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Summer of 1940 The: The History of the Months that Decided the Fate of Europe in World War II - cover
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Summer of 1940 The: The History of the Months that Decided the Fate of Europe in World War II

Charles River Editors

Narrator Arthur Armstrong

Publisher: Charles River Editors

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Summary

One of the most famous people in the world came to tour the city of Paris for the first time on June 28, 1940. Over the next three hours, he rode through the city’s streets, stopping to tour L’Opéra Paris. He rode down the Champs-Élysées toward the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, where he had his picture taken. After passing through the Arc de Triomphe, he toured the Pantheon and old medieval churches, though he did not manage to see the Louvre or the Palace of Justice. Heading back to the airport, he told his staff, “It was the dream of my life to be permitted to see Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have that dream fulfilled today.” Four years after his tour, Adolf Hitler would order the city’s garrison commander, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy Paris, warning his subordinate that the city "must not fall into the enemy's hand except lying in complete debris." 
The French had not expected the Germans would be able to move armored units through the Ardennes Forests, a heavily wooded region spanning parts of Belgium, France and the Netherlands. To the Allies’ great surprise, the Germans had no trouble rolling across these lands in the span of weeks. And by invading France from the north, the Germans simply avoided the Maginot Line. The French surrendered in June 1940, and the British narrowly escaped disaster by transporting thousands of soldiers and equipment across the English Channel at Dunkirk. Thus, by the middle of 1940, the Axis powers and the Soviet Union had overrun nearly all of Western Europe. With France out of the war, and without active participation by the United States, Great Britain virtually stood alone. 
However, Operation Dynamo, as the British named the Dunkirk evacuation mission, bolstered British morale and defenses sufficiently to keep the “Sceptered Isle” in the war. This, in turn, led to the eventual entry of the United States, and helped doom Adolf Hitler's “Thousand-Year Reich” to a ruinous end in 1945.
Duration: about 4 hours (03:33:32)
Publishing date: 2023-04-24; Unabridged; Copyright Year: — Copyright Statment: —