US forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany in April 1945. Here, US soldiers escort German civilians from the nearby town of Weimar through the Buchenwald camp. The American liberating troops had a policy of forcing German civilians to view the atrocities committed in the camps.
Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, beginning World War II. German forces swiftly overran Polish border defenses and approached Warsaw, Poland's capital city. Warsaw suffered heavy air attacks and artillery bombardments during the campaign. The city surrendered on September 28. This footage shows German forces entering Warsaw amidst the destruction caused by their bombardment of the city.
Allied forces occupied most of Germany by the end of April 1945. German forces fighting in Italy were the first to surrender unconditionally to the Allies. Representatives of the German command in Italy signed the surrender on April 29, and it became effective on May 2, 1945. Five days later, on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the western Allies, ending the war in Europe.
Germany invaded France in May 1940. This footage shows German tanks, artillery, and divebombers attacking the Maginot Line, a series of French fortifications intended to protect France's border with Germany. The main German assault, however, went to the north through Luxembourg and bypassed the Maginot Line. German forces entered Paris on June 14, 1940. Little more than a week later, defeated France signed an armistice with Germany.
Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, simultaneously attacking Norway's coastal cities from Narvik in the far north to Oslo in the south. Despite Allied naval superiority, German naval forces played an important role in the campaign. This footage shows German naval units sailing towards Norway in rough seas. German victory in Norway secured access to the North Atlantic for the German navy, especially the submarine fleet, and safeguarded transports of Swedish iron ore for Germany's war industry.
Germany invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, simultaneously attacking Norway's coastal cities from Narvik in the far north to Oslo in the south. Narvik was the scene of fierce battles between German forces and the Allies, who landed troops by sea in support of the Norwegians. Narvik changed hands several times. However, British, French, and Polish forces were finally withdrawn in June 1940 due to the success of the German campaign in western Europe. German victory in Norway secured access to the North Atlantic for the German navy, especially the submarine fleet, and safeguarded transports of Swedish iron ore for Germany's war industry. Narvik was the only all-weather outlet for Swedish iron ore.
France signed an armistice with Germany on June 22, 1940, recognizing the right of German authorities to oversee the French administration. Further, German military authorities held jurisdiction over matters of internal security. In this footage, a German military court in Paris tries French citizens charged with resisting measures of the military occupation. Despite harsh military justice, the Germans could not quell opposition in France, and resistance activities would reach a peak during the Allied invasion of France in June 1944.
Germany launched its western offensive on May 10, 1940. German paratroopers landed in the Netherlands on the first day of the German attack on that country. They seized key bridges and fortifications, compromising Dutch defensive positions. This footage shows the German air force (Luftwaffe) dropping paratroopers near Rotterdam. Within days, the Netherlands was defeated. The country surrendered to Germany on May 14. The Dutch government and Queen Wilhelmina fled to exile in Great Britain.
Denmark signed a nonaggression pact with Germany in 1939, hoping to maintain neutrality as it had in World War I. Germany, however, broke the agreement on April 9, 1940, when it occupied Denmark. King Christian X remained on the throne, and the Danish police and government reluctantly accepted the German occupation. This footage shows the German presence in the occupied Danish capital, Copenhagen. In 1943, as German policies towards Denmark toughened, the Danes would form one of the most active and successful resistance campaigns against the German occupation.
Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. The Blitzkrieg ("lightning war") campaign in Poland was short and decisive. Warsaw, the capital of Poland, surrendered on September 27. In early October, Adolf Hitler visited Warsaw to review his forces. This footage shows victorious German army units parading before Hitler in the streets of the devastated city.
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