June 6, 2013 § 14 Comments

June 6, 1944 — D-Day — was, in my opinion, the most significant day of the twentieth century. It’s the day that combined Allied forces broke into fortress Europe and began the relentless grinding down of monster Hitler’s war-and-repression machine. It was a most climactic day among many climactic days in WWII.

It was an Allied victory, but at a great cost. Estimates vary, but it is generally accepted that the Allies lost some 10-12,000 men in the assault, against 5-9,000 for the Germans, who had the advantage early on of a strong defensive position.

It’s sobering to contemplate what the intervening 69 years would have been like had the invasion failed. The Allies may have had to sue for peace, leaving France, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria, and the rest of Europe under Hitler’s heel. No doubt more war would have ensued after Hitler disentangled himself from war in the Caucasus and rebuilt his strength. That he would have been able to approach world domination is not inconceivable.

The brave men who survived D-Day are dying off. Most were in their young twenties then, which means that they are in the 90’s or near to now.








§ 14 Responses to D-DAY

  • Philip says:

    Currently reading Rick Atkinson’s new book the Guns at Last Light, about the war in Western Europe. I’m enjoying it so far, but I’m only up to the point of the book where the allies are trying to break out of Normandy. Patton was a trip.

  • John McNeil says:

    Hitler would have won the war. We forget how close Hitler was to developing the jet aircraft. I imagine if D day would not have been successful, the german jet aircraft would have been implemented with great success. I’m not sure the US would have dropped a Fat Man on Europe either. My two cents. And everyone who hasn’t been yet, needs to go check out the World War II museum in New Orleans

  • We have ample history from which to learn, if only we choose to learn. Great post, Judge Primeaux.

  • thusbloggedanderson says:

    This link takes you to a Wikipedia article with a great aerial photo of the beach today, which will make you shudder at the thought of landing under those German-infested bluffs.

  • Bill Ready, Jr. says:

    Amen and thank you to all that took on that great deed.

  • Philip says:

    They might be speaking Russian in Paris.

    The Soviet Union would have defeated Germany without the invasion, it just would have taken longer and left the Soviets in control of all of Europe. The USSR wouldn’t have stopped in Berlin. They would have kept moving west and installed puppet governments in Western Europe, including France.

    Under that scenario, it’s not hard to envision a third world war in the 20th century with the U.S. and USSR on opposite sides.

    • Larry says:

      Interesting scenario. But could the ussr have defeated Hitler in an offensive war without the benefit of the Allies attacking from the west? When the Russians defeated the German armies at Stalingrad and Kursk, it was with the benefit of interior lines — and Russian winter — and the German generals were complaining that not enough men and resources were put to the task (those were at the western front).

      The Russians had suffered fearsome losses in the German inavasion, defense of Moscow, and the Caucasus. I think with the Allies out of it Stalin would have made peace to cut his losses and build up strength for the inevitable battle later between rightist fascism and leftist communism.

      But what do I know? I’m only a history nerd, not an expert.Thanks for the comment.

      • thusbloggedanderson says:

        “But could the ussr have defeated Hitler in an offensive war without the benefit of the Allies attacking from the west?”

        Yes, IMHO. Operation Bagration, launched 22 June 1944, left no doubt that the Red Army could and would overwhelm whatever the Germans could throw at it. Germany could have used some of its western troops on the Eastern Front, but (1) it wouldn’t have made a difference and (2) the mere threat of invasion meant Germany had to keep some units in France regardless. The Normandy campaign may have shortened the war somewhat, but German defeat was inevitable by then.

        These debates are subjective, hence fun, but I would say the most important date of the 20th century was August 4, 1914, when Germany invaded Belgium and the UK joined the war, guaranteeing that a Great War would indeed ensue. WW1 ruined the 20th century: the Soviet Union, the Great Depression, Hitler and the Holocaust, Red China, all followed from it. We are just now starting to shake off the war’s effects.

        None of this takes away from the desperate courage of the troops at Omaha Beach, tho 3,000 casualties was fairly mild by Red Army standards. (And compare July 1, 1916: 60,000 *casualties* for the Brits on the 1st day of the Somme battle, 20,000 *dead*.)

      • Larry says:

        It’s fascinating to me to contemplate all the what-ifs of history.

        I stand by my assessment of D-Day and its significance, though. Yes, WWI spawned all the evils you listed, but they would have been irrevocable or nearly so had D-Day failed. There was so much in the balance.

        Thanks for your insight (as always).

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