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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'Blackpool 1940' by Guest Historian Chris Oakley
Guest Historian Guest Historian Chris Oakley says, this thread is a variant from a Sky News article of February 23rd which reads ~ Blackpool was off-limits to the Luftwaffe during World War Two because Hitler wanted the seaside town as a "playground", uncovered documents reportedly reveal. The Fuhrer apparently wanted to hoist the Nazi flag up Blackpool Tower and base the headquarters for his paratroopers there. Uncovered intelligence maps reportedly reveal Hitler's intention to spare the Lancashire resort during his planned invasion of Great Britain. York-based publisher Michael Cole brought the documents back from Germany about a year ago, he said. The papers go toward explaining why the resort escaped unscathed during the Blitz - especially considering there were major British aircraft manufacturing factories situated there. "These maps will be the source of much interest particularly to those who lived here through the Second World War," said Elaine Smith, chairman of Blackpool's Civic Trust. "It had been known that Hitler intended to use Blackpool as his personal playground after what he hoped to be a successful invasion and the war ended. "He probably wanted to keep the resort as it was so he could enjoy it as Chancellor of Britain." The maps also detail the Nazi leader's invasion plans - which included marching soldiers along the coastline. The Italian Gardens in Stanley Park was to be used as a guide for paratroopers because the paths formed a perfect compass.
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Blackpool 1940



June 27

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.

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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.



July 28

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.

Seaside Resort
Seaside Resort - of Blackpool
of Blackpool


July 29
Seaside Resort

In 1940, on this day Canadian troops attacked the beleaguered remnants of the German airborne landing force near Blackpool.

Seaside Resort - of Blackpool
of Blackpool


August 1

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.

Seaside Resort
Seaside Resort - of Blackpool
of Blackpool

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.



August 5

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.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin


October 18

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.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin


April 5

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.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin


April 6

In 1941, on this day Adolf Hitler formally declared war on the Soviet Union.

 - Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler


April 13

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.                              

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April 18
Uniform

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.

Uniform - British Free Corps
British Free Corps


April 16

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.

Field Marshall
Field Marshall - Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel


April 27
Red Army

In 1941, on this day Soviet ground forces advanced to within twenty miles of Warsaw.

Red Army - Logo
Logo


April 30

In 1941, on this day NKVD hit squads assassinated Hans Frank, the Nazi governor-general of German-occupied western Poland.                                                                                      

 - Hans Frank
Hans Frank


May 2
SS

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.

SS - Bismarck
Bismarck


May 5

In 1941, on this day Soviet troops in Poland began advancing on the final pockets of German resistance inside Warsaw.                                                                                                

Red Army
Red Army - Logo
Logo


May 7
Radio Moscow

In 1941, on this day Radio Moscow announced the surrender of the last remaining German troops in Warsaw.

Radio Moscow - Logo
Logo


May 16

In 1941, on this day Red Army advance units crossed the Polish-German border.

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May 22

In 1941, on this day Soviet bombers leveled Dresden.

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May 26

In 1941, on this day Soviet ground forces in Germany began advancing on Stettin.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin


June 1

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.

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June 2

In 1941, U.S. intelligence officials began noticing a shift in personnel deployments by the Imperial Japanese Navy within Japan's home islands.

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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.



June 4

In 1941, on this day Stettin surrendered to the Red Army.

 -


June 8

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.



June 15

In 1941, on this day the Wehrmacht launched Operation Barbarossa, its last major offensive in the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

 -


June 22

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.

General
General - von Paulus
von Paulus

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.



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