Hitler and the Art of the Deal – WW2 – 058 – October 5 1940


October 5, 1940 They are the European leaders of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo
Axis and they have big plans for the future. This week, Hitler meets with Mussolini. I’m Indy Neidell; this is World War Two. Last week, Italy, Germany, and Japan signed
the Tri-Partite Pact, officially creating the Axis Powers. This was in large part to dissuade the US
from entering the war or expanding its influence in the Far East. The Battle of Britain continued, the Battle
of 100 regiments did as well, and the British and Free French tried and failed to take Dakar. I’m gonna do something a bit differently
today. I’m gonna look at some numbers for the whole
month of October. In the month (RC), the British lose 103 ships
for 443,000 tons. U-Boats sink 352,400 of this. Shipping convoys now have escorts as far as
19 degrees west- that’s around 300 miles west of Ireland. But there are not enough escorts to go around. Germany is also helped a lot by the Atlantic
bases taken with the fall of France. They no longer have to run the gauntlet of
the North Sea. Germany now also widely uses Wolfpack tactics
with U-Boat groups. “There is little that can be done against
these or against the U-Boats favorite technique of attacking on the surface from within the
center of a convoy at night. The submarine presents only a small, insignificant
profile to visual search and radar is not yet advanced enough to conquer this deficiency. The listening devices with which escorts are
equipped are not able to discern the difference between the sound of a submarine and the sound
of the ships of the convoy, and Asdic (sonar) is only effective against submerged submarines. Even if they are sighted, the U-Boats are
often able to escape into the darkness because they are faster on the surface than the corvettes
which form a large part of the escort forces.” I’ll jump forward it again with some aerial
figures from James Holland. In October, the Luftwaffe will lose 379 aircraft
and British fighter command 185. Actually, just this week on the 4th, in spite
of all the fighting in the skies the past three months, and all the lost planes and
pilots, Fighter Command for the first time has 700 planes ready to take off. There’s a change in the British High Command
this week. On the 3rd, former PM Neville Chamberlain
resigns from the War Cabinet. Herbert Morrison replaces John Anderson as
Home Secretary on the 4th. Chamberlain is a sick man by this time- hence
his resignation. He left London a couple weeks ago and collapsed
when he got home and had to stay in bed for a few days. He had offered his resignation then, but PM
Winston Churchill had refused it. Chamberlain will resign as Leader of the Conservative
Party on the 9th and will be replaced by Churchill. By this time Chamberlain is aware that his
illness is likely terminal. Of course, many people in Britain have died
recently, because of the Luftwaffe’s bombing campaign. The civilian death toll in Britain for September
from the Blitz is 6,954. On October 5th, though, Adolf Hitler calls
off the daytime bombing raids of London. He’s been losing too many planes. The nighttime raids will, however, continue. He’s quite busy this week, meeting the 4th
with Italian leader Benito Mussolini at the Bremner Pass. Hitler warns Mussolini against starting new
military campaigns, and they talk about the Mediterranean and how to use it against Britain. Hitler suggests to Mussolini that Spain might
be brought into the war on the Axis side, maybe by offering Spanish dictator Francisco
Franco part of French North Africa.Then Germany could use Gibraltar, which would be a big
deal. And to make the French accept the deal, they
could offer them part of British West Africa. Mussolini seems pretty sold on the whole thing,
but since the whole idea involves him getting Tunis, Corsica, and Nice from France, that
makes sense. When Hitler gets back to Berlin he will arrange
for visits to Franco and Vichy French leader Philippe Petain, and also will invite Soviet
FM Vyacheslav Molotov for a visit to talk about what Germany and the USSR can do to
take advantage of Britain in its current state. And now a few words about Operation Felix. It involves Gibraltar. Okay, going back to the Battle of France,
there were those who advised Hitler to make moves on Gibraltar and North Africa next,
instead of Britain. Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring advised an
occupation of Spain, General Heinz Guderian suggested sending two panzer divisions through
Spain to occupy Gibraltar, and Alfred Jodl, armed forces chief of staff, even came up
with a plan to isolate Britain by invading North Africa, Gibraltar, and Spain, and taking
the Suez Canal, instead of invading Britain. German Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, an expert
on Spain, went to Spain in July to assess the situation. Now, we know that Canaris is actually working
from within against Hitler and Germany. So when he returns to Germany and says Franco
doesn’t want to join the war, it is because he is actively dissuading Franco from joining
the Axis Powers. Canaris also knows that Germany could take
Gibraltar if they send enough men and machines there, but he reported negatively. Specifically, “…without 15 inch heavy
assault cannon- which he knew were not available- Gibraltar could not be taken… he gave his
opinion that even if Germany with Spain’s cooperation were able to take Gibraltar, the
British would land in Morocco and French West Africa.” Canaris met with Franco a couple of times,
actually, and told him things like if Spain joins the Axis, then Britain might invade
Spain, and not to be worried about turning down Germany because they have zero of their
own plans to invade Spain because Hitler is thinking about the USSR. According to John Waller in “The Unseen
War in Europe”, Canaris even told Franco he does not think Germany can win the war,
