Winning the Second World War and defeating the Axis powers wasn’t a certainty on June 6, 1944. The invasion of Europe, Operation Overlord, comprised of twenty American divisions, fourteen British, three Canadian, and one each French and Polish. Of these the actual assault forces on D-Day comprised of two U.S., two British, and one Canadian division.
By James DiGeorgia
The Supreme Commander of military forces in England Dwight D. Eisenhower prepared two statements as troops began to move, one in case the attempted invasion to liberate Europe turned into a disaster, and another if it were a success. He then wrote his wife Mimi one of the most heart letters of the war. He felt the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Eisenhower, after all, was in command and coordinating the most massive military assault in human history, an invasion that consisted of 5,333 Allied ships and landing craft carrying nearly 175,000 men. The British and Canadians put 75,215 troops ashore, and the Americans 57,500, for a total of 132,715, not accounting 20,000 Allied airborne troopers. The weather had been horrendous for days; his choice of Normandy was so secret that and the ruses used so intense indicating allied forces were so successful it caught the German high command flatfooted that even General Rommel himself thought it was safe enough for him to return to Germany to celebrate his wife’s birthday. Rommel’s absence from France and inability to command together with the fierce Allied determination changed the course of history.
Still despite extensive planning, superb training, do or die troops that committed hear and soul, the best military minds devoted to Operation Overlord in Washington and the United Kingdom, from June 6 (D-Day) to August 30 (when German forces retreated across the Seine) were over 425,000 Allied and German troops including twenty-eight generals. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties.
Only a minuscule number of select U.S. intelligence experts in Washington, deployed in Europe had any understanding of the danger of failure. Fewer knew anything about Oppenheimer's Manhattan project. However, even ewer comprehended the meaning of the Germans race with the United States to develop the atom bomb.
Had Operation Overlord failed, the war could have extended two even three years the world as we know it may have never have come to be. Moscow, St. Petersburg, London, Washington, New York and other major cities around the world would still be in radioactive ruins.
On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, we should all take some time to pray for those brave allied soldiers, airmen, and the millions working behind the lines in their support of the courageous efforts.
Today we have unhinged dictators like Kim Jung Un and religious fanatics arming themselves with weapons many hundreds time more lethal and developing delivery methods that could kill hundreds of millions of nonmilitary targets across the globe. This is taking place when the post World War II order designed to prevent another world war is collapsing and the ugliness of fascist nationalism is rising.
There’s no better time to pray for racial and religious tolerance. No better time for our leaders to dial back their hostile political rhetoric, decrease the numbers of nuclear weapons; halt the development of hypersonic weapons and the militarization of space.
The Second World War led to the deaths globally to as many as 80 million people. World War III would threaten lives of 7 billion if not the humanity as a whole from fall out, poisons and a new ice age from the darkened skies that could envelop our planet.
The danger of religious zealousness, white nationalism, Kleptocratic autocracies, and growing fascism is growing here in the United States and globally. Pray, speak out against the march to war that those 80 million who died during the war in its violence is never repeated. Pray the post World War II order designed to prevent the death and destruction weather all attacks against it.