This week Nazi Mega Weapons looks at how Hitler turned the Channel Islands into one of the most fortified parts of Europe during World War II.
The Channel Islands are a British Crown dependencies lying between the southwest coast of the UK and the northwest coast of France.
Following the outbreak of the war, the British decided not to defend the islands as they judged them to be of no strategic value. Most of children on the islands were evacuated to England along with a significant portion of the adult population.
The islands were invaded in 30 June 1940 and not liberated until 9 May 1945, when they were freed without a shot being fired.
During the invasion the Germans did not realise the islands had been demilitarised and launched several bombing raids, which resulted in around 40 deaths.
Adolf Hitler became obsessed with the islands and as part of the Atlantic Wall defense plan he ordered Commander-in-Chief von Witzleben to turn the islands into an “impregnable fortress.” This was despite the commander advising against this, seeing them strategically unimportant.
Some of the islands ended up with far greater defences than many parts of the more strategically critical mainland France.
The occupation itself was fairly gentle compared with other parts of occupied Europe. Though by the end of the war everyone on the islands was facing severe food shortage.
Nazi Mega Weapons airs on Tuesdays at 8:00 PM on PBS.
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