An Economic and Social History of Europe from 1939 to the by Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

By Frank B. Tipton, Robert Aldrich

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As in the First World War, shipments across the Atlantic were threatened by the German submarine fleet. THE SECOND WORLD WAR 41 Hitler neglected U-boat construction until 1940, but then ordered increased numbers when Britain refused to yield. Between June 1940 and December 1941 Britain lost onethird of total tonnage, and was only able to replace some 30 per cent of the losses. The German invasion of Russia and the Japanese attack on the United States added new allies, but also imposed the necessity of supplying Russia via the very dangerous route to Murmansk and also required the United States to shift naval forces from the Atlantic to the Pacific .

British bombers could not survive German fighters' attacks or even hit their targets in daylight, and the British therefore shifted to night attacks, giving up all hope of hitting 'precision' targets of economic significance. The technique known previously as 'indiscriminate' bombing was rechristened 'area ' bombing and became the new orthodoxy. Lord Cherwell, Churchill's scientific advisor, estimated that a 'de-housing' campaign could destroy the homes of one- 44 AN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF EUROPE third of the German population in fifteen months and 'break the spirit of the people' .

Confronted by an event without precedent in human history, most Jews reacted with incomprehension, disbelief, denial and finally despair. They were isolated. They received no help in Germany or in the occupied countries of eastern Europe and very little in western Europe - though all but a few of Denmark's small Jewish community were spirited away to Sweden, and a few individual Swedish and other neutral diplomatic representatives did what they could. Early reports of the Holocaust from Polish sources were dismissed in Allied countries as propaganda.

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