Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu meets
with Hitler and expresses concern about the unfolding disaster
The whole of the German workforce is
mobilised for ‘total war’. All men aged 16-65 and
women aged 17- 50 to be registered.
Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner
is appointed the successor to Heydrich.
With the German Sixth Army in its death
throes at Stalingrad, Hitler does the seemingly unthinkable
and allows the 10th anniversary of the Nazi seizure of power
to pass without speaking to the nation. It is the first unmistakable
evidence of Hitler's retreat from public appearances as the
tide of the war turns.
Vichy France creates the Milice (Militia),
under the command of Joseph Darnand, an extreme right-wing World
War 1 veteran, to combat the Resistance. The Milice effectively
becomes an arm of the German Occupation and reaches a strength
of more than 20,000 by mid-1944.
Dr. Mildred Harnack-Fish, a member
of the German resistance sentenced to death by the German government,
is beheaded at Berlin's Plotzensee Prison.
In the wake of the Stalingrad
disaster, Dr. Goebbels, speaking before an enthusiastic audience
of soldiers and civilians in Berlin, announces the implementation
of "total war" which, for the first time, mandates
the employment of German women in the war effort.
An assassination attempt
is made on Hitler.
Hitler breaks his four-month silence
with a Hero's Day speech.
Dietrich Bonhöffer is arrested,
charged with subverting the German armed forces and imprisoned.
Hitler spends the better
part of four days at Klessheim Castle near Salzburg (which has
recently been refurbished as a Nazi Party conference center
and spa) alternately browbeating and cajoling Mussolini to keep
Italy in the war. Concerned by Mussolini's evaporating morale,
Hitler spends the rest of April summoning to Klessheim the leaders
Vichy France, Norway, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and
Croatia for a series of pep talks. With the war's tide clearly
turning against the Axis, the Fuhrer has limited success.
SA Chief of Staff Viktor
Lutze is killed. The actual cause of his death remains mysterious.
Officially, he died in a automobile accident, although rumours
persist that he was killed when German partisans ambushed his
car. He is succeeded by Wilhelm Scheppmann.
Hitler makes one of his increasingly
rare visits to Berlin for Viktor Lutze's funeral.
In a speech to Nazi Party Reichsleiters
and Gauleiters in Berlin, Hitler says tht U-boat warfare will
be stepped up as the surest way to "cut the arteries of
the enemy." Even as the Fuhrer speaks, however, the calamity
of "Black May" for the U-boat force is unfolding in
Jean Moulin presides over the first-ever
unified meeting of the French Resistance at 48 Rue de Four in
Paris, where Charles de Gaulle is unanimously recognized as
the movement's leader. A month later, Moulin is betrayed and
arrested by the Gestapo, dying on his way to a concentration
camp in Germany.
The British actor Leslie
Howard, flying back to Britain from a five-week lecture tour
in Spain and Portugal boosting the Allied cause, is killed when
his DC-3 airliner is shot down by German fighter planes over
the Bay of Biscay. Although it came to be believed that the
real target was Howard's manager, Alfred Chenhalls, who bore
a passing resemblance to Winston Churchill, it now appears certain
that Howard was the actual target. Alerted to Howard's presence
in the Iberian Peninsula by German agents, Nazi Propaganda Minister
Joseph Goebbels had ordered the plane shot down in order to
silence the outspoken anti-Nazi actor.
General Sikorski and several
other Polish leaders of the London-based anti-Communist Polish
government-in-exile, die in plane crash just after take-off
from Gibraltar, which some suspect is the result of deliberate
Portugal, invoking her
1373 alliance with Great Britain, agrees to allow Allied forces
the use of the Azores Islands for naval and air bases.
Himmler, becomes the Minister
of the Interior.
After weeks of prodding
by Goebbels, Hitler consents to make a short radio broadcast
to the German people on the dramatic events of the summer, particularly
in Italy. After paying tribute to his fallen partner Mussolini,
Hitler warns his enemies that getting rid of him will not be
nearly so simple.
In a sign of the increasing confidence
and audacity of the French Resistance, Julius Ritter, an aide
to Nazi Labour Minister Fritz Sauckel, is shot to death in broad
daylight on the Etoile in Paris. Fifty Frenchmen are taken hostage
and executed by the Nazis in reprisal.
General de Lattre de Tassigny
escapes from Vichy France.
The Germans publish a plan to kidnap
Hitler, which was allegedly drawn up by the Italians.
Hitler in his last speech
to Nazi Party says ‘We shall go on fighting past 12 o’clock’.
Hitler orders the conscription
of German Youth for active service.
Rommel becomes C in C of
Army Group B, which covers the coastal defences from Holland
to Bay of Biscay.
A pitched battle is reported between
the resistance and Germans troops in Bernex, eastern France.
Franco disbands Falangist (Fascist)
Militia in Spain.
Under pressure from the Allies to curtail
German espionage operations in the Irish Free State, Prime Minister
Eamon de Valera confiscates the German embassy's radio transmitter.
Commanders of the ‘Second Front’
are announced as Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary
Force; Montgomery to be C in C of 21st Army Group.