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        #192: German Forces Defeated in Russia and Britain

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-22-2013

        German soldiers in Stalingrad, September 1942
        German soldiers in Stalingrad, September 1942

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

        (MUSIC)

        In December nineteen forty-one, the United States was at war.

        It declared war against Japan after Japanese planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A few days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States.

        President Franklin Roosevelt quickly decided that America could not fight major campaigns in the Pacific and in Europe at the same time. He and his advisers decided to fight first against the Germans and Italians. Then, when victory in Europe seemed sure, the United States could turn to fight the Japanese in Asia.

        This left the Japanese free to extend their power throughout Asia and the western Pacific. Soon after the attack at Hawaii, Japanese forces invaded Hong Kong, Malaya and the Philippines. American forces in the Philippines suffered heavy losses. And Manila fell to Japanese troops. In February nineteen forty-two, Japan's forces won a great victory against the British in Singapore.

        Japanese forces marched into Burma. They attacked Ceylon -- now Sri Lanka -- and captured the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. The Japanese military forces seemed too strong to stop.

        President Roosevelt sent some forces to the Pacific. And he began to rebuild the American naval forces destroyed at Pearl Harbor. But he sent most of America's military strength to Europe. The United States rushed troops and war equipment to help Britain survive against Adolf Hitler's Germany.

        American military leaders wanted to fight Germany quickly by launching an attack across the English Channel. But British Prime Minister Winston Churchill opposed this.

        He and others feared such an invasion might fail. So, British and American forces attacked Italian and German occupation troops in North Africa. They defeated them, and then crossed the Mediterranean Sea to attack enemy forces in Sicily. Within weeks, they pushed the Germans out of Sicily to the Italian mainland. The Allied invasion of Italy followed.

        Hitler could not strengthen his forces in North Africa and Italy, because Germany also was fighting hard in the Soviet Union.

        Hitler's decision early in the war to attack the Soviet Union was a serious mistake. It divided his men and materials. His plan was to defeat Soviet forces quickly with one strong attack. But he failed. And his failure cost him valuable troops and supplies that might have helped him win the battles for North Africa and Italy.

        (MUSIC)

        Germany's attack on the Soviet Union began with great success.

        In the middle of nineteen forty-one, a German force of more than three million men invaded the Soviet Union. It captured the Ukraine, took control of Kiev, and marched deep into Russia.

        The situation changed the following year. Soviet forces under Marshal Georgy Zhukov won a fierce battle for the city of Stalingrad -- now Volgograd. A great many German soldiers died from cold and hunger during the bitter winter months that followed.

        Captured German soldiers making their way in the cold through the ruins of Stalingrad
        Captured German soldiers making their way in the cold through the ruins of Stalingrad

        (MUSIC)

        Zhukov's forces attacked the German troops and pushed back the invaders. Other Soviet troops forced the Germans away from the city of Leningrad -- now St. Petersburg.

        By the middle of nineteen forty-four, German forces throughout the Soviet Union were retreating. And Soviet forces were preparing to push them over the border and invade Germany themselves. The fighting came at a terrible cost. Huge numbers of soldiers and civilians were killed.

        (MUSIC)

        The fighting in World War Two was not limited to land. Battles were also being fought on the sea. The main goal of the German navy during the war was to prevent the United States from sending ships to Britain with war materials, food and troops. At first, the Germans were very successful. There was hunger in Britain in nineteen forty-one because so few ships could cross the North Atlantic with food.

        (MUSIC)

        German submarines were the greatest danger to ships crossing the Atlantic. These U-boats, as the Germans called them, could hide below the surface and attack without warning.

        The threat from German submarines did not ease until new technology was developed in nineteen forty-three. Allied scientists improved sonar and radar systems that helped find submarines on the surface and underwater. More of the enemy submarines were found and destroyed. The Allies slowly gained control of the Atlantic.

        (MUSIC)

        Allied and German warships fought a number of traditional naval battles. But airplanes came to play an increasingly important part in the fighting at sea. British ships, with the help of planes launched from an aircraft carrier, destroyed a powerful German battleship, the Bismarck on May 27, 1941.

        (MUSIC)

        The most famous air battle of the war in Europe took place during the summer and autumn of the previous year. It was known as the Battle of Britain. It got its name from a speech to Parliament by Prime Minister Churchill following the evacuation of British and French forces from Dunkirk.

        BBC: "This is the BBC Home Service. Here is the news. In the House of Commons this afternoon, the prime minister, Mr. Churchill, said: 'What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin.'"

        STEVE EMBER: It was the most extensive aerial bombing yet in the war.? It was also the first battle to be fought entirely in the air.

        (SOUND)

        German Stuka dive-bombers attacked shipping centers, areas of political importance, airfields, and airplane factories.

        Two American pilots prepare to fly a British Spitfire
        Two American pilots prepare to fly a British Spitfire

        Luftwaffe pilots in their Messerschmidts battled the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the Royal Air Force. While the flying skills of the German and British pilots were well matched, it was ultimately the greater maneuverability of the British Spitfire that won the long months of battle over the English Channel.

