Presentation on theme: "What if “D-Day” Failed? Joseph Cornett. Operation Overlord (“D-Day”) By mid-1944 in the course of World War II, the Allied Forces were in a desperate."— Presentation transcript:
Operation Overlord (“D-Day”) By mid-1944 in the course of World War II, the Allied Forces were in a desperate position. German forces controlled Central Europe, having sealed it off from the rest of the world in what was informally called “Fortress Europe”. Their position was incredibly secure, and a war of attrition was wearing down Allied resources just as it was wearing down German resources. An elaborate plan—Operation Overlord—was put into effect, which would culminate in an amphibious landing across the English Channel onto the beaches of Normandy (northern France). Great effort was put into concealing where and when the assault would take place. (For example, General George S. Patton—whom Hitler feared greatly—was put in command of a massive army at the point where Hitler most expected the Allied forces to attempt to cross the English Channel. And it was all just a decoy to prevent the Germans from focusing their defenses on the real intended landing spot of the amphibious invasion itself, Operation Neptune.) After the invasion was delayed for a couple days due to ill-fitting weather, the invasion was launched from the coast of England on June 6, 1944. A beachhead was established promptly, and from this beachhead the Allied forces were able to advance through France, free Paris, and begin marching into Western Germany. Russian forces advanced from the Eastern Front and captured Berlin. Post-war, Germany was divided into West Germany and the Soviet- controlled East Germany, with the iconic Berlin Wall dividing the two nations down the center of the previous German capital.
Eisenhower’s Letter to Troops: June, 1944 Letter from Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower to the troops about to embark on Operation Neptune (the specific codename for the amphibious landing itself). Partially because the actual date of the landing depended on the day’s weather, there is no specific date on this pamphlet.
Letter from Soldier: June 4, 1944 Letter sent from American Major Rodney Maude to his mother before departing for Operation Overlord. The mindset of soldiers before battle is immensely important – it does a great deal in determining the troops’ efficacy. The mindset of officers before battle is also indicative of the potential success of the operation – they are privy to more information than the average soldier, who is of lower rank.
Major Rodney Maude In command of 246 Field Company, Royal Engineers. Landed on Sword Beach on D-day June 4 My dear Mum You certainly won't get this letter until after the event, as it were, but I hope it won't be delayed too long. I am writing this on board the ship in which we go across. At the moment, of course, we are at anchor off the coast of England, surrounded by a great many other ships and craft. We embarked yesterday afternoon. We had lunch in camp and then got into buses and drove - very slowly - down to the harbour. The men were all very cheerful, cracking jokes and cheering every girl we passed on the way. You would never have dreamed, except from the amount of equipment we were carrying, that we were not going on another exercise. I must say I didn't feel any different myself. I have known for over a year of course that we would eventually go off on this, or something similar, and I used to dread the last preparations and the final parting from friends and England, but in actual fact (fortunately) I haven't minded at all, now that it is really happening. We all feel very confident and optimistic about the result of the landings, and we all think it is going to be a walkover - at first, anyway. Also, it simply doesn't occur to anyone as a possibility that anything unpleasant can possibly happen - to other people, yes, but not to oneself, so naturally nobody worries about it. And also we are all intensely interested to see how this thing which we have been planning so long and training for so long does work out in practice. I hope you have been getting some of my letters, but I am afraid they haven't been very good ones recently for obvious reasons - and there probably won't be any more for some time as I shall be rather busy for a few days! Anyway, please don't worry, I am sure to be all right and no news is good news. All my love to you, and don't worry. Your loving Rodney
Memo to General Marshall from Eisenhower: June 6, 1944 A secret memo from General Dwight D. Eisenhower to General George C. Marshall and staff, remarking on initial conditions of the landing Sent on the dawn of D-Day
“Fireside Chat”: Radio Address from Roosevelt to American Citizens Sunday afternoon, June 11, 1944: The opening is as follows: Good evening, friends. This is your President speaking. As your President, it is my solemn duty to notify the American people of important occurrences in the interests of this nation of ours both at home and abroad. Over the past few months in our continued efforts against the Axis powers, we and our allies have been developing a complex joint operation: an amphibious landing the likes of which the world has never seen, in order to break through the enemy’s defenses on the shores of northern France and free our allies in France from the forced yoke of Nazi occupation. Under the command of the brilliant Supreme Allied Commander, our General Dwight D. Eisenhower, every soldier involved in this massive operation has given all their effort in the pursuit of Global Liberty and Freedom. On the sixth of June in this year, over one hundred and fifty thousand Allied troops participated in the most valiant expedition this world has ever seen. Their courage was unmet, their valor immutable, the sound of their honor unmuted over the crashing of waves on the Normandy beaches. Despite the best efforts of our brave men, Fortune was not in their favor. Our counter-intelligence was unsuccessful in belying our point of assault, and the full force of our enemies was brought to bear. When a superior soldier must wade through hundreds of meters of water before he may engage his enemy, the inferior soldier who shoots a man that cannot fight may push his ill-gotten advantage. Do not fear, People of the Free World, for the fight against Tyranny and Oppression shall continue unabated. We shall fight on land, on sea, by air; by voice, by shout, by cries of Freedom. The American Spirit has met oppression before and every time we have risen to the challenge (…)
Event #2: With a stagnant Western Front, the Russians on the Eastern Front take both Berlin and Paris
Radio Address from Resistance Leader Charles de Gaulle to French Citizens, January 1946 De Gaulle was currently leading the French Resistance from Britain. He was also a very conservative politician with a strong anti-Russian stance. Excerpts: “I say to you all, resist the Russian Bear! Its aggression slumbers now, but when it awakes it shall be vicious and merciless in its assault on our culture and on what makes us great as a nation and a people. (…) Moreover, Stalin is not to be trusted, not even by his own people. I refuse to have Hitler fall off the shoulders of the French people only to be replaced by a traitor of equal magnitude (…)” (De Gaulle is assassinated by a Russian extremist before the end of the year.)
Event #3: Soviet Russia has much greater post-WWII influence. France is divided into West France and Soviet East France.
Map of Soviet Bloc, 1949 Shaded, but not listed by text: “East France”
Post-WWII balance of power between America and USSR is heavily balanced in the USSR’s favor. America has very little influence in European politics. Nuclear weapons were still developed by both nations. (After a failed D- Day, the American government saw a nuclear victory as the only solution.) But MAD prevented usage of the nuclear weapons, despite the very high post-WWII tensions between America and the USSR. With increased resources, Russia wins the Space Race, being the first country to put a man on the Moon. Because both West and East Germany are under economically- inefficient Soviet control, Germany does not become an economic superpower in the second half of the 20 th century. Also, Dwight D. Eisenhower is never elected president – he does not have the high status of a war hero.