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(German: lightning war) Military tactic used by Germany in World War II, designed to create psychological shock and resultant disorganization in enemy forces through the use of surprise, speed, and superiority in matériel or firepower. The Germans tested the blitzkrieg during the Spanish Civil War in 1938 and against Poland in 1939, and used it in the successful invasions of Belgium, the Netherlands, and France in 1940. The German blitzkrieg coordinated land and air attacksusing tanks, dive-bombers, and motorized artilleryto paralyze the enemy principally by disabling its communications and coordination capacities.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on blitzkrieg, visit Britannica.com.