This map is part of a series of 15 animated maps showing the history of The second World War, 1939-1945.
In 1942, apart from the United Kingdom and the USSR, both of whom were at war with the Reich, and a few neutral countries – Switzerland, Sweden, the Spanish Peninsula - most of Europe was dominated by Germany.
The Great Reich contained people from all the Germanic regions and those considered to have historic links with Greater Germany.
The Baltic countries and the General Government were, for all intents and purposes, part of the German Reich.
The nations conquered during various offensives conducted by Germany and its allies were considered occupied territories: Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Serbia Montenegro, Albania, Greece and the western regions of the USSR.
Norway and Croatia were vassal states but remained, in theory at least, independent.
France was a special case: the northern zone was occupied by the Wehrmacht but the southern zone was governed, until November 1942, by the Vichy Regime which collaborated with Germany.
Countries allied with Germany – Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Finland – were governed by Fascists and participated in Germany’s military operations, while gradually becoming mere satellites of the Reich.
In 1942, the Reich’s main objective was to use the resources found in occupied territories for its war industry by importing foreign workers to Germany, appropriating agricultural and industrial production and whole-scale displacement of factories.
In order to protect the German army and ensure domination by the Aryan race in Europe, brutal repression and massacres were systematically carried out in occupied countries.
In December 1941, the decree “Nacht und Nebel” ordered that “all the enemies of the Reich” must be deported and placed in secret prisons: this decree applied to Communists, free masons, Jews and members of other “inferior races”.
In January 1942, the Wannsee Conference confirmed the decision taken by Nazi leaders for the extermination of European Jews, who were already being massacred on a large scale by the Einsatzgruppen since the invasion of the USSR the previous year.
Germany’s “New Order” led to the creation of many resistance movements against the German occupation: partisan warfare broke out in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, while resistance networks were set up in Western Europe to carry out spying and propaganda activities in liaison with the Allies.