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Germans Invades The Low Countries: 1940. Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg

 German soldiers move through Belgium


In a west Belgium town the Germans get a welcome. Is the town Malmedy? May 1940

A German guards Belgian POW

German soldiers cross a Belgian river on a pontoon

German infantry deploys a 20-mm self-propelled gun on the Maastricht-Mopertingen highway

May 11, 1940. Germans capture the Albert Canal in Belgium.

May 16, 1940. A French heavy tank Char B 1 lays destroyed at the Belgian town of Beaumont


The Char B1 was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a "battle tank" fighting enemy armour, equipping the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm. Starting in the early twenties, its development and production were repeatedly delayed, resulting in a vehicle that was both technologically complex and expensive, and already obsolescent when real mass-production of a derived version, the Char B1 "bis", started in the late thirties. Although a second uparmoured version, the Char B1 "ter", was developed, only two prototypes were built.

Among the most powerfully armed and armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France, but slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then being fought. After the defeat of France captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, with some rebuilt as flamethrowers or mechanised artillery.

 A French Char B 1 tank captured by the Germans in Belgium

Another Char B 1 at Beaumont

A German soldier guards the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael

Germans on the streets of Maastricht, Netherlands. May 10, 1940


Germans inspect the damage to the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael

 A German motorcyclist at West Flanders, Belgium

The German army enters Brussels

 Indian soldiers of the British Army in Belgium in May 1940

After the German ultimatum to the city of Rotterdam ended at 10.30 pm May 14, 1940, at 13.22 hours began the bombing of the city. 814 people died.


Rotterdam after the bombing. View after the German bombing of May 14, 1940 from the White House on Station Exchange, Plan C, the Laurens Church and Town Hall in the background

After signing the capitulation, Dutch General Winkelmann

 Dutch volunteers in German service. Swearing in of the first battalion of the WA Volunteer Regiment at Parliament Buildings in The Hague. Netherlands, 11 October 1941

German people living in Amsterdam greeting the troops

Secretary-General and Commissioner for Administration and Justice Friedrich Wimmer (left), SS officers of State and Commissioner General for Administration and Justice Friedrich Wimmer.

German soldiers on the streets of Rotterdam. May 1940
Streets of Rotterdam

The head of the Dutch Nazi Party, Anton Adrian Mussert

Himmler arrives in Luxembourg

Luxembourg. Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler in a conversation with the officers of the Division "Adolf Hitler " at the "Hotel Brasseur"
In May 1940, after Germany invaded the Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina was forced to leave the country.   In the UK, she led the Netherlands Government in exile.  While in exile, the queen appeared regularly on British radio addressed to those in the occupied territory in Europe. … Here is the text of one of her performances in 1942: "Today, all subjects of the Netherlands commemorated countless compatriots who died in the streets and squares of Amsterdam, Haarlem ... commemorate those who are tormented and tortured by the fascists in the police cells and concentration camps ... loved ones of those who are no longer with us We convey our deepest sympathy ...

 We raised a rebellion in assistance to Jewish families! Because we - the Dutch, are tolerant people. Jewish children were tortured and killed.  That's why we rebelled! “ "

 In their speeches, the Queen often spoke of Hitler as "the enemy of mankind." Winston Churchill called Queen Wilhelmina, "the only man in the Dutch government."
French troops move into Belgium

After the Belgians had capitulated. German and Belgian officers meet at the Belgian Army headquarters to sign the surrender.

German troops march in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium

German soldiers enjoy the sight on the bank of River Maas

Brussels. Germans with surrendered arms of the Belgian army

The British in their hasty retreat left these behind

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May 1945 - If hell on earth existed, than it existed in Prague after May the 5th. 1945. Old men, women and children were beaten to death and maimed. Rapes, barbaric cruelties, horror-scenarios of hellish proportions - here they had been let lose.

- Ludek Pachmann, Czech Chess-Grand Master and publicist, forty years after the fact.

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"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.


HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
-- Ambrose Bierce

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Snippets from History

This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


History is Philosophy teaching by examples.


"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
-- George Santayana

Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre