Detailed Information

World War 2: The Early Years - 1939-1940

From 1933 to 1939, the peace of Europe was threatened by the increasingly aggressive foreign policy of Nazi Germany. In Asia, war had already started with the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. On September 1st 1939, the threatened war began with the brutal invasion of Poland. Within weeks, Poland was defeated. It faced a brutal occupation under the forces of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Britain and France realised that they would only prevent Hitler’s domination of Europe by war. 

This course will examine the first phase of the war up to the end of 1940. This was when Nazi Germany was triumphant. A series of brilliant military campaigns allowed Hitler to extend his direct control over Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway. The fall of France in June 1940 marked the highpoint of German success during this period. The establishment of a compliant Vichy France ensured Nazi domination of Western Europe. The totalitarian grip on Europe was extended by the Soviet invasion of Finland and the Baltic States. Mussolini took the opportunity to enter the war in the expectation of adding to the territories under his control. Britain, led by Churchill, decided to resist Hitler but had to survive the Battle of Britain and endure the Blitz. It did so with the support of its Dominions. 

This course will cover the main developments during this period. A range of primary and secondary sources will be consulted to give participants a comprehensive analysis of this period. 


Dates Schedule Time Venue/Location Fee €
21 Apr 2022 to 09 Jun 2022 Sessions: 8
Duration: 8 Thursdays
Time: 09.30-11.30
Dates: Apr 21, 28, May 05, 11, 18, 25, Jun 01, 09
09.30 Online


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Apr 21, 28, May 05, 11, 18, 25, Jun 01, 09

8 Thursdays

Michael Doran