Blitzkrieg in the West
April-June 1940

German troops at the Arc of Triumph

Only one of our survivors lived in Western Europe. Jeannine Burk was born in Brussels, Belgium, on September 15, 1939.

After the brief campaign in Poland, Hitler wanted to attack the countries of Western Europe immediately but was forced to wait until the spring of 1940. The German armies attacked Norway and Denmark in April and swept across the Low Countries and northern France in May and June. The Blitzkrieg was devastating and the British and French armies were routed. One country after another capitulated. The vindictive German fuehrer compelled the French delegation to sign the surrender documents at Compiegne, a town north of Paris where the Germans themselves had surrendered to the Allies in November 1918. German troops marched passed the Arc of Triumph in Paris, as their grandfathers had done in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War. Hitler’s popularity was at its peak, and he now turned his attention to the Soviet Union.

The Times-Picayune provided detailed coverage of the German assault on Western Europe. For more Times-Picayune articles on the Blitzkrieg in the West, click on the Chronology of Destruction.