Nazi Germany and its allies invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. They quickly conquered large expanses of Soviet territory. German forces waged a “war of annihilation” against the Soviet Union and its peoples, killing millions of civilians. However, the Soviet armed forces eventually pushed the German military back and finally conquered Berlin in spring 1945. Often referred to as the “eastern front,” the German-Soviet theater of war was the largest and deadliest of World War II.
World War II in Europe During World War II, Germany overran much of Europe using a new tactic called the "Blitzkrieg" (lightning war). Blitzkrieg involved the massing of planes, tanks, and artillery. These forces would break through enemy defenses along a narrow front. Air power prevented the enemy from closing the breach. German forces encircled opposing troops, forcing them to surrender. Using the Blitzkrieg tactic, Germany defeated Poland (attacked in September 1939), Denmark (April 1940), Norway…
Learn about the role of the legal profession as the Nazi leadership gradually moved Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship.
Key dates associated with Hajj Amin al-Husayni, former Mufti of Jerusalem who participated in a pro-Axis coup in Iraq in 1941. Explore further
Millions of people suffered and died in camps, ghettos, and other sites during the Holocaust....
The Vichy regime introduced race laws to the North African territories in October of 1940. Learn about the impact of the laws on the region’s Jewish people.
The Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei, SiPo) was a new German police organization created by SS leader and Chief of the German Police Heinrich Himmler in 1936. The Security Police united the criminal police (Kripo) and the political police (Gestapo). It was closely aligned with the SD (Sicherheitsdienst), the intelligence agency of the SS. The institution and individuals of the Security Police were major perpetrators of the Holocaust.
The Nazi Kripo, or Criminal Police, was the detective force of Nazi Germany. During the Nazi regime and WWII, it became a key enforcer of policies based in Nazi ideology.
Learn about the establishment and history of the Dachau subcamp München-Schwabing, and the role of Eleonore Baur (also known as Schwester Pia or Sister Pia).
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the world was faced with a challenge—how to seek justice for an almost unimaginable scale of criminal behavior, including the annihilation of European Jewry. Even as a vocabulary emerged to describe the atrocities that would come to be known as the Holocaust, legal experts sought to establish a new body of law to address the unprecedented crimes perpetrated by the Axis powers. A series of war crimes trials convened by the Allied powers and European governments…
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