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Third Reich Day by Day

The rise of the Third Reich as it happened from its beginnings to the start of World War II in September 1939.

Weapons & Technology

Aircraft

Arado Ar 95

Arado Ar 95
Arado Ar 95

Walter Blume designed the Arado Ar 95 in 1935 for the coastal patrol, reconnaissance and light attack role. It was a two-seat biplane with metallic fuselage and rear-folding wings. The wings had a metal structure, with the top one skinned in metal and the lower one in canvas. The prototype(Ar-95 V1) first flew during 1937, fitted with a Junkers Jumo V12 engine of 455kW (610hp).

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Artillery

Flak 38/39

Flak 38/39
Flak 38/39

Although the German air force’s 8.8cm anti-aircraft guns were to prove highly capable weapons, both against aircraft and against armoured vehicles, it became clear in the early 1930s that larger-calibre weapons with a higher muzzle velocity would be needed for the engagement of the high-flying aircraft that were becoming feasible. In 1933 Krupp and Rheinmetall were each tasked with the construction of a pair of prototypes for competitive evaluation in 1935. Rheinmetall’s Gerät 38 was selected in 1936 and ordered as the 10.5cm Fliegerabwehrkanone 38.

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Ships

Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein

The Schleswig-Holstein was one of a class of five pre-dreadnought battleships, laid down in 1902–04. She was launched in December 1906, completed in July 1908 and subsequently served with the German High Seas Fleet, seeing action in the Battle of Jutland. In the last two years of the war she served in turn as a depot ship at Bremerhaven and an accommodation ship at Kiel, and was one of the small force of warships that Germany was permitted to retain by the Versailles Treaty for coastal defence in the post-war years.

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Small Arms

Sturmgewehr 44

Sturmgewehr 44
Sturmgewehr 44

Experience with the 8000 examples of the Haenel Maschinenkarabiner 42(H) assault rifle used for operational trials on the Eastern Front was generally successful, but indicated the need for changes whose implementation created the Maschinenpistole 43 firing the same 7.92mm kurz (short) intermediate-power round.

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Tracked Vehicles

Wespe

Wespe
Wespe

In the search for a platform to carry the 105mm leFH18M L/28 howitzer, the chassis of the Panzer II was preferred over those of the Panzer III and IV. The first Wespes proved a great success, and so all Panzer II chassis production was ordered to be used for their manufacture.

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Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Commanders

Commanders

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s aim in the East was very clear: acquiring Lebensraum in the East up to the Ural Mountains. These lands were occupied by groups that Hitler and Nazism despised: Bolsheviks, Slavs and Jews. Under the New Order, these peoples would either become slaves under German overlords or would be exterminated. He was to state in 1942: “If we do not complete the conquest of the East utterly and irrevocably, each successive generation will have war on its hands”. For him the war in Russia was a racial conflict, in which the racially superior German Aryan race was locked in a struggle with the “sub-human” Slavs. This made retreat in the face of “inferior” peoples unimaginable, for the Führer could not conceive of the racially inferior Slavs being able to defeat a superior race. As he stated on the eve of Kursk: “Germany needs the conquered territories or she will not exist for long. She will win hegemony over the rest of Europe. Where we are - we stay.”

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