25 Iconic Pictures Of The German Blitzkrieg 1940

In early spring 1940 Nazi Germany launched their offensives which, after a few months would lead to the capture of most of western Europe. Beginning with the invasion of Norway and Denmark on April 9th, followed up by the invasions of Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and France on May 10th.

Six weeks after that the German juggernaut had brought France to her knees and was poised to strike across the Channel and attempt to invade the United Kingdom.

With these 25 iconic pictures ,we look back at a time when Germany seemed able to dominate the world.


Waves of German paratroopers land on snow-covered rock ledges in the Norwegian port and city of Narvik, during the German invasion of the Scandinavian country

s_w04_00000001A group of German Gebirgsjägers (mountain troops) in action in Narvik, Norway, in 1940.

s_w05_00401025German soldiers move through a burning Norwegian village, in April 1940, during the German invasion.

s_w13_00409018A German soldier operates his antiaircraft gun at an unknown location, in support of the German troops as they march into Danish territory, on April 9, 1940.

s_w27_00420095German troops parade in Copenhagen, Denmark on April 20, 1940 to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

s_w14_05101136Reconnaissance squads head the German advance into Luxembourg, on May 10, 1940.

s_w15_05300100German parachute troops descending on Fort Eben Emael in Belgium, on May 10, 1940, part of a larger surprise attack.

s_w26_01210483English and French prisoners of war sit near railroad tracks somewhere in Belgium in 1940.

German soldiers with a 7.5cm le.IG 18 infantry gun, Maginot Line, France, May 1940German soldiers with a 7.5cm le.IG 18 infantry gun, Maginot Line, France, May 1940

Frankreich, Guderian, "Enigma"German General Heinz Guderian in a SdKfz. 251/3 halftrack vehicle, France, May 1940,

s_w33_00521039German troops walk down a deserted street in Luxembourg, on May 21, 1940, with rifles, pistols and grenades ready to protect themselves.

s_w36_5157006AGerman army motorcyclists pass through a destroyed town in France in 1940.

Westfeldzug, Rommel bei Besprechung mit OffizierenGerman Major General Rommel in a field in France, Jun 1940; note Panzer 38(t) tanks in the background

A formation of German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers are flying over an unknown location, in this May 29, 1940 photo.A formation of German Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers flying over an unknown location, in this May 29, 1940 photo.

Interior of a He 111 P bomber while in flight over France, mid-May 1940Interior of a He 111 P bomber while in flight over France, mid-May 1940

s_w17_41045604A formation of German Dornier Do 17Z light bombers, flying over France on June 21, 1940.

s_w18_00602013German parachute troops man a machine gun post in the Netherlands, on June 2, 1940 (editors note: date seems strange). This photo came from a camera found on German parachute troops who were taken prisoner.

Propk. Kp 612 Archiv-Nr. 30/910 Bildberichter: Bauer Text: Uetrecht Infanterie-zwischen Marsch und Ruhe So marschiert die Infanterie. Jeden Augenblick kampfbereit und auf überraschende Tieffliegerangriffe gefasstGerman troops marching in France, Jun 1940

s_w44_10111613Heavy mortars of Hitler’s Army are set in position under cliffs on the French side of the English Channel, at Fecamp, France, in 1940, as Germany occupied France and the low countries.

s_w45_07151147A German soldier stands in the tower of the cathedral, gazing down upon the captured French city of Strasbourg on July 15, 1940. Adolf Hitler visited the city in June of 1940, declaring plans for the Strasbourg Cathedral, stating that it should become a “national sanctuary of the German people.

s_w08_00701077German bombs miss their targets and explode in the sea during an air raid on Dover, England, in July 1940.

Compiegne, Verhandlungen WaffenstillstandAdolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, and others before the railroad car that hosted the French surrender, Compiègne, France, 22 Jun 1940

Waffenstillstand von Compiègne, BerichterstatterWilliam Shirer and another journalist reporting on the French surrender, Compiègne, France, 21-22 Jun 1940

ADN-ZB, II. Weltkrieg 1939-1945 Frankreich: Waffenstillstand mit Frankreich im Wald vom Compiégne am 22.6.1940. A. Hitler (2.v.r.) im Gespräch mit Generalen und anderen Führern des faschistischen deutschen Reiches. Links neben Hitler sein Stellvertreter R. Hess u. H. Göring, (links außen) J. v. Ribbentrop, Außenminister des faschistischen Staates, (rechts außen) Generaloberst W. v. Brauchitsch.L to R: Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Adolf Hitler, and Walther von Brauchitsch before the railroad car that hosted the French surrender, Compiègne, France, 22 Jun 1940

Paris, Besuch Gerd v. Rundstedt im LouvreCurator of the Louvre Fernand Merlin giving German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt a tour of the museum, Paris, France, Oct 1940; note Venus de Milo status in foreground

Image Credit: Bundesarchiv / Wikipedia

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint