Today is the 70th Anniversary of the costly but vital D-Day Neptune- Overlord invasion in Normandy, France:
Worth a pause to reflect on in light of the final stanza of the US National Anthem:
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And, as well, the final verse in Lift Every Voice and Sing, the Afro-American unofficial national anthem:
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.
Let us reflect, on where we are now and the challenges we face today. (Including, challenges to the vision of freedom and its roots in the above, cf. here on.) END
25 Replies to “Today is the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, let us reflect on what is still in the balance, the price of liberty . . .”
It is time to reflect, on the roots, as well as the cost and nature of liberty.
Yes. My father, an Allied airman shot down in 1943, probably never asked a whole lot of questions.
Hitler had made his