Wednesday, June 06, 2012

6 June, 1944 D-Day

The largest invasion in human history still came down to small groups of men - ultimately to the individuals - making heroic choices that collectively marked a turning point in history. The liberation of France and western Europe exacted a monstrous toll of blood.

The American media of the day could have made the argument that the huge invasion, with its massive casualty list, was a concession to Stalin, who was demanding another front to relieve pressure on the Red Army, advancing on Germany from the east.

Many of the French had collaborated with their Nazi conquerors, even to the point of participating in a puppet government, Vichy France. French had even fought alongside the Nazis in North Africa, scuttling their Mediterranean fleet rather than letting it fall into Allied hands. What point in liberating such a people?

After all, the British wanted to simply continue the Italian campaign and come in through Hitler's back door, seeing the Normandy invasion as perhaps unnecessary.

But the investigative reports and editorials went unwritten and the war was won.