EUROPE'S STRUGGLES MAY BE EASING
The war that broke out in Europe 50 years ago this week arose in large part from disputes that were unresolved or created by the 1914-1918 conflict. The Second World War, in turn, gave rise to the Cold War. Europe remains divided into armed camps, and many of the old territorial disputes, power rivalries and ethnic hostilities still smoulder. But the hopes of building a peaceful Europe are stronger now than at any time in the century. The major steps along the way:
AUGUST, 1914: The Great War erupts as a clash among rival alliances. After Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, Russia mobilized against the Austrian Empire and its ally, Germany. On Aug. 1, Germany declared war against Russia and, on Aug. 3, against Russia’s ally, France, attacking through Belgium on the same day. On Aug. 4, Britain, honoring a defence pact with Belgium, declared war on Germany. That brought Canada and other British Empire nations into the conflict, and
later Italy, Japan and the United States. NOV. 7, 1917: The Communist party under Vladimir Lenin seizes power in Russia. Germany imposes peace terms on March 3, 1918, forcing Soviet Russia to forfeit the Ukraine, Finland and its Baltic and Polish possessions under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The treaty was nullified by the general armistice.
NOV. 11, 1918: An armistice ending the
First World War is signed in a railway car at Compiègne, France. The fighting claimed more than 10 million lives, including 61,356 Canadians, at a time when Canada had a population of about eight million people. JUNE 28, 1919: The Versailles Treaty imposes arms limitations, industrial restrictions, reparation payments and territorial limits on Germany. SEPTEMBER, 1919: Adolf Hitler, an Austrian-born German army veteran, joins the small German Workers’ Party in Munich, becomes its leader the following year and later changes its name to the National Socialist (Nazi) German Workers’ Party. OCT. 31, 1922: Benito Mussolini, a Milan newspaper editor who founded the Fascist party in 1919, is named prime minister of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel rn during widespread civil unrest. T A T `~I~ I ) A J1t TTi~
° JAN. 30, 1933: Adolf Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany (prime minister), the fourth in three years, by Paul von Hindenburg, the 85-year-old war hero who served as Germany’s president between 1925 and 1934. Hitler later outlawed opposition parties and seized dictatorial powers. MARCH9,1933: Nazi SS police open Dachau concentration camp, near Munich, interning several thousand critics of the government, including Jews.
OCT. 3, 1935: Italy invades Ethiopia (Abyssinia) with planes, tanks and gas, while the League of Nations considers a border dispute with Italian Somaliland and Eritrea. The league votes to impose economic sanctions against Italy, which leaves that organization and occupies Ethiopia until driven out by Allied forces in 1941.
MARCH, 1936: Germany occupies the Rhineland bordering France, Luxembourg and Belgium—territory that was supposed to have been partly demilitarized under the Versailles Treaty and later agreements.
APRIL 27, 1937: The first major aerial bombing of a civilian population takes place when German warplanes, supporting Gen. Francisco Franco’s Fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War, attack the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain, killing as many as 1,000 of its 7,000 people. MARCH 12 TO 13, 1938: Austria becomes a province of Germany in the Anschluss (reunification), an unopposed, Nazi-enforced occupation. SEPT. 30, 1938: The Munich Agreement among Hitler, Mussolini and prime ministers Neville Chamberlain of Britain and Edouard Daladier of France authorizes Germany to occupy the Sudetenland, a border region of Czechoslovakia containing three million ethnic Germans. Nazi forces occupy Prague and most of the rest of Czechoslovakia the following March. MARCH 31,1939: All fighting ceases in the three-year Spanish Civil War, completing a victory by Fascist forces, who were assisted by German pilots, more than 50,000 Italian troops and other pro-Fascist volunteers against Spanish Republicans supported by the International Brigade of volunteers. MAY 22, 1939: Germany and Italy sign the Pact of Steel, a military treaty strengthening a 1936 Rome-Berlin Axis agreement.
EUROPE’S SHIFTING BORDERS
AUG. 23, 1939: Foreign ministers Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop sign the Soviet-German nonaggression pact in Moscow. A secret protocol between the two powers calls for the partition of Poland and the Baltic states in the event of war.
AUG. 25,1939: Britain signs a mutual assistance treaty with Poland.
SEPT. 1, 1939: German air, land and sea forces, including 52 army divisions, attack Poland at 4:45 a.m. local time.
SEPT. 3, 1939: Britain and France, India, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany. Canada declares war on Sept. 10. SEPT. 17, 1939: Soviet forces invade Poland. The Polish government and military command flees into exile via Romania.
DEC. 23, 1939: The first Canadian soldiers arrive in Britain.
APRIL 9,1940: German forces invade Denmark and Norway by land, sea and air.
