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The Truth about D-Day, 80 Years On

James Woudhuysen
Spiked, June 2, 2024

“Nazism, then, was not just beaten by America’s GDP. It was also undone by its own totalitarianism. Conversely, democracy, though severely constrained by the war, benefitted the Allies.”

Shortly after midnight on 6 June 1944, Operation Neptune, otherwise known as D-Day, began.

Thousands upon thousands of planes and ships bombed and shelled Nazi defences in Normandy. The Allies then sent in 23,000 men in three airborne divisions and mounted, with 4,000 landing craft, what remains the world’s largest ever amphibious assault: five divisions, attacking five separate beaches.

Meanwhile, poorly armed but with a third of a million adherents, the French Resistance struck the railways. It cut lines in 950 places. After Nazi repairs, it cut most of them again. As Anthony Beevor notes in his book, D-Day, these brave moves led to the Nazis executing several hundred members of the Resistance. Unperturbed, the Resistance ambushed the Nazis, disrupted their telecommunications and gave the Allies vital intelligence about them. Elsewhere, partisans in Italy, at the cost of 50,000 lives, pinned down eight Nazi divisions.

Then came Russia. Three days after D-Day, north of Leningrad, 1,600 Soviet bombers initiated a two-month ground offensive that helped drive Finland from the war. By 23 June, Moscow piled on further pressure with another two-month offensive in Belorussia, destroying 28 of 34 Nazi divisions there.

D-Day, then, needs to be seen from a global perspective. It was not just a victory for the Anglo-Americans, a relief to Russia, or a secret kept from Charles de Gaulle, France’s leader in exile, until just two days before it was launched (5). It also began the end of the Nazi yoke in Europe. Allied troops were greeted as liberators, and emboldened radicals everywhere.

… [To read the full article, click here]

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