        (MUSIC)

        The British victory in the air helped prevent "Operation Sea Lion," a planned German invasion of Britain.

        In May of nineteen forty-two, Britain's Royal Air Force carried out an attack on Germany with one thousand bombers. It was just the first of many bombing runs over Germany and German-occupied areas by the air forces of Britain and the United States.

        The planes bombed German military and industrial centers. They also bombed civilian targets in an effort to demonstrate to the German people the price of Germany's aggression. The German cities of Cologne, Dresden and Hamburg suffered widespread destruction. The Allied bombing attacks continued until the war's end in nineteen forty-five.

        Hitler's victories in the early months of the war had struck fear in the hearts of people throughout the world.

        Hitler and his Axis allies had won battle after battle. They had captured most of western Europe, except for Britain, and invaded the Soviet Union. They had seized North Africa. And their submarines controlled the Atlantic.

        A German submarine in June 1943
        A German submarine in June 1943

        Germany continued to seem strong during the first months after the United States entered the war in Europe. But the situation began to change. German strength and control were greatest in November of nineteen forty-two. After then, the mighty German military machine began to slow down.

        Germany and its Axis partner Italy suffered serious losses in the first six months of nineteen forty-three.

        German losses were extremely heavy in the Soviet Union. One hundred sixty thousand German troops died at Stalingrad, and more than one hundred ten thousand surrendered.

        American and British forces captured two hundred fifty thousand German and Italian troops in North Africa. Many more thousands were killed or captured in Sicily and the Italian mainland. German submarines were being destroyed in the North Atlantic, allowing more Allied troops and supplies to reach Britain.

        By the end of nineteen forty-three, Hitler and his armies no longer seemed so strong. But German forces continued to occupy France, Belgium and much of the rest of western Europe. Now, the time had come for the Allies to invade German-held Europe from Britain.

        Allied forces planned the greatest military invasion in history to break the German control of Europe and win the war.

        US GENERAL DWIGHT EISENHOWER: "People of Western Europe: A landing was made this morning on the coast of France by troops of the Allied Expeditionary Force. This landing is part of a concerted United Nations plan for the liberation of Europe. Although the initial assault may not have been made in your own country, the hour of your liberation is approaching."

        (MUSIC)

        STEVE EMBER: That invasion -- the famous D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy -- will be our story next week.

        Our program was written by David Jarmul. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This was program #192. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

        1941年12月,美國加入了第二次世界大戰。美國是在日本空襲夏威夷珍珠港的美國海軍基地后對日宣戰的。幾天后,德國和意大利對美國宣戰。富蘭克林.羅斯??偨y很快作出決策,美國不能同時在太平洋戰場和歐洲戰場展開大規模的戰役。他和顧問們決定,首先對付德國和意大利,在歐洲戰場取得明顯勝利時,再對付亞洲戰場上的日本。

        日本因此得以喘息,繼續在亞洲和西太平洋上擴張勢力。偷襲夏威夷后,日軍又侵入香港、馬尼拉和菲律賓。駐菲律賓的美軍死傷慘重,馬尼拉也在日軍鐵蹄下淪陷。1942年2月,日軍在新加坡同英軍作戰,并取得重大勝利。

        隨后日軍進入緬甸,向錫蘭--即今天的斯里蘭卡發起進攻,并占領了孟加拉灣的安達曼島。日軍似乎所向披靡。羅斯??偨y向太平洋戰場派遣了部分軍隊,并開始重建在珍珠港受到重創的美國海軍。但是,他將大部分美軍力量放在了歐洲。美軍部隊和物資趕赴歐洲,幫助英國抵抗希特勒指揮的德軍。

        美軍將領想通過英吉利海峽進攻德國,希望速戰速決,打敗德國,但英國首相丘吉爾反對這樣做,他和其他一些人擔心這樣做可能會失敗。所以,英軍和美軍向在北非的德國和意大利軍隊發動進攻,并取得了勝利。隨后,英美聯軍通過地中海,向意大利西西里島上的敵軍發動進攻。

        幾個星期之后,英美聯軍將德國軍隊從西西里島趕回了意大利本土。聯軍隨后攻入意大利。希特勒不能加強在北非和意大利的軍力,因為德國當時正在與蘇聯進行艱苦作戰。希特勒在二戰初期作出的進攻蘇聯的決定是一個嚴重的錯誤,因為這樣一來,德軍的人員和物資就被分散了。

        希特勒原想通過一次大規模進攻迅速拿下蘇聯,但是,他失敗了,而這一失敗,使他損失了本可以在北非和意大利戰役中取得勝利的寶貴的軍力和物資。

        德國對蘇聯的進攻起初曾取得巨大成功。1941年中期,三百多萬德軍進攻蘇聯,占領了烏克蘭,控制了基輔,并向蘇聯腹地深入。然而,第二年形勢發生了變化。蘇聯軍隊在朱可夫元帥的領導下,在斯大林格勒(也就是現在的伏爾加格勒)進行了艱苦的抵抗,并取得勝利。在此后的幾個寒冷的冬月里,大量德國士兵被餓死或凍死。

