D DAY- Does the World Today Have Any Idea How Important the Sacrifices of Thousands of Men and Women were in Shaping the World We Enjoy Today?
In cir. 1944 Adolf Hitler had conquered and occupied the whole of Europe. His SS corps had established “death camps” throughout Europe with the sole ambition of eliminating the “Jews”. The conduct of everyday life and business revolved around the rules as dictated by the “Fuhrer” according to his whim and fancy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer who dared to oppose the “new order” was viciously executed for “crimes against the state” meaning his unwillingness to “go along” withe the machinations of the Third Reich.
By 1944 the free nations of the world had had enough. Finally public opinion in the United States and the opinion of its President Franklin D. Roosevelt had come around to the realization that Hitler and the evil of his designs simply was not going away. It was clear that once he had conquered Britain he would turn his attention to the Americas and primarily the Untied States. So Congress declared war and our men and women become part of the Second World War in earnest.
In June 1944 thousands of allied sailors, soldiers and airmen prepared to invade Hitler’s Europe and hoped in doing so they would deliver the death knell to his evil empire. They trained, they camped and they waited. Finally on June 6, 1944 they received the “go ahead” and they were off. My father and my father in law to be were among those men who sallied forth to do battle against evil and I am glad to say they both survived the ordeal. But thousands did not. What we owe those men and women who died is absolutely incalculable . It is more valuable than the billions possessed by Donald Trump or the most prized work of Picasso or Monet.
Let us pray in thanksgiving for those who made this supreme sacrifice that we might live a life free of the evil sought to be established.
The signaling of the start of the invasion was the reading of lines from a poem by Paul Verlaine called Chanson d’Autome. In preparation for the invasion , the BBC signaled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of the 1866 Verlaine poem were to indicate the start of D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, “Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l’automne” (“Long sobs of autumn violins”), meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks. These lines were broadcast on 1 June 1944. The next set of lines, “Blessent mon coeur / d’une langueur / monotone” (“wound my heart with a monotonous languor”), meant that it would start within 48 hours and that the resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system; these lines were broadcast on 5 June at 23:15.
Following is a more detail about D Day from The History Channel website:
During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.
PREPARING FOR D-DAY
After World War II began, Germany invaded and occupied northwestern France beginning in May 1940. The Americans entered the war in December 1941, and by 1942 they and the British (who had been evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940 after being cut off by the Germans in the Battle of France) were considering the possibility of a major Allied invasion across the English Channel. The following year, Allied plans for a cross-Channel invasion began to ramp up. In November 1943, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), who was aware of the threat of an invasion along France’s northern coast, put Erwin Rommel (1891-1944) in charge of spearheading defense operations in the region, even though the Germans did not know exactly where the Allies would strike. Hitler charged Rommel with finishing the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400-mile fortification of bunkers, landmines and beach and water obstacles.
In January 1944, General Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) was appointed commander of Operation Overlord. In the months and weeks before D-Day, the Allies carried out a massive deception operation intended to make the Germans think the main invasion target was Pas-de-Calais (the narrowest point between Britain and France) rather than Normandy. In addition, they led the Germans to believe that Norway and other locations were also potential invasion targets. Many tactics was used to carry out the deception, including fake equipment; a phantom army commanded by George Patton and supposedly based in England, across from Pas-de-Calais; double agents; and fraudulent radio transmissions.
A WEATHER DELAY: JUNE 5, 1944
Eisenhower selected June 5, 1944, as the date for the invasion; however, bad weather on the days leading up to the operation caused it to be delayed for 24 hours. On the morning of June 5, after his meteorologist predicted improved conditions for the following day, Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord. He told the troops: “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.”
Later that day, more than 5,000 ships and landing craft carrying troops and supplies left England for the trip across the Channel to France, while more than 11,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.
D-DAY LANDINGS: JUNE 6, 1944
By dawn on June 6, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The amphibious invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture beaches codenamed Gold, Juno and Sword, as did the Americans atUtah Beach. U.S. forces faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were over 2,000 American casualties. However, by day’s end, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.
Less than a week later, on June 11, the beaches were fully secured and over 326,000 troops, more than 50,000 vehicles and some 100,000 tons of equipment had landed at Normandy.
For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack. Reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays. He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. Moreover, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.
In the ensuing weeks, the Allies fought their way across the Normandy countryside in the face of determined German resistance, as well as a dense landscape of marshes and hedgerows. By the end of June, the Allies had seized the vital port of Cherbourg, landed approximately 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy, and were poised to continue their march across France.
VICTORY IN NORMANDY
By the end of August 1944, the Allies had reached the Seine River, Paris was liberated and the Germans had been removed from northwestern France, effectively concluding the Battle of Normandy. The Allied forces then prepared to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet troops moving in from the east.
The Normandy invasion began to turn the tide against the Nazis. A significant psychological blow, it also prevented Hitler from sending troops from France to build up his Eastern Front against the advancing Soviets. The following spring, on