A timeline on gold reserves, and Russia, and WW2

One of the main issues in the Second World War, that doesn't seem to get a lot of attention, was the background to how everyone was paying for everything.

Just been reading more also of the background in Russia at the time, so thought I'd pop this page together.

https://www.swcs.com.au /goldreserves.htm

Stalin (1878-1953), at the start of World War 2 had just completed the Great Purge, as it was called.

When capital punishment was abolished in Russia in February 1917, Russian troops formed "soldier committees" and everywhere men were refusing to obey their officers.

Lenin (1870-1924) sued for peace in December 1917 as German troops rapidly advanced.

However, the ongoing civil war, particularly down in the Ukraine, only really stopped when Stalin reinstated the death penalty and started executing "traitors and terrorists", increasing it to the rate of 1,000 per day in 1937. Probably one million and more were executed as a result. It mostly ended in the middle of 1938.

Stalin's Pact with Adolf Hitler

With so much civil war instability solved, Stalin formed a treaty with Hitler in 1939.

Russia would reign east of Poland and supply Germany with all necessary war materials as Hitler conquered the West.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) despised Russia, ruled by the same "Jewish financiers" that he saw in the US and London, but he needed its help. Stalin bent over backwards, in some ways, to supply Hitler, doubtless he remembered what had happened in 1917.

There were some problems regarding payment though, and non-delivery in mid-1940.

When Hitler formed the treaty with Japan at the end of 1940, Stalin said he wanted in.

Germany then sent its terms for what Russia would be expected to do, Russia replied with adjusted terms, and Germany then never replied back.

Interestingly, German leaders were in discussions with Finland, a small country in population, but who shared a 1300 km border and disputed territory alongside Russia. Stalin had invaded Finland on 30 Nov 1939 in the "Winter War", resulting in Finland having to cede border areas to Russia on 12 Mar 1940. Finland was now ready to take back that land with the assistance of Germany, in the Continuation War, that lasted 25 June 1941 until an armistice with Moscow (and the UK) was signed on 19 September 1944.

On 22nd June 1941, Hitler invaded, declaring that Russia would collapse like a "house of cards" just like it did in 1917, and indeed, caught quite unprepared, by September the Russians had retreated right up to Moscow, yes, where apparently all the gold was.

While announcing to the world that Moscow was now his, Hitler failed to take it during the Battle for Moscow (Oct-Dec 1941). He was running short of oil supplies, and he turned south to the Ukraine to consolidate his considerable victories into southern Russia. Yes, in all the confusion, he was far too overextended, and by now there were huge numbers of Russians ready and willing to die for their homeland. The German war machine was heaps more efficient when it came to war, but Hitler's pride, his arrogance, was doubtless his undoing.

Other WW2 Fields of Operation

Click here to go to the Battle of France and Battle of Britain in May-September 1940 and Winston Churchill's speeches.

Click here for Franklin Roosevelt's Fireside Chat on May 27 1941 calling on the US, in fact all of North and South America, to stand with Britain against the Nazis, to defend the "Freedom of the Seas", and that the only thing to fear was "fear itself". He famously contrasted this "Second World War" (no longer just a "European War") with the "First World War" (previously referred to generally as the "Great War").

Click here to go to the Battle in the Pacific with Japan, their attack on Hawaii in December 1941.

Click here to go to the 1942 North Africa campaign against Italy, and the fall of Mussolini.

Fall of Adolf Hitler 1942-1945

The following comes mainly from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In 1942, as far as mainland Europe was concerned, the German army had been victorious in an almost unbroken chain of battlefield successes. Europe lay under German domination.

After a successful German advance into southern Russia in the summer of 1942, the battle for the city of Stalingrad proved a turning point. Soviet forces launched a counteroffensive against the Germans arrayed at Stalingrad in mid-November 1942. They quickly encircled an entire German army, more than 220,000 soldiers. In February 1943, after months of fierce fighting and heavy casualties, the surviving German forces — only about 91,000 soldiers — surrendered.

After Stalingrad, Soviet forces remained on the offensive for the remainder of the war, despite some temporary setbacks. A last German offensive at Kursk, 450 kms south-west of Moscow, failed in the summer of 1943. The Soviets pushed the Germans back to the banks of the Dnieper River in 1943 and then, by the summer of 1944, to the borders of East Prussia a country at that time on the north east of Poland. In January 1945, a new offensive brought Soviet forces to the banks of the Oder, in eastern Germany.

On 27th January the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, 50kms south-west of Kraków in southern Poland, was liberated by the Russian Army.

From their bridgehead across the Oder River, Soviet forces launched a massive final offensive toward Berlin in mid-April 1945. The German capital was encircled on April 25. That same day, Soviet forces linked up with their American counterparts attacking from the west at Torgau, on the Elbe River in central Germany. In Berlin itself, heavy fighting took place in the northern and southern suburbs of the city.

As Soviet forces neared his command bunker in central Berlin on April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. Within days, Berlin fell to the Soviets. The German armed forces surrendered unconditionally in the west on May 7 and in the east on May 9, 1945. May 8, 1945, was proclaimed Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day).

Mussolini and the West

Battle in the Pacific, the Western Allies vs Japan

Over in the east Japan invaded French Indochina (Vietnam) in September 1940.

Following a period of preparation, Japan attacked Hawaii on 7 December 1941 destroying many US planes, ships, then on the 8th simultaneously invaded Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand.

Rabaul (on New Britain island in New Guinea) fell in January 1942, Singapore was bombed and surrendered 15 February, followed by Rangoon (Yangon) capital city of Burma (Myanmar) 7 March, then Jakarta in Indonesia on 9 March. On 17 March, US General Douglas Macarthur who had been stationed in the Philippines as a military advisor since 1935, was flown from Mindanao (in the south) to Darwin with the famous words "I will return". Manila (its capital) surrendered on 6 May 1942.

However Japan's plans to take Port Moresby by sea were thwarted at the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May.
Also its plans were thwarted on 4 June to establish a base on the island of Midway (with a view to later taking Hawaii).
But on 21 July Japan established beachheads at Buna and Gona villages on the north side of Papua, preparing to take Port Moresby over the mountain range via the Kokoda Trail. Defended, with difficulty, by Australian troops.

Note, Australia's base of operations during the Pacific War was initially in Melbourne after February 1942, shifting to Brisbane on 21 July, lasting three years. US Commander in Chief was the aforementioned Douglas Macarthur, with his headquarters based in the AMP building in Queen Street, later renamed Macarthur Chambers in his honour.

Japanese Defeats

Lastly a Postscript on Battle of Britain in 1940 from Wikipedia
plus some of Winston Churchill's speeches.

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