they had sent over all five of their regular divisions. These were crack troops. However, since conscription- unlike in the French and German armies- hadn’t begun until the war did, other divisions were found from the volunteer reserves, the Territorial Army, who for all their enthusiasm, were not the equal of the regulars. Still, five divisions of them had been sent by now to France. Three more are soon on their war, but these are so lacking in training that the British themselves call them labor formations. In any case, all 13 are infantry; Britain’s one armored division is not ready for action. But Hitler thinks his forces nearly are. On the 18th, he meets Italian leader Benito Mussolini at the Brenner Pass. Mussolini says he will join the war at an “opportune moment”. Martin Gilbert writes that Mussolini wants to convince Hitler to wait a few months for the attack in the west. Hitler says once France is beaten, Britain will come to terms, no problem, so there will be no delays. And we reach the end of another week- a British air raid, Finnish reflections, and a new French Prime Minister. You can’t blame Daladier for wanting to keep the active war away from his land. And Reynaud is champing at the bit to get going with things that would hopefully do just that. But I don’t think they realize whom they’re dealing with. Hitler wants to attack in the west, so Hitler is going to attack in the west, and all the flights of fancy in the world about winning the war by bombing the Caucasus are not going to change that. The best thing- the only thing- Reynaud should do now is prepare for that attack.

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References

  1. ^ Tucker, Spencer, ed. (2010). "Overivew of 1700 to 1750: Chronology". Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. Volume 1: ca. 3000 BCE-1499 CE. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. pp. 704–705. ISBN 9781851096671.
  2. ^ "ISIL defeated in final Syria victory: SDF". Al Jazeera. March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Lal, K.S. (1988). The Mughal harem. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. p. 90. ISBN 9788185179032.
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  6. ^ Kirkpatrick, D.L. (1978). Twentieth-Century Children’s Writers. London: Macmillan. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-3332-3414-3.
  7. ^ Olson, Kirstin (1994). Chronology of Women's History. Westport: Greenwood. p. 356. ISBN 978-0-3132-8803-6.
  8. ^ The International Who's Who 1990/1991. London: Europa. 1990. p. 835. ISBN 978-0-9466-5358-4. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw | Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  10. ^ "MANUEL ROBLES PEZUELA" (in Spanish). Presidencia de la Republica de Mexico. Retrieved May 28, 2019.

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