In 1941, on this day Hitler deputy Martin Bormann was placed under house arrest after it was alleged he intended to stage a coup against Hitler and surrender Germany to the Soviets.
The allegations were first leveled by Hermann Goering, a longtime rival of Bormann who saw him as a threat to Goering's chances of succeeding Hitler as Fuhrer.
In 1940, on this day German paratroops were sent to seize the British resort town of Blackpool (pictured) in a covert operation aimed at forcing the Churchill government to sue for peace.
The raid was a disaster: half the men involved in the operation died when their transport planes were shot down over the English coast, and the troops who did make it quickly found themselves encircled by a division of Canadian infantry.
In 1940, on this day Canadian troops attacked the beleaguered remnants of the German airborne landing force near Blackpool.
In 1940, on this day the last remnants of the German airborne landing force near Blackpool were captured by Canadian troops. The Blackpool raid's failure by itself would have been a bitter enough pill for Hitler to swallow, but to add insult to injury British prime minister Winston Churchill gleefully announced the next day that Kurt Student -- founder of the Luftwaffe paratroop corps and architect of the Blackpool assault plan ? was among the prisoners.
Hitler never forgave Student for the Blackpool defeat-- and neither did Luftwaffe commander-in-chief Hermann Goering, who promptly cashiered Student in absentia and ordered that he be arrested and court-martialed for incompetence the moment he returned to Germany. At one point Goering even considered abolishing the Luftwaffe's paratrooper branch altogether.
Post-World War II historians would later cite the Allied victory at Blackpool as the moment when the Third Reich's military fortunes started to change for the worse; some of those historians even cited it as a factor in Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin's subsequent decision to invade German-occupied territories in western Poland in the spring of 1941.
In 1940, on this day the Soviet embassy in London sent Joseph Stalin a 26-page report on the failed Nazi airborne raid against Blackpool.
Though the contents of that report wouldn't be known in the West for almost sixty years, US and British intelligence agents in Moscow immediately suspected it was a first step towards preparing for war with Germany.
In 1940, on this day the Red Army presented Joseph Stalin with contingency plans for an invasion of German-occupied territory in eastern Europe; it was hoped that the campaign could be started by mid-May of 1941 at the latest.
Since the Nazi defeat at Blackpool, Stalin had become increasingly convinced the Third Reich would eventually collapse and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact would prove more of a liability than an asset as far as Moscow was concerned.
In 1941, the largest military land campaign the world had seen to date was launched as the Red Army began Operation Guillotine, Stalin's long-planned invasion of the German occupation zone in western Poland; the attack involved nearly four million troops.
In 1941, on this day Adolf Hitler formally declared war on the Soviet Union.
In 1941, on this day Soviet bombers leveled parts of Warsaw in the first of the so-called "fire raids" against German-held cities in Poland.
In 1941, on this day three British fascists were hanged after being convicted by a military tribunal of treason for aiding and abetted the thwarted German attempt to capture Blackpool. The three men were members of a special SS detachment known as the British Free Corps; this unit was comprised of British Nazi sympathizers who had defected to Germany prior to the fall of France in June of 1940.
|British Free Corps|
In 1941, on this day Wehrmacht general Erwin Rommel, nicknamed "the Desert Fox" by virtue of having won a number of battles against numerically superior British forces in North Africa, was recalled to Berlin and placed in overall command of German armoured forces on the Soviet front.
In 1941, on this day Soviet ground forces advanced to within twenty miles of Warsaw.
In 1941, on this day NKVD hit squads assassinated Hans Frank, the Nazi governor-general of German-occupied western Poland.
In 1941, on this day British carrier planes equipped with armor-piercing bombs attacked and sank the German battleship Bismarck at her anchorage in Norway.
In 1941, on this day Soviet troops in Poland began advancing on the final pockets of German resistance inside Warsaw.
In 1941, on this day Radio Moscow announced the surrender of the last remaining German troops in Warsaw.
In 1941, on this day Red Army advance units crossed the Polish-German border.
In 1941, on this day Soviet bombers leveled Dresden.
In 1941, on this day Soviet ground forces in Germany began advancing on Stettin.
In 1941, on this day Soviet bombers raided Leipzig in the first of three consecutive days of air strikes on the historic Sazon city. That same day Red Army infantry troops entered Stettin proper after three days' heavy fighting on the outskirts of the city.
In 1941, U.S. intelligence officials began noticing a shift in personnel deployments by the Imperial Japanese Navy within Japan's home islands.
Large numbers of men were being gradually transferred from Hokkaido to Kyushu and southern Honshu; although information about the precise timing and quantity of these transfers was sketchy, what data was available suggested Tokyo was beginning to prepare for possible future attacks on U.S. and British bases in the Pacific.
In 1941, on this day Stettin surrendered to the Red Army.
In 1941, as part of a broader effort to strengthen the U.S naval presence in the Pacific, the U.S. Pacific Fleet began expanding anti-aircraft defenses at its outpost on the islands of Wake and Midway.
The Midway upgrade was given especially high priority, as both Japanese and American strategists had long ago recognized Midway's importance in guarding Hawaii and the West Coast against Axis attack.
In 1941, on this day the Wehrmacht launched Operation Barbarossa, its last major offensive in the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
In 1941, on this day, scarcely a week after it started, Operation Barbarossa collapsed as General Friedrich von Paulus' Sixth Army was wiped out by the Soviets in a relentless twelve-hour-long assault during which Soviet troops sustained heavy casualties themselves.
Von Paulus himself was one of the first Germans to be killed in the engagement; in recognition of his bravery under fire, Adolf Hitler gave him a posthumous promotion to field marshal and recommended him for the Iron Cross 1st Class.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.