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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

Junkers Ju 88

Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88

Probably no other aircraft in history has been developed in so many different forms for so many purposes as the Ju 88, with the possible exception of Britain’s Mosquito. The Ju 88 was flown in 1936 as a civil prototype, and it remained of vital importance to Germany throughout the war. After a frantic design process led by two Americans well versed in modern stressed skin construction, it was transformed into a heavier, slower and more capacious high-speed level- and dive-bomber of the type just then entering service when war broke out. Structurally the aircraft was excellent, combining a large internal fuel capacity with great load-carrying capability, and despite the fact that many of its variants were mere “lash-ups”, the performance of the aircraft was never so degraded as to become seriously vulnerable – as the Dornier and Heinkel bombers were.

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Artillery

Flakpanzer IV

Flakpanzer IV
Flakpanzer IV

There were two Flakpanzer IV types, namely the Flakpanzer IV (2cm Flakvierling 38) auf Fgst PzKpfw IV Möbelwagen (furniture van) and the Flakpanzer IV (2cm) mit PzFgst Panzer IV/3 Wirbelwind (whirlwind). The former was developed as the Flakpanzer 38(t), with one 20mm FlaK 38 cannon on a Czechoslovak light tank chassis, and had not proved satisfactory, and the new type entered production in 1943.

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Ships

Lützow

Lützow
Lützow

Originally named Deutschland, the Lützow was one of three armoured ships – the so-called “pocket battleships” – laid down between 1928 and 1931. Deutschland was the first of the class, being launched in May 1931 and completed in April 1933. She was originally used as a seagoing training ship, to familiarize crews with her new technology.

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Small Arms

MG 08

MG 08
MG 08

The Schwere Maschinengewehr 08 (specification at left) was one of Germany’s most important weapons of World War I, and numbers remained in service up to the outbreak of World War II as there were insufficient MG 34 weapons to replace them. By 1942 the s MG 08 had been retired to second-line duties.

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Tracked Vehicles

Panzer 38(t)

Panzer 38(t)
Panzer 38(t)

The Czech LT-38 was one of the most successful products of the pre-war Czech armaments industry. Originating as a design in 1933, it was gradually improved so that by 1938 the latest version, the TNHP, was ordered for the Czech Army. Some 150 were ordered for the Czechs, while foreign orders totalled 200.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Young and under nourished - the ranks of the Wehrmacht were being filled by shockingly young men in 1945. These youths have been captured in March 1945.

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Commanders

Commanders

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich

He was born in Halle, Saxony, on March 7, 1904, the son of the founder of the Halle Conservatory. He was a rounded individual, possessing exceptional intellectual ability, as well as being an accomplished sportsman. In 1922 he joined the navy as a cadet and was under the orders and tutelage of Canaris, but in April 1931, due to allegations of dishonourable conduct towards a young lady who declared that he had impregnated her, he was brought before an honour court, presided over by Canaris, which found him guilty and dismissed him from the service. He became engaged to Lina von Osten and it was she who was to convert him to Nazism, and he joined the NSDAP in 1931. Lina enlisted the help of Frederich Karl von Eberstein to bring him to Himmler’s notice, which he did on the June 14, 1931. Himmler found him appealing; the interview was short and he came straight to the point: “I want to set up a security and information service within the SS and I need a specialist. If you think you can do this management job, will you please write down on paper how you think you would tackle it, I’ll give you 20 minutes.”

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