by Doctor Science
I have no friends or relatives who were at D-Day, but I'm sure many of you do. Talk about them, please.
James Holland has a good article at CNN exploding the myths of the Normandy landings:
The last one really surprised me, I confess:
- MYTH: D-Day was predominantly an American operation
- MYTH: American forces were ill-prepared
- MYTH: The Allies became bogged down in Normandy
- MYTH: German soldiers were better trained than their Allied counterparts
- MYTH: The Germans had stronger tactical skills
- MYTH: America and Britain got off lightly in World War II
Losses to frontline troops were proportionally worse during the 77-day Normandy campaign than they were during the major battles along the Western Front during World War I.I mean, holy shit, that's horrific.
Overall, the BBC coverage seems better than what US "news" organizations are dishing out. I really wish I could listen to the BBC archival reports, but they seem to be blocked for non-UK computers. I particularly want to hear the first announcements, the ones Anne Frank listened to:
TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 1944D-Day, like any past war, is (for me at least) an Aristotelian tragedy, evoking pity and horror -- though also the hope of eucatastrophe, a long-for success or reversal of fortune.
My dearest Kitty,
This is D Day, the BBC announced at twelve.
This is the day. The invasion has begun!
This morning at eight the British reported heavy bombing of Calais, Boulogne, Le Havre and Cherbourg, as well as Pas de Calais (as usual). Further, as a precautionary measure for those in the occupied territories, everyone living within a zone of twenty miles from the coast was warned to prepare for bombardments. Where possible, the British will drop pamphlets an hour ahead of time.
According to the German news, British paratroopers have landed on the coast of France. "British landing craft are engaged in combat with German naval units," according to the BBC.
Conclusion reached by the Annex while breakfasting at nine: this is a trial landing, like the one two years ago in Dieppe.
BBC broadcast in German, Dutch, French and other languages at ten: The invasion has begun! So this is the "real" invasion.
A huge commotion in the Annex! Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we've all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? Will this year, 1944, bring us victory? We don't know yet. But where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again. We'll need to be brave to endure the many fears and hardships and the suffering yet to come. It's now a matter of remaining calm and steadfast, of gritting our teeth and keeping a stiff upper lip! France, Russia, Italy, and even Germany, can cry out in agony, but we don't yet have that right!
Oh, Kitty, the best part about the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are on the way. Those terrible Germans have oppressed and threatened us for so long that the thought of friends and salvation means everything to us! Now it's not just the Jews, but Holland and all of occupied Europe. Maybe, Margot says, I can even go back to school in October or September.
Yours, Anne M. Frank
Well-illustrated by the photo spread at The Atlantic, showing Scenes From D-Day, Then and Now. The present-day scenes seem banal, pointlessly placid by comparison with the drama of the invasion -- but that peace is what the invasion was for, that's why they fought.
At the end of The Return of the King (book, of course), Frodo says:
I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.Many died at D-Day, or received wounds of body and mind that never truly healed. Many, many others, like Anne Frank, took hope from it but died before it came to term.