March 23, 2018




Mussolini re-formed the Milan fascio into the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Squad), consisting of 200 members. Mussolini's foreign policy was based on spazio vitale (vital space), a concept  analogous to Lebensraum in German National Socialism. The concept of spazio vitale was first announced in 1919, when the entire Mediterranean, especially so-called Julian March,  was claimed as Italy's exclusive sphere of influence, as from the ancient Roman province of Italia.  Mussolini believed that Italy had the right to colonize the neighboring Slovene ethnic areas and the Mediterranean because they were less developed, and that Italy needed the space because it was suffering from overpopulation. In September 1920, Mussolini made a speech in Pula, in which he also stated that, "...When dealing with such a race as Slavic — inferior and barbarian — we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy ... We should not be afraid of new victims ... The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps ... I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians ..."


At night the Western Allies began Operation Plunder, the crossing of the Rhine.  The 21st Army Group under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery launched Operation Plunder, as a part of a coordinated set of Rhine crossings. The crossing of the river Rhine was at Rees, Wesel, and south of the river Lippe by the British Second Army, under Lieutenant General Sir Miles C. Dempsey (Operations Turnscrew, Widgeon, and Torchlight), and the United States Ninth Army (Operation Flashpoint (1945), under Lieutenant General William H. Simpson. The First Allied Airborne Army conducted Operation Varsity airborne landings on the east bank of the Rhine in support of Operation Plunder, consisting of U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps, the British 6th and the U.S. 17th Airborne Divisions. Within a week of the start of Plunder, the Allies had taken 30,000 prisoners of war north of the Ruhr.

Italian partisans operating in Rome threw a bomb at an SS unit, killing 33 soldiers. The next day, the  Nazis rounded up 335 Italian civilians and took them to the Adeatine caves where they were executed in reprisal for the death of the SS soldiers.  Of the civilian victims, 253 were Catholic, 70 were Jewish and the remaining 12 were unidentified.  Despite such reprisals, the partisans were extremely effective in aiding the Allies and by the summer of 1944, resistance fighters successfully immobilized eight of the 26 German divisions in northern Italy. By the end of the war, the partisans guerrilla force controlled Venice, Milan, and Genoa, though at considerable cost to their units. They lost about 50,000 fighters but achieved their victory and won back the Republic.  Italian partisans (antifascist guerrilla fighters) aided the Allied battle against the Germans and had been fighting underground against the fascist government of Mussolini long before its surrender. Then it fought against German fascism. The main weapon of the Italian guerrillas was sabotage of communication lines, transports, and supply lines, as well as killing enemy soldiers.

March 22, 2018




Before 1939 the German Nazis had already opened six concentration camps in the German Reich. Dachau concentration camp near Munich 1933); Sachsenhausen near Berlin in northern Germany (1936); Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany (1937);  Flossenbürg in northeastern Bavaria near the 1937 Czech border (1938):  Mauthausen, near Linz, Austria (1938), and Ravensbrück, a concentration camp for women, established in Brandenburg Province, southeast of Berlin (1939);


The Nazi Germans opened the newly constructed gas chambers and crematory IV at Auschwitz.

The entire village of Khatyn (now in Belarus) was burnt alive by members of the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118. The Battalion was formed by the Nazis in 1942 in Kiev (now capital of  Ukraine) with 500 volunteers in three companies. Later the battalion split away and was composed of Ukrainian nationalists and volunteers of POW camps that Soviets captured during Operation Barbarossa, headed by German commander Sturmbannführer Erich KörneSchutzmannschaft.  The Battalion committed the most savage atrocities and war crimes during WW2.  The Khatyn massacre (not to be confused with the Katyn Massacre of Polish officers at Smolensk) occurred in Khatyn, a village in Belaarus was the site of another atrocity.  On March 22, 1943, the Battalion 118 filled a farmers barn with civilians from the village, set the barn on fire, and used a machine gun to mow down civilians who tried to escape the flames.  The Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 was chiefly responsible for the creation of German "dead zones". The dead zone policy involved exterminating communities suspected, or capable of aiding the Soviet partisans who had launched ambushes against Nazi forces in Belarus.

March 21, 2018




Zygmunt Puławski died on March 21, 1931, when he crashed while flying his newest design, an amphibious flying boat PZL.12 .  Pulawski was a Polish aircraft designer and pilot. He invented a gull-wing aircraft design and constructed a series of Polish PZL fighters. The first was the PZL P1 commissioned by the Polish military. Its gull-wing design gave the pilot an excellent view from his cockpit. A prototype was flown in 1929 and was met with great interest around the world. The wing design became known as "Puławski wing" or "Polish wing",  which was copied in later designs by various international manufacturers.


Nazi Germany demanded the return of Danzig (Gdansk) from Poland. (Note: The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed after the end of World War I, between the Allied Powers, and Germany restored the sovereignty and independence of Poland  (after 123 years of oblivion) and gave Poland control of an outlet to the sea, as well as a large portion of  land inhabited by the Germans.  (In order to give Poland access to the Baltic Sea a  "corridor" was created by passing control of the German provinces of Posen and West Prussia to Poland. In the process East Prussia was separated from the rest of Germany.) Poland also gained half of Silesia. Danzig was made a Free City under the control of the League of Nations. The German government signed the treaty under protest. Consequently, a large portion of the German population was living under foreign rule, and the territorial changes brought about by the Versailles Treaty would create tensions in the ensuing months and years culminating in the invasion of Poland by Germany on September 1, 1939.


Tadeusz Tański, 49 was murdered at Auschwitz concentration camp. He was a Polish automobile engineer and the designer of the first Polish serially-built automobile, the CWS T-1 among other designs. Until late 1930s Tanski was one of the most notable Polish constructors and the designer of numerous cars, lorries and artillery tractors.


Nazi German Fritz Sauckel was named General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment to expedite recruitment and use of slave labor. According to Sauckels testimony at Nuremberg, of the five million foreign workers brought to Germany, around 200,000 came " voluntarily ". The majority were workers rounded up from the Eastern territories, especially Poland and the Soviet Union, and subjected to extremely harsh treatment in service for German coal mining, steel making and manufacture of armaments, and others. It was to be one of the main accusations against Sauckel when he was brought before the Nuremberg trials for his crimes. He attempted to defend himself claiming that it was not slave labor and that it had "nothing to do with exploitation. It is an economic process for supplying labour".  He was found guilty of crimes of war, and crimes against humanity and hanged on October 16, 1946.


A second attempt was made on Hitler's life in the space of eight days. Rudolf Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, an officer in the German army,  was given the opportunity to escort Hitler through an exhibition of captured Soviet war materiel at the Zeughaus in Berlin. Gersdorff had set a ten minute fuse on a time bomb that when detonated would kill himself and Hitler.  Unexpectedly,  Hitler rushed through the viewing and left after two minutes. Whereas Gersdorff excused himself and hurried to defuse the explosive which had been hidden in the restroom. His plans were never detected.