There are a lot of lessons one might take away from the D-Day landings 70 years ago today. In a time when ugly nationalism is once again on the rise, the one I’d like to bring home is that the defeat of Fascism was a team effort. We know well the roles of British and American soldiers, sailors, and airmen. In recent years the Canadians have finally been getting their due for Juno Beach. It goes beyond that though. There were Dutch, Belgian, Polish, and Norwegian sailors in the Channel; Czech, Polish and Norwegian pilots flying support missions; and French commandos and partisans on the ground. Two months later, when the German army was on the run, it was tankers of the Polish 1st Armoured Division who closed the Falaise Gap. And of course none of this would have been possible if the Soviets had not torn the guts out of German armed forces in three years of savage fighting on the Eastern Front. We would do well this day not to honor just the dead of our own nation, but all those who died to end fascism.
Dear Chris Pramas,
thank you so much for being a nerd* AND making statements as the one above. There is a wonderful book about troops from British and French colonies within the allied armies or about the so called “third world” in WWII – I don’t know if it is available in English. The title would be “Our victims do not count” (badly translated though). Especially in Europe, people tend to forget that it were also Jamaican aircraft mechanics, Indian riflemen and Jews from British-Palestine (in no small numbers) that helped liberating the world from National-Socialism. Non-White PoWs from western armies (e.g. French colonial soldiers) were often treated worse than their white comrades in German camps and prisons. Sometimes they were killed on the spot. That is a part of history that has not been researched very well. Anyway, before I start lecturing: Thanks again 😉
Greetings from Berlin, that has been liberated by Soviet soldiers 69 years ago (amongst them Polish Brigades, German communists that had fled to the USSR before 1939 and members of the “Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland” – a committee formed by captured and deserted Wehrmacht soldiers)
*which is usually linked to some form of escapism