        朱可夫將軍率領軍隊發動進攻擊退了德軍,蘇聯的其它軍隊則打退了德軍對列寧格勒(也就是現在的圣彼得堡)的進攻。到1944年年中,蘇聯境內的德軍已經開始全線撤退。而蘇軍則準備將他們趕出蘇聯,然后反過來攻入德國。蘇德戰爭十分慘烈,大量的士兵和平民在戰爭中喪生。

        第二次世界大戰并不局限于陸地,在海洋上同樣戰斗激烈。德國海軍在二戰期間的主要目標是要阻止美國向英國運送戰爭物資、食品和援軍。起初,德國海軍取得了很大的成功,由于沒有多少美國船只能突破德軍封鎖,通過北大西洋運食品到英國,英國1941年飽受饑餓的折磨。

        德國潛艇是對在大西洋航行船只的最大威脅,這些潛艇可以藏在水面以下,在對方沒有絲毫察覺的時候發動襲擊。德國潛艇的這種威脅一直沒人能對付,直到1943年新技術的出現。盟國科學家改善了聲納和雷達技術,使船只能夠探測到水上和水下的德國潛艇,這樣,越來越多的德國潛艇被發現并被摧毀,盟軍慢慢獲得了大西洋的控制權。

        在二戰中,盟軍與德國打了許多傳統的海戰,但飛機也開始在海戰中發揮越來越重要的作用。1941年5月27日,在從航空母艦起飛的飛機的幫助下,英國戰艦擊沉了德國威力巨大的俾斯麥號戰艦。

        二戰期間歐洲最著名的空戰發生在1940年的夏秋兩季,那就是著名的不列顛空戰。這一名稱來自于英法軍隊從敦克爾克大撤退后英國首相丘吉爾向國會發表的演說。當時的廣播說:"這是BBC國內新聞報導,今天下午,丘吉爾首相在下議院發表演說,他說 ‘正如魏剛將軍所說的,法國戰役已經結束,不列顛的戰斗即將開始'。"

        這次空戰是二戰開始以來空投炸彈最多的一次,也是歷史上第一次完全意義上的空戰。德國斯圖卡式俯沖轟炸機向英國的造船基地、政治要地、機場和飛機制造廠進行猛烈轟炸。

        德軍飛行員駕駛著梅塞施米特式戰斗機與英國皇家空軍的颶風式和噴火式飛機激烈戰斗。雖然雙方飛行員的駕駛技術不相上下,但英國噴火式戰斗機更具空中機動能力,幫助英國贏得了這場在英吉利海峽上空持續數月的戰役。

        英國空軍的勝利有效阻止了德國試圖向英國本土發起的"海獅計劃"。1942年5月,英國皇家空軍向德國扔下了一千枚炸彈。此后,美英空軍又數次向德國本土和德國占領區進行炸彈空襲。美英空軍轟炸了德國軍事和工業中心,也轟炸了平民目標,以告誡德國人侵略政策帶來的惡果。德國的科隆、德累斯頓和漢堡等大城市受到大面積破壞。盟軍對德國的轟炸一直到1945年二戰結束才停止。

        二戰開始的頭幾個月里,希特勒的勝利讓全世界感到恐懼。希特勒和他的軸心國盟友取得了一個又一個戰役的勝利,他們占領了西歐的大部分地區,侵入蘇聯,控制了北非,他們的潛艇還控制著大西洋。美軍進入歐洲戰場的頭幾個月,德國似乎仍然很強大,但形勢開始發生逆轉。

        1942年11月,德國的勢力達到頂峰,但在那以后,強大的德國戰爭機器開始減速。德國和它的軸心國盟友意大利1943年上半年損失巨大。德國在對蘇聯作戰中的損失尤其慘重,16萬德軍在斯大林格勒戰役中陣亡,還有11萬以上的人投降。

        美英聯軍在北非俘虜了25萬德軍和意大利軍,更多的德國和意大利軍人在西西里島和意大利本土被殺或被俘。德國潛艇在北大西洋上不斷被擊沉,更多的盟軍和軍用物資得以進入英國。到1943年底,希特勒和他的軍隊不再那么強大了,但德國仍然占領著法國、比利時和西歐大部分地區。

        如今是盟軍從英國出發,進入德控歐洲地區的時候了。盟軍制訂了一項歷史上最大規模的軍事進攻計劃,以打破德國對歐洲的控制,并最終取得戰爭的勝利。

        美國的艾森豪威爾將軍說:"西歐的人民:今天早晨,盟軍遠征軍在法國的海岸登陸,這次登陸是世界各國為解放歐洲所采取行動的一部分,盡管盟軍遠征軍第一個解放的可能不是你的國家,但你們的解放就要來到了。"

        這次大規模的軍事進攻就是著名的諾曼底登陸。

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