May 2, 2018




Third Silesian Uprising broke out on this day in 1921. It was the last, largest and longest of the three uprisings.(Note:  After the end of WWI, The Treaty of Versailles(1919) had ordered a plebiscite to be held within two years in Upper Silesia to determine whether the territory should be a part of Germany or Poland. Though the Polish government had requested it to be held only in the areas east of the Oder river, which had a significant number of Polish speakers, the plebiscite took place in all of Upper Silesia, including the predominantly Polish-speaking areas in the east and the predominantly German-speaking areas west of the river. The Upper Silesian plebiscite was conducted on March 20, 1921. In the meantime, the German administration and police remained in place, while propaganda and strong arm tactics by both sides escalated to violence and rioting.


The Polish submarine ORP Jastrząb, was a former S-class submarine, originally of the United States Navy, in Polish service between 1941 and 1942, when she was lost to friendly fire. Jastrząb has a place in the history of the Polish Navy as it was the only submarine ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the West to the East, as she came from the US to Europe. Unfortunately, during the trans-atlantic passage of convoy PQ-15 to Murmansk, Jastrząb was mistakenly targeted by the destroyer HMS St. Albans and the minesweeper HMS Seagull. Jastrząb was attacked with depth charges and forced to surface, when she was strafed with the loss of five crew (including British liaison officer) and six injured, including the commander. The ship was badly damaged and had to be scuttled, near 71°30′N 12°32′E


The Allied Spring Offensive in Italy ended with the official surrender of German forces in Italy. It was the final Allied attack during the Italian Campaign into the Lombardy Plain by the 15th Allied Army Group (which began on April 6, 1945)  During the first week of April, the Allies launched diversionary attacks to draw the German reserves away from the main assaults to come, which was followed by heavy artillery bombardment of the Senio defenses and heavy fragmentation bombs, followed by medium and fighter bombers. On April 9, for almost four hours, the Allied forces fired heavy artillery barrages, each lasting 30 minutes, and interspersed with fighter bomber attacks.  In the ensuing weeks, the assaults were supported by the New Zealand operations, consisting of 28 Churchill Crocodiles and 127 Wasp flamethrower vehicles deployed along the front;  the 8th Indian Division, 2nd New Zealand Division and 3rd Carpathian Division (on the Polish Corps front at Route 9);  On April 14, the U.S.5th Army continued its bombardment but now with 2,000 heavy bombers and 2,000 artillery pieces, assisted by  troops of  U.S. IV Corps (1st Brazilian, 10th Mountain, and 1st Armored Divisions). Despite tough German defenses, U.S. IV Corps continued to advance northward and reached the river Po on April 22.  Five days later, the 1st Armored Division liberated Milan, and IV Corps commander Crittenberger entered the city April 30. The Brazilian division was positioned at the south of Milan, trapping the remaining German divisions, and took 13,500 prisoners.

GERMAN SURRENDER ON MAY 2, 1945 4:00 PM.  General Kesselring approved the surrender. At 2:00 pm Wehrmacht troops in Italy and western Austria laid down their arms. The surrender was the result of the success of Operation Sunrise, a series of secret negotiations conducted in March 1945 between representatives of Nazi Germany and the Western Allies for the surrender of German forces in northern Italy.  On March 12, the U.S. ambassador in the USSR, W. Averell Harriman, notified Soviet Minister Vyacheslav Molotov of the possibility of General Wolff's arrival in Lugano to conduct negotiations on the German Forces surrender in Italy. Molotov immediately replied that the Soviet government would not object to the negotiations provided that Soviet Military Command could participate. However, days later the Allies informed the Soviets that their representatives would not be invited to take part in negotiations.  On March 22,  in a letter to the American ambassador, Molotov wrote that "for two weeks, in Bern, behind the back of the Soviet Union, negotiations between representatives of the German Military Command on one side and representatives of American and British Command on the other side are conducted. The Soviet government considers this absolutely inadmissible."  (This led to subsequent exchange of letters between Stalin and Roosevelt.) The official German surrender in Italy was signed on 29 April  29, 1945 agreeing to a cessation of hostilities on May 2.)

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