The Expansion to Second World War 1941 Part III
In January and February 1942, Soviet troops advanced north of Smolensk and west to Velikiye Luki. In Army Group North, the 16th Army, which reached Tikhvin on November 8, had to retreat behind the Volkhov in mid-December. In the south, Soviet troops were able to take the Kerch peninsula again at the end of December and break into the German front near Isjum in January 1942. In mid-January 1942 General Field Marshal von Leeb and the suddenly deceased von Reichenau were replaced by General Colonel G. von Küchler and General Field Marshal von Bock, in whose place General Field Marshal G. von Kluge led Army Group Center.
In parallel with the military development, the strategy of extermination against the Jews reached i.a. allegedly racially “inferior” like Sinti and Roma, to which Hitler unwaveringly stuck, reached its climax: after the start of the murder campaigns on the Jews with the attack on the USSR (including mass shootings), the extermination camps were set up in occupied Poland from autumn 1941. In November 1941, the organizational plans for the implementation of the “final solution” were completed and were coordinated with the departments involved at the Wannsee Conference (January 20, 1942).
According to AGOODDIR,the formation of the anti-Hitler coalition: Hitler’s attack on the USSR brought about the great counter-alliance, the anti-Hitler coalition, which until then had failed due to the divergence of the interests of the powers. On July 12, 1941, a British-Soviet agreement on aid was signed, which excluded a separate armistice or separate peace. On August 25, 1941, British and Soviet troops marched into Iran and established a connection through which – in addition to the northern Russian ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk – aid could be sent to the USSR; Persian forced laborers had to build a road between Abadan and the south coast of the Caspian Sea for this purpose. From August 1941 the USA delivered war material to the USSR, on November 6, 1941 could Roosevelt include the USSR in the lend lease system.
In order to forestall possible German landings, the USA occupied Iceland on July 7, 1941 and Greenland in September 1941. The American President had used an incident in the Atlantic to issue the order to fire on ships of the Axis Powers on September 11, 1941, which ventured into sea areas whose protection was considered necessary for American security. In the Atlantic Charter (August 14, 1941), Roosevelt and Churchill had already agreed on a war target program for the liberation of the oppressed nations before the USA entered the war.
The strategy of “Germany first” in the event of a two-ocean war against Germany and Japan had also been established since the British-American “ABC-1 Staff Agreement” of March 27, 1941.
The decision to extend the war to world war in the literal sense of the word came with the escalation of the conflict between Japan and the USA, which saw their economic interests in the Asia-Pacific market and their strategic outposts in the Philippines threatened by the Japanese occupation of southern Indochina. On July 26, 1941, the USA, Great Britain and the Netherlands froze Japanese bank balances and imposed an oil embargo. The Japanese-American secret negotiations (from May 1941) on a modus vivendi, which were initially continued in spite of this, finally failed on November 26, 1941 with the American demand that Japan should withdraw from all of Indochina and China. On December 1, 1941, the Japanese Privy Council finally decided to go to war against the USA, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
The Japanese attack on the USA: the attack by Japanese carrier aircraft on the American Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, by which eight American battleships, several cruisers and destroyers were destroyed or seriously damaged (in addition, 188 American aircraft were eliminated), the USA responded by declaring war on Japan (December 8th); a counter-action against the Japanese, who were planning to conquer Southeast Asia, was initially impossible.
Germany and Italy declared war on the USA on December 11, 1941; Hitler linked this with the hope of preventing a quick victory over Japan, of delaying the Allies’ action against Germany and yet still realizing the goal of his Eastern War. The major political fronts of the war were thus established. The Triple Pact Powers (Axis Powers) and the anti-Hitler coalition, which with the declaration of war on Germany (December 9th) had also joined the Chongqing-based government under Chiang Kai-shek, faced each other. However, Japan and the USSR kept the neutrality treaty they had agreed upon.
All efforts by the Japanese government to achieve a separate German-Soviet peace failed because of Hitler’s rejection.