The Wehrmacht at the Outbreak of War

  • Wilhelm Deist
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


In the early hours of the morning of i September 1939 German troops marched into Poland. By the end of the month Poland had been defeated. This seemed to confirm the judgement of foreign experts as to the strength and offensive capacity of the Wehrmacht, whose six and a half year period of armament had been without precedent. In extensive operations German Army units had engaged and eliminated the enemy. The armoured divisions in particular had completely fulfilled expectations placed in them. Within the first few days of the war the Luftwaffe succeeded in destroying the bulk of the Polish air force. Consequently the Luftwaffe, now in complete command of the air, was able to give effective support to the Army’s military operations. In April 1940, a few months after Poland’s defeat, the three services occupied Denmark and Norway in a combined operation which relied heavily on the Navy.


Individual Service Military Leadership General Staff Armament Measure Separate Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Cf. K. Maier, H. Rohde, B. Stegemann and H. Umbreit, ‘Die Errichtung der Hegemonie über Europa 1939–1941,’ Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, 2 (Stuttgart, 1979).Google Scholar
  2. 21.
    K. Dönitz, Zehn Jahre und zwanzig Tage (Bonn 1958) pp. 86–99.Google Scholar
  3. 35.
    Cf. K.-J. Müller, ‘General Ludwig Beck. Ein General zwischen Wilhelminismus und Nationalsozialismus’, in I. Geiss and B.J. Wendt (eds), Deutschland in der Weltpolitik des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts (Düsseldorf, 1973) p. 518 f.Google Scholar
  4. 48.
    S. Haffner, Anmerkungen zu Hitler (Munich, 1978) p. 67.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilhelm Deist

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations