Tag Archives: Germany

Seventy Years since World War 2

Today, it is seventy years since Germany invaded Poland, leading the allied powers in Europe to declare War on Germany (the USA remained neutral until the Pearl Harbour attack, it joined the War in 1941 and Germany responded in kind).

Eleven months before Neville Chamberlain had returned to the UK proclaiming ‘Peace for Our Time’, having ceded the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany. The Sudetenland was to satisfy Hitler’s demand for expansion – but it contained most of the defenses for Czechoslovakia. The Czechs and Slovaks call the agreement ‘The Munich Dictate’.

France and the United Kingdom told Czechoslovakia that they would be alone if they did not acquiesce to the agreement.

In March, Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, and on March 21st, Hitler demanded that ‘The Free City of Danzig‘ be returned to Germany. Following World War 1, Danzig became independent of Germany, and totally surrounded by Poland. Today, we know Danzig as Gdańsk, and it forms part of Poland.

On March 31st, France and the UK ‘guaranteed’ Polish independence.

In April, Hitler ordered the Germany military to plan for Fall Weiß, the attack on Poland. Shortly thereafter, Italy invaded Albania and the Soviet Union formed an alliance with the United Kingdom and France.

At the end of April, Hitler renounced the Anglo-German naval agreement and, ominously, the German-Polish non-aggression pact.

In May, Sweden, Finland and Norway reject Germany’s offer of non-agression pacts.

The Pact of Steel was signed between Italy and Germany, ensuring each would assist the other in the event of War. Mussolini informed Germany that if the planned attack on Poland went ahead as scheduled, that Italy would not be ready. This delayed the Polish attack by a week, as Germany was trying to get neutrality agreements with France and the UK. Italy did not join the war until June 1940, when it attacked Southern France. The Italians signed an armistice with the Allies in September of 1943, though Northern Italy, under Mussolini, continued to be a member of the Pact in name only.

In August of 1939, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, it was the ‘Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics’. It ensured that Germany and the Soviet Union would remain neutral if the other were in a conflict. It lasted until June 1941, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. The Soviets sought the pact as Hitler had talked about expanding to the east in Mein Kampf, and they sought to prevent that. The agreement also divided Eastern Europe into Soviet and German ‘spheres of influence’. Of the countries mentioned, only Finland managed to remain independent, repelling the Soviet attack of November, 1939.

On September the 1st, Poland was invaded, without a formal declaration of War. An ultimatum was issued by Chamberlain, which expired at 11am on the 3rd September. He announced that ‘consequently this nation is at war with Germany’. France issued at ultimatum a few hours later. Interestingly, the USA has only declared war formally five times (the last time was World War 2). I’ve been unable to find an equivalent article for the United Kingdom.

India, Australia and New Zealand also declared War on Germany on the 3rd. (India was not independent at that time, so the Indians didn’t have much say in the matter).

The first action of World War 2 which concerned the UK directly was the German torpedoing of the SS Athenia on the 3rd. The ship was en route from Scotland to Montreal. The first British action was the targetting of the Admiral Scheer, a battleship which was in Heligoland Bight. This was the 4th September. The ship survived.

Japan and the USA declared neutrality in Europe on the 4th and 5th respectively. South Africa, following a failed attempt to establish neutrality (involving a change of Prime Minister) declared War on Germany. This was on the 6th. Canada declared war on Germany on the 10th.

The first British military personnel killed was at the Battle of Barking Creek on the 6th September – this was a false alarm and a ‘friendly fire’ incident.

Get your German interior minister’s fingerprint here

A fundamental flaw with biometric ID cards has been demonstrated in a very high profile way.

In the most recent issue of Die Datenschleuder, the Chaos Computer Club printed the image [of the fingerprint of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s interior minister] on a plastic foil that leaves fingerprints when it is pressed against biometric readers. (my emphasis)

“The whole research has always been inspired by showing how insecure biometrics are, especially a biometric that you leave all over the place,” said Karsten Nohl, a colleague of an amateur researcher going by the moniker Starbug, who engineered the hack. “It’s basically like leaving the password to your computer everywhere you go without you being able to control it anymore.”

Schauble’s fingerprint was captured off a water glass he used last summer while participating in a discussion celebrating the opening of a religious studies department at the University of Humboldt in Berlin. The print came from an index finger, most likely the right one, Starbug believes, because Schauble is right-handed.

Whoops.

NO2ID - Stop ID cards and the database state

Visited Countries

I’ve updated my visted countries maps, and they look like this (with Germany and Austria being only fleeting):

County map
I’ve visited the counties in yellow.
Which counties have you visited?

made by marnanel
map reproduced from Ordnance Survey map data
by permission of the Ordnance Survey.
© Crown copyright 2001.

On the UK map, much is to be taken with a pinch of salt, it’s very easy to go between UK counties! I’ve only been to Scotland once, and that was fleeting. I’ve been to most counties in Wales (if not all), but am making best guess, and I really can’t recall the southwest of Wales, the rest is on a ‘best guess’ basis. The nearer to London, the more sure I can be of the counties actually visited. I tried to tick only for actually setting for in the counties, rather than setting wheel – so I can’t be sure of Rutland, and can’t recall going to Norfolk at all (though I think I was taken to the Broads once, I have no memory of it).

EU map
create your personalized map of europe

US map
create your own visited states map

World Map
create your own visited countries map

Germany vs. Italy

This was a fantastic semi-final, it’s an old cliché, but both teams deserved to go through – if only the final is to be as good!

The Italian goals at the end was just inspired. The second goal was made more likely as the Germans were forced to throw everything forward.

The Germans were unlucky, they can be proud of their performance.

Germany vs. Argentina?

For the English supporter, this is a tough call… who do we want to win?

Whenever I’ve asked someone today who they’d prefer to win, the answer has been ‘neither’!

We have a history with both (both on and off the field), so we can’t just look at that. I think I’d prefer Germany to win, as assuming that England get through (not a safe bet in my opinion), a final against Germany would be preferable to one against Argentina. This is because Argentina have looked the stronger team, and playing Germany at home (and hopefully beating them) would be sweet.

Admittedly, there’s another match before the final, so it’s possible both could get knocked out.

… and there are still two major obstacles before England has a chance at seeing the final. If we survive Portugal, the last obstacle is Brazil – although admittedly they’re no longer as formidable as they once were, they’re still fairly scary.

The laws of narrative suggest that an England/Germany final in Germany would be a good end to this world cup. 40 year of hurt and all that. Does the real world run on narrative?