MAY 10, 1940: Germany invades Belgium and the Netherlands. Neville Chamberlain resigns as British prime minister, and Winston Churchill, then first lord of the admiralty, forms a coalition government with Conservative, Liberal and Labour representatives. MAY 13, 1940: German paratroopers land in northeast France and capture Liège. In the British House of Commons, Churchill calls for allout prosecution of the war, saying “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” MAY 26 TO JUNE 4,1940: A British flotilla of more than 850 ships and small craft evacuates more than 200,000 troops of a British Expeditionary Force and 100,000 French and Belgian troops from the channel port of Dunkirk in northern France. A German pincer movement had trapped the Allied troops, forcing them to abandon tens of thousands of guns and vehicles.
JUNE 22, 1940: Eight days after German troops enter Paris, France signs an armistice in the same railway coach in Compiègne where Germany surrendered on Nov. 11, 1918. JULY 10 TO OCT. 31,1940: The Royal Air Force, including Canadian and other Commonwealth, Polish and other European fighter pilots, defeats the numerically superior German air force in the Battle of Britain, turning back an attempt to weaken Britain for an invasion. APRIL 23, 1941: Greece formally surrenders to Germany and Italy. JUNE 22, 1941: Twenty-two months after EACH PEACE SETTLEMENT GENERATED NEW DISPUTES AND GRIEVANCES
signing a nonaggression treaty, Germany invades the Soviet Union in the biggest military attack in history—an assault by more than three million troops on a 3,200-km front stretching from Finland to the Black Sea. DEC. 6,1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt approves funds for an atomic bomb. DEC. 7, 1941: Japanese carrier-based warplanes attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in a surprise
bombing and torpedo assault, destroying four battleships and 188 planes, and killing 2,334 American servicemen. The United States, Britain, Canada and other allied nations declare war on Japan on Dec. 8. JAN. 20, 1942: Nazi officials, at a meeting in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, launch a co-ordinated program of genocide against European Jews. AUG. 19, 1942: Testing German coastal defences, 907 of 4,963 Canadian servicemen are killed and 1,874 captured in a raid on the French port of Dieppe. OCT. 23,1942: British and Commonwealth forces of the Eighth Army under Gen. Bernard (Monty) Montgomery open a counteroffensive at El Alamein. The armored attack pushes Axis forces under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel into Tunisia three months later. DEC. 2, 1942: In Chicago, scientists develop nuclear fission, the basis of the atomic bomb.
JAN. 31, 1943: German Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus surrenders at Stalingrad after a fivemonth battle. MAY, 1943: Allied navies turn the tide against German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic in what the German navy termed “Black May,” when 41 submarines—about one-third of those in action—fail to return to base. JULY 10, 1943: Allied forces, including Canadians, invade Sicily, ending the campaign with the capture of Messina on Aug. 17. SEPT. 3, 1943: Italy surrenders to invading Allied forces in a secret armistice, but German forces continue fighting in Italy. Allied forces enter Rome on June 4, 1944, after German forces withdraw. JUNE 6, 1944: Allied forces land in Normandy under U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. On D-Day, the first day of the greatest
amphibious operation in history, 176,000 troops land in France during the first 24 hours. JUNE 13,1944: Germany launches a series of aerial attacks on Britain by jet-powered V-l bombs, nicknamed buzz bombs by Britons, that are to kill 5,479 and injure almost 16,000 people. JULY 17,1944: Soviet troops enter Poland.
AUG. 25, 1944: The Allies liberate Paris from German occupation. SEPT. 8, 1944: The first of a series of German V-2 rockets hits west London. SEPT. 11, 1944: Advance units of U.S. forces cross the German frontier. FEB. 4 TO 11, 1945: Josef Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet at the Soviet Black Sea resort of Yalta. They agree to demand Germany’s unconditional surrender, to try its leaders as war criminals and to share the occupation of Germany with France. APRIL 12, 1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies of a brain hemorrhage. VicePresident Harry S. Truman replaces him. APRIL 28, 1945: Italian partisans capture overthrown Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as he attempts to flee to Switzerland, shoot him and his mistress, Clara Petacci, and the next
day hang their corpses publicly in Milan. In central Germany, advancing Soviet and U.S. forces meet at the Elbe river. APRIL 30, 1945: One day after he marries his mistress, Eva Braun, Hitler commits suicide with her in a Berlin command bunker. Soviet troops enter Berlin on May 1. MAY 7,1945: The war in Europe ends after Col.-Gen. Alfred Jodi, the German commanderin-chief, signs the terms of unconditional surrender at 2:41 a.m. in a red-brick schoolhouse in Rheims, France. JULY 16,1945: The United States tests the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, N.M. JULY 17 TO AUG. 2, 1945: U.S., Soviet and British leaders meet in Potsdam, Germany,
