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Monday, June 6, 2011

D-Day

Hitler revealed his plans for war during the Hossbach Conference in November of 1937.  The German military mobilizes for war in August of 1938.  The British Prime Minister Chamberlain appeases Hitler at Munich in September of 1938.  October 15, 1938, the German army occupies the Sudetenland and the Czech government resigns.  World War Two was beginning!
It took almost four years for the United States to join the fray and declare war against Germany, Italy and Japan, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.  Not meaning to discount the devastation that happened at Pearl Harbor, but if the Japanese commander had followed Yamamoto's battle plan to the letter it would have been much worse than it was.  As it turned out the carnage created was only about one sixth what it could have been.
From the time the United States entered the War until D-Day would be another two and half years of War.  The War in Europe wouldn't end at D-Day; it would take until May 8th, 1945 for the War in Europe to be finished, and until August 14th of that year before the Japanese accept unconditional surrender and the War would finally be over.
D-Day would be the largest amphibious military operation in history: 6000 landing craft, ships and other vessels delivered 176,000 troops; 822 aircraft drop paratroops and an additional 13,000 aircraft provide air cover for the invasion.  It was the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control.
It was as much an intelligent coup as it was a military one.  The Allies pre-invasion charades convince the Germans that the Invasion would come from Pas de Calais.  The German high command was convinced the attack would be led by General George S. Patton who they had grown to fear and respect from the North Africa campaigns.  Patton was in the dog house for slapping a soldier for cowardice, and the Germans were convinced it was a rouse.  The Allies built a fictitious army around Patton complete with inflatable tanks, fake airfields, and fake radio traffic, to convince the Germans the attack would happen much farther north than Normandy.
If I had a time machine, I would almost want to see the Normandy Invasion except I have no desire to watch the actual slaughter and loss of life that happened on those beaches that day.  But to see the unstoppable force, the years of planning unfold, on such a grand scale all on one day would be awe inspiring.  I read somewhere that part of what held the invasion up for so long was that they needed to be able to build a serviceable port immediately and keep supplies, troops, and equipment rolling in behind the Army so they would not get pushed back into the sea once the Germans got their wits about them.  The Allies came up with a way to link together a dock/boat system so they could quickly bring in ships, unload them, and get supplies heading inland immediately once they established the beach head and got troops moving inland, and securing their foot hold.  The week from June 6, 1944 to June 14, 1944 would have to have been amazing to watch unfold.
I read an account somewhere that on that morning at the beaches of Normandy it appeared as if you could walk across the sky from wingtip to wingtip across the airplanes in the sky.  I can't even imagine.  How many people, from how many walks of life, from how many places, all brought together for one solitary purpose?  What could mankind accomplish if it could mobilize that kind of resources for a beneficial, peaceful, life saving, disease stopping, kind of event instead of War?  Don't get me wrong the Nazi's needed stopped!  They should have never been allowed to go as far as they did.
I wonder watching the news if letting radical Muslim groups get away with what they are doing are we being as apathetic as the United States and Great Britain during the 1930's, and in the near future our children will have to rise up and say enough is enough.  Or the groups who are attacking anything Christian, trying to eradicate the Christian influence in Government, schools, and sporting events.  They will outlaw Christianity if we don't stop them.  Not wanting to get involved, trying to be politically correct isn't always the right way to be.  What if the founding Fathers of United States didn't want to get involved and wanted to be politically correct and just needed to knuckle under and be a good colony.  Where would we be then?
My father was born in Scotland in 1942.  In school as a child he was taught it was the American Revolt, because from their perspective that's what we did do.  From American's perspective it was a revolution!  Makes you think doesn't it?  If it doesn't it really should!

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