Today is the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the Allied Forces began the liberation of Europe from the Axis Powers. There were other epic battles during more than six years of Nazi occupation of Western Europe, but this one began the onslaught that brought the end to the most important war in modern times.
It was the largest military operation ever undertaken in history. Operation Overlord was its code name, and its commander was General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He directed more than 160,000 Allied troops as they advanced on a fifty-mile stretch of the French coastline at Normandy. There were more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft crossing the English Channel facing heavily fortified bunkers filled with Nazi soldiers and weaponry with years to dig in and prepare.
The Allies had to battle rough seas and open beaches where they were easy targets for the protected enemy. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded in the battle, but more than 100,000 made it past Adolph Hitler’s entrenched troops. By the end of April the following year, the Allies (primarily the United States, Great Britain and the USSR) would overrun Berlin, Hitler would be dead and the war in Europe would be over. By the middle of August 1945, Japan would surrender after two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Have you ever thought about what the world would be like if the Axis Powers (primarily Germany, Italy and Japan) had been the victors at the end of World War II? Consider the Holocaust and the murder of six million Jews. It would not have ended there. The United States would not have had the period of growth that came after the war, and would never lead the world.
Would war have come to the shores of the United States? What would happen in Great Britain? There would have been constant unrest and guerilla warfare all over the globe. Add in nuclear warfare and most of the world and our country as we know it could have been obliterated. Most of us would not exist.
The possibilities are endless and while the world is still not a peaceful place, it is certainly a better one thanks to the brave soldiers willing to face an enemy with every advantage in order for you to enjoy the life you do today. As fewer and fewer veterans of that battle and the war remain on this Earth, consider what price they willingly paid for your freedom. We owe them everything.
Please take a moment and comment on this article. Click on the subscribe button to receive an e-mail when Alison publishes new articles. Alison is also National Book Examiner, National Community Issues Examiner, Salt Lake City Comfort Food Examiner and Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner. For a link to all of Alison’s Social Issues articles, please click here. Thank you.
Source: US Army