Operation Neptune

Thousands of allied troops have begun landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France at the start of a major offensive against the Germans.

Such begins a BBC article published on the 6th of June 1944. The topic on hand is D-day and the invasion made by the allies against Germany that marked the beginning of the end. Less than a year later the war was over in Europe, some months after that the world could officially close the book on the war with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Codenamed “Operation Neptune”, D-day was a… collaboration, you can say, between the allied countries (the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland). Over 150 000 soldiers fought on the allies’ side. Luck was on their side; the Germans were taken off guard, having expected the allies to invade through the Pas de Calais. They didn’t know what to do and Hitler wasn’t even consulted – he was sleeping and the Field Marshal didn’t dare wake him up. The battle went on for ten weeks and by the end of it, the allied could share a toast and breathe a relieved sigh. Things were looking up. There was a definite light at the end of the tunnel.

Even before the 6th of June, it was pretty clear that the German army was declining and their power diminishing. Constant bombing of German cities occurred, the Wehrmacht (the armed forces of Germany) retreated in some areas and the power of the air force reduced extensively. The Soviet forces had also largely destroyed the Army of the Third Reich on the Eastern Front, one of the most important factors in Germanys later defeat.

“Operation Neptune” managed to seal the United States’ position as the most powerful country in the world. It was also important in strengthening the bonds of the allied countries (I shouldn’t have to say that the Soviet Union was an exception). When Hitler killed himself 30th April 1945 it was pretty clear that everything was going to descend soon after – and it did. D-day needs a big part of the credit after that.

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