Wehrmacht History 1935 to 1945


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1938 WWII Timeline

Day by day


Thor HSK 4 Auxiliary cruiser


Hermann Göring informed Adolf Hitler of the shady past of Werner von Blomberg's new wife 25 January 1938, Adolf Hitler dismissed Werner von Blomberg immediately but told him that he would call on him again if the country ever needed his service.

Adolf Hitler abolishes the War Ministry and creates the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (High Command of the Armed Forces) on 4 February 1938, giving him direct control of the Wehrmacht. In addition, Adolf Hitler sacks political and military leaders considered unsympathetic to his philosophy or policies. General Werner von Fritsch is forced to resign as Commander of Chief of the Wehrmacht following accusations of homosexuality, and replaced by General Walther von Brauchitsch. Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath is sacked and replaced by Joachim von Ribbentrop.

On 12 March 1938, Konstantin von Neurath informant M. Mastny officially in the name of the Reich Chancellor, that Germany had no hostile intentions towards Czechoslovakia. He alluded to the interest taken by Germany in the Sudeten Germans, but at the same time, expressed the hope that this domestic question of the Czechoslovakian state might be satisfactory settled.

Thor HSK 4 Auxiliary cruiser
Launched 16 March 1938

On 10 April 1938, At the Reichstag elections were held in Germany including recently annexed Austria on 10 April 1938. They were the final elections to the Reichstag during National Socialists rule and took the form of a single-question referendum asking whether voters approved of a single National Socialists Party list for the 813 member Reichstag as well as the recent annexation of Austria the Anschluss. Turnout in the election was officially 99.5% with 98.9% voting yes. In the case of Austria, Adolf Hitler's native soil, 99.71% of an electorate of 4,484,475 officially went to the ballots, with a positive tally of 99.73%.

Erich Förste
Takes command of the Battleship Gneisenau on 21 May 1938 to 25 November 1939

On 20 May 1938, The Wehrmacht General Staff updated the Case Green military scenario. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakian officials in Prague sent Germany a telegram demanding explanation on the arrival of Wehrmacht troops in Saxony near the border the information that the Czechoslovakians had regarding the Wehrmacht troop movement was either inaccurate, or the Czechoslovakians had intercepted German messages regarding Case Green and were testing the Germans to confirm their suspicions.

Gneisenau Battleship
Commissioned 21 May 1938

Ludwig Beck sent a message to Wehrmacht Army chief Walther von Brauchitsch on 3 June 1938, noting his concern that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would trigger military reaction by the allies, which would spell doom for Germany.

On 24 July 1938, Start of the Battle of the Ebro. Republican forces attempt to divert the Nationalists from attacking Valencia and to diminish the pressure on Catalonia. At first, the Republican troops, commanded by General Modesto, achieve considerable success, but were then limited by superior Nationalist air power. Heavy combat continued into November.

On 18 August 1938, Ewald von Kleist-Schmenzin arrives in London looking for British support for an anti-Nazi putsch, using the looming crisis over the Sudetenland as a pretext. His private mission is dismissed by Neville Chamberlain as unimportant Chamberlain refers to Ludwig von Kleist as a Jacobite, but he finds a sympathetic if powerless audience in Winston Churchill.

Coronel Auxiliary cruiser
later night fighter control ship Launched 13 August 1938

Prinz Eugen Heavy cruiser
Launched 22 August 1938

On 27 September 1938, In the early afternoon, Adolf Hitler moved several Wehrmacht divisions to the German-Czechoslovakian border. In the late afternoon, Adolf Hitler called for a military parade on the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin, Germany to rouse a patriotic sentiment; Berlin citizens responded coolly, however. In the United Kingdom, British military mobilised for war, school children were evacuated from London, while trenches were dug in the city's parks. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain recommended Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš to accept a partial military occupation of Sudetenland by the Germans. In the United States, President Franklin Roosevelt called for an international conference in an attempt to maintain peace. The King of Sweden also attempted to calm Adolf Hitler down, sending him a message advising him that Wehrmacht current strength was no match for the combined strength of the opposing allied powers. Even the chief of the Kriegsmarine Erich Raeder attempted to convince Adolf Hitler to not provoke war. Late in the day, Czechoslovakia finally received some foreign support when Yugoslavia and Romania declared that they would offer military assistance should Hungary use force against Czechoslovakia.

Kormoran HSK 8
Launched 15 September 1938

24 October 1938 At a friendly luncheon in Berchtesgaden, German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop tells Józef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Germany, that the Free City of Danzig must return to Germany, that the Germans must be given extraterritorial rights in the Polish Corridor, and that Poland must sign the Anti-Comintern Pact.

Hans-Heinrich Wurmbach
Takes command of the Pocket Battleship Admiral Scheer on 31 October 1938 to 31 October 1939

Hans Langsdorff
Takes command of the Pocket Battleship Admiral Graf Spee on 1 November 1938 to 17 December 1939

On 9 November 1938, In Germany, the night of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) begins as National Socialists activists and sympathisers loot and burn Jewish businesses the all night affair sees 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed, 267 synagogues burned, 91 Jews killed, and at least 25,000 Jewish men arrested.

Z23 Destroyer
Laid down 15 November 1938

Graf Zeppelin Aircraft Carrier
Launched 8 December 1938

On 23 December 1938, The battle for Barcelona begins. A six pronged Nationalist attack is launched, with separate columns from the Pyrenees to the Ebro. They take Borges Blanques, surround Tarragona and reach the outskirts of Barcelona. The Republican government retreats from Barcelona to Girona, although troops continue to maintain the defence of the city.



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