D-Day – 70 Years Later

Allied troops preparing to disembark in France on D-Day.

 

The allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944 was the beginning of the end of the Hitler regime.

Timeline of Events Leading to D-Day Invasion

1921 – Adolf Hitler named leader of Nazi Party in July of 1921 and took the title of the Fuhrer.

Adolph Hitler: Evil personified.

1924 – Nazi Party leaders, including Hitler were arrested for attempting to overthrow the Bavarian government. He was sent to prison for five years, but only served 10 months and was released. He wrote Mein Kampf, while he was in prison.

1929-1930 – The worldwide depression was beneficial to the Nazi’s as they began to gain popularity.

1933 – Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg on January 30. The Gestapo was formed on April 26, 1933. Nazi’s assumed complete power, after all the other political parties were banned.

1934 – President Hindenburg died on August 2 and Hitler took over as leader of the German government.

1939 – Germany invades and occupies Czechoslovakia in March of 1939. The German Army invades and occupies Poland in September of 1939.

1940 – Germany invades and occupies Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France during April and May of 1940. Germany had now invaded and occupied eight countries, from March 15, 1939 till May 10, 1940.

April 6, 1941 would see Yugoslavia and Greece be invaded and occupied by German troops. Hitler now had 10 countries under his umbrella of power.

June 22, 1941 was the date that 3 million German troops invaded Russia, in what would become one of Hitler’s biggest mistakes of the war.

 

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel wasn’t there when the Allied invasion began, since he had went home for a family visit, since it was thought that the Allied invasion might not take place for another two weeks. Rommel was more humane than some German officers. He didn’t let his troops mistreat prisoners. Rommel participated in a conspiracy to remove Hitler from power, but he was opposed to the assassination plot. The plot to assassinate Hitler failed when the bomb exploded, but failed to kill Hitler. Some of those involved with the plot implicated Rommel, when they were being questioned about the plot to kill Hitler. Rommel was opposed to the assassination plot, because he feared it might make Hitler a martyr.

When Hitler learned that Rommel was involved with the other conspirators, then he gave Rommel the option of committing suicide, rather than be executed, since he had been such a war hero. Rommel committed suicide on October 14, 1944, which happened to be the same day I was born.

General Erwin Rommel 1891-1944

1942 – The German troops are defeated at El Alamein in North Africa on November 5, 1942.

1943 – The German 6th Army is defeated at Stalingrad on February 2, 1943.

1944 – The Allied invasion of Normandy begins on June 6, 1944.  The tide was turning against the Germans as they had suffered two major defeats, with them losing the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, and to the Russians at Stalingrad and now they had a massive invasion by Allied troops. All of this happened in about a year and a half.

D-Day – June 6, 1944 – All times are military time:

0015 – 17,000 paratroopers land behind enemy lines prior to the invasion.

0309 – German radar sights Allied invasion fleet.

0700 – Allied troops in the first landings at Omaha Beach are pinned down.

0800 – Allied troops climb the bluffs at Omaha Beach.

1000 – The Allied troops have now ascended to the top of the bluff of Omaha Beach.

1330 – American troops advance inland after landing on the beach.

1400 – Hitler conducts first meeting about the invasion. Seven hours had passed, before Hitler became involved with the machinations of the German war machine, in their attempt to stem the American advances.

0000 Midnight – 9 Allied divisions have now landed in France.

The landing of Allied forces signaled the eventual end of the Hitler regime. It still would be another 10 months, before Hitler would commit suicide in his bunker, rather than be captured by American or Russian troops in Berlin.

 

Yogi Berra was shooting rockets at Germans onshore from a  Navy rocket ship, during the fighting on D-Day, as they softened up the German defense lines on shore.

 

Celebrities Involved in D-Day Invasion

Baseball player Yogi Berra was aboard a Navy rocket ship, at Normandy shooting rockets at the enemy, to soften the enemy strongholds on shore. He never actually set foot on the beach, but he still played a significant part in the events of that day.

Author J. D. Salinger carried the first six chapters of The Catcher in the Rye with him, when he was part of the invasion force.

Actor Alex Guinness piloted a landing craft carrying British troops to the beach.

Actor James Doohan, who  would later portray Scotty on the Star Trek television series was shot several times that day and lost a finger.

End of the Third Reich

The 11 year reign of Adolf Hitler and  the Third Reich ended on April 30, 1945.

Hitler made a crucial mistake by bombing London and attempting to invade and occupy Russia. Sending three million troops still wasn’t enough to defeat Russia. 4.3 million Germans died during the Eastern front, while 10.6 million Russians died in the fighting.

Invading Russia was the most colossal mistake of the Hitler regime. He could have used the 4.3 million Germans who died in Russia to defend Germany, against American and British troops. However, when he invaded Russia he enabled Russia and America to combine forces, which made it a lot easier to capture Berlin and bring the end of the reign of terror by Adolf Hitler. Russia probably would have stayed out of the war, if Germany had not invaded Russia.

Hitler was far from being a military genius and erred by not letting his generals have complete control in the war.

When Hitler sent the troops to invade Russia he thought the war in Russia would be over before winter. Instead, the fighting went into winter and the German troops were not prepared for the winter weather, since they had not been allowed to bring winter clothing with them.

We will never know the exact number of those killed during World War II, since there were so many Jews being executed during the war.

Hitler’s dream of Germany becoming a world power came to a sudden end, when he shot and killed himself in his bunker on April 30, 1945. Instead he left his country in ruins, from the Allied bombing attacks and it may never recover from the devastation of World War II.

Germans and citizens all over the world need to never forget the devastation,  of the World War II European theater fighting, which only happened because Adolf Hitler wanted to rule the world. It could have been a different war if Russian and Great Britain had stayed out of the war, if they hadn’t been attacked by Hitler.

Hitler may have pretended to care about Germany, but all he really cared about was Adolf Hitler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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