so don’t join the Axis Powers. Franco got pretty confident by all of this
so his demands- if Spain were to cooperate with Germany- are to receive Gibraltar AND
French Morocco. Germany must also provide wheat and oil to
help the Spanish economy, and German forces must first land on Britain proper in an invasion. Hitler sent Canaris to meet Franco again to
get him to soften his demands, and Canaris again told Franco that it would be stupid
to join the losing side. Hitler, though, has approved a general plan
for taking Gibraltar. Operation Felix calls for two Army Corps to
enter Spain via the Pyrenees; one to assault Gibraltar and the other in reserve. There would be air support as well. The whole thing is to be under Walther von
Reichenau and the plan has ambitions to take Spanish North African territory and the Canary
Islands. Well, Hitler is now going to meet Franco in
person in a couple weeks and try to convince him himself to join the war. And at the eastern end of German occupied
territory, on October 1st, Operation Otto begins. This is a program of construction and improvement
of the roads and railways leading to the border with the Soviet Union. All in preparation for a German invasion next
spring. All these invasion plans. And far to the east, the Chinese are still
trying to fight off an invasion. Though by now, phase two of the Battle of
100 Regiments is slowly giving way to phase three. “…characterized by ferocious Japanese
efforts to mop up opposition and a de escalation of the 8th Route Army operations back to the
level of guerrilla warfare.” It is true that the Chinese Communist Army
regiments are dispersing into smaller units and being pulled back to the relative safety
of their base areas. And as the battle goes on- and it doesn’t
have a real end, it just peters out- the Communist forces will be on the defensive. Perhaps a few small tactical engagements or
a little harassment and sabotage will happen, but there are no hundred regiments left with
which to give battle. That does not mean that Mao and the Communist
leaders announce the battle to be over. Far from it, because they still need to use
it as propaganda to show that their United Front with the Nationalist forces is still
united. Especially with things like the nationalists
and communists fighting with each other this week- which I’ll cover next week- but which
threaten the united front. Another sort of united front was declared
last week- the tripartite pact between Japan, Germany, and Italy. Because of that pact, and also the Japanese
occupation of French Indochina last week, Britain has been re-assessing things. Britain now plans to soon reopen the Burma
Road, closed these past few months, a major supply route for the Chinese Nationalists. But this is not going to go over well with
Japan. So Winston Churchill asks US President FDR
to “send an American Squadron, the bigger the better, to pay a friendly visit to Singapore…
anything in this direction would have a marked deterrent effect upon a Japanese declaration
of war on us over the Burma Road opening.” At a meeting the 5th, Admiral Harold Stark,
Chief of American naval Operations, strongly opposes this. He is supported by Undersecretary of State
Sumner Welles, who has Roosevelt’s ear. Roosevelt tells Stark the next day- tomorrow-
to cancel the order for sending 4,000 Marines to various Pacific stations. He would rather have an army division reinforce
Hawaii. The General Staff opposes this, though. What they say they need is antiaircraft personnel
to man the equipment that is already there on Oahu. Also on the 5th, the Tripartite Pact is condemned
by American Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and he announces he’s calling up some of
the naval reserve. And here are a couple of notes to end the
week. On the 1st, the Germans and Finns reach an
agreement- the Germans promise arms and the Finns will sell them nickel from the mines
near Petsamo in exchange. And on the 3rd, all Jews in occupied Warsaw
are directed to move into the ghetto. The 150,000 Jews in Warsaw that do not already
live in the mainly Jewish district are ordered to move there, and it is to be walled in. So 400,000 people will live where 250,000
had lived before. Those ordered to move can only take what they
can carry in their arms or on a handcart. Everything else, furniture, kitchen equipment,
all the things that make a house a home, must be abandoned. And of course, the 100,000 Poles living in
what is now to be the ghetto, are likewise uprooted. On the 4th, Jews in Praga, across the river
from Warsaw, are also ordered to move to the Warsaw Ghetto. And the week ends, with Adolf Hitler making
plans for the future, the Chinese still fighting for their future, the British planning to
help provide for that, but for Neville Chamberlain and the Jews of Warsaw, future prospects are
growing dim. Imagine being Neville Chamberlain just now. Dragged into a war you not only didn’t want,
but didn’t even believe could happen. An object of ridicule to many for believing
Hitler’s promises in spite of the mounting evidence that they were false, an object of
admiration to some for still believing honor or decency had some sort of a place in a darkening
world. And now knowing that the end is near and there
is no end to the war in sight. Imagine going through everything he’s done
the past few years and knowing that you will not be around to find out who wins. That must be pure torture. The Germans and Spanish actually have some
recent history working together during the Spanish Civil War, particularly with regard
to aerial bombing. You can check out our episode of Between 2
Wars about the horrors of civilian bombing campaigns right here. Our Patron of the week is Yaroslav Mochalin. Thanks to his and your support, we are able
to finance and produce this show. If you haven’t already, join our supporters
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