World War II: Axis Invasions and the Fall of France as presented by: The Atlantic

In the spring of 1940, an emboldened Germany asserted itself as a modern conqueror of nations, successfully invading and occupying six countries in fewer than 100 days. In April 1940, Germany invaded Denmark, which capitulated in a mere six hours. At the same time, Nazi warships and troops were entering Norwegian waters, attacking ships and landing troops, starting a conflict that would last for two months. On May 10, more than 2 million German troops on land and in the air invaded France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands using blitzkrieg tactics. The smaller countries fell within weeks, but France held on until June 22, when it signed an armistice with Germany. Also during this period, the Soviet Union initiated staged elections in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, forcefully annexing them. By the end of the summer, German forces were digging in, building up, and planning for the Battle of Britain. An aircraft spotter on the roof of a building in London, England, with St. Paul's Cathedral in the background. French soldiers load a piece of artillery in a wood somewhere in the Western Front on May 29, 1940. The shell will be fired into the Nazi-occupied sector of the soldiers' homeland. A crowd of women, children and soldiers of the German Wehrmacht give the Nazi salute on June 19, 1940, at an unknown location in Germany.

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