and redraw Central Europe’s boundaries. Eastern Poland becomes part of the Soviet Union, and the Polish border shifts westward into German territory to the Oder and Neisse rivers. AUG. 6 TO AUG 14, 1945: A U.S. atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, Japan, kills an estimated 130,000 people. Three days later, a second atomic bomb kills almost 74,000 people in Nagasaki, Japan. On Aug. 14, Japan surrenders. The war cost the lives of almost 15 million combatants and more than 38 million civilians. In addition, an estimated 35 million people suffered wounds and crippling injuries. Canada, with a population of 11.5 million, had more than one million men and women in uniform. More than 42,000 died in service. SEPT. 5, 1945: Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk in the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, defects with documents that reveal an active Soviet espionage system in the West. OCT. 24, 1945: The United Nations organization re-
places the League of Nations. MARCH 5, 1946: Winston Churchill, in a speech at Fulton, Mo., warns of the Soviet danger in Europe: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended upon the Continent.” MARCH 12, 1947: Truman pledges U.S. support to nations threatened with “subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressure.” Invoking his newly formulated doctrine, the president announces aid to Greece, tom by civil war, and Turkey. JUNE 5,1947: U.S. Secretary of State Gen. George Marshall proposes a European Recovery Program, which the Soviets and East European nations later reject. Sixteen West European nations accept what becomes known as the Marshall Plan. JUNE 25, 1948 TO SEPT. 30, 1949: After Soviets in East Germany bar overland access to West Berlin, U.S. and British planes airlift supplies until the Soviets end their blockade of the Western-occupied enclave. APRIL 4, 1949: Twelve nations—the United States, Canada, Britain,
France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Portugal—found the North Atlantic Treaty Organization defence pact. West Germany, Greece, Turkey and Spain join later. SEPT. 23, 1949: The United States says that it has evidence that the Soviet Union has tested an atomic bomb. NOV. 6, 1952: The United States tests a hydrogen bomb. AUG. 29,1953: The Soviet Union explodes a hydrogen bomb. MAY 5, 1955: The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) attains full sovereignty. MAY 14, 1955: The Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania sign the Eastern European Mutual Assistance Treaty (Warsaw Pact). Albania ceases to participate in 1961.
OCT. 6,1955: The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) becomes officially sovereign by agreement with the Soviet Union. NOV. 4,1956: Soviet tanks occupy Budapest and crush a Hungarian uprising. JAN. 1, 1958: The 1957 Treaty of Rome takes effect, establishing a six-nation European Economic Community (common market) among West Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands,
Belgium and Luxembourg, which was later joined by Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Greece. AUG. 13, 1961: East Germany begins the hasty erection of the Berlin Wall after a postwar exodus to the West of more than three million of its citizens. AUG. 21, 1968: Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, crushing leader Alexander Dubcek’s efforts to liberalize communism. MAY 26, 1972: The first Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union imposes limits on the numbers of nuclear ballistic missile systems deployed by each side, but leaves both with huge, long-range arsenals. JUNE 18, 1979: The SALT II treaty
provides for further U.S. and Soviet constraints on the deployment of nuclear missile launchers and bombs. DEC. 27, 1979: Soviet forces invade Afghanistan to support a pro-Moscow govern-
ment against insurgents—remaining there until Feb. 15, 1989—and the United States withholds ratification of SALT II and proceeds with plans to deploy new intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe. AUG. 31, 1980: The Polish government
allows workers to form independent unions. One month later, Solidarity, a nationwide movement, emerges under the leadership of Lech Walesa. DEC. 13, 1981: Martial law is imposed in Poland, effectively crushing Solidarity.
MARCH 11,1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Communist party. Within three years, he launches reforms to bring more freedom and flexibility to his country’s system of government, encourages reform in Warsaw Pact nations and promotes peaceful relations with the West. DEC. 8, 1987: The Soviet Union and the United States agree to eliminate intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe, the first effort to reduce rather than merely limit nuclear arsenals in Europe. MAY 25, 1989: A new, competitively elected Soviet Congress of People’s Deputies opens a session in Moscow that features unprecedented debate, including criticism of the leadership, elects Mikhail Gorbachev to a five-year term as president and chooses a Supreme Soviet (parliament) by secret ballot. JUNE 4 TO 18, 1989: In
two-stage, contested Polish elections, Solidarity candidates win a majority in the upper house of parliament and the maximum allowed in the lower house under a new constitution. By the end of August, Solidarity is preparing to lead a new coalition government.
AUG. 22, 1989: West Germany announces the closure of its embassy in Czechoslovakia, after earlier closing its mission in East Germany and its embassy in Hungary, in an effort to stem a westward flow of East German refugee applicants—mainly by way of Hungary and Austria—after Hungary began dismantling its fortified border with Austria in May. AUG. 23, 1989: Nationalists in the Soviet Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stage mass demonstrations for autonomy on the 50th anniversary of the secret Soviet-German agreement—its existence officially acknowledged in Moscow for the first time only five days earlier— which led to their wartime absorption by the Soviet Union. SEPT. 7, 1989: The scheduled resumption of disarmament talks in Vienna that are designed to reduce the strength of armed forces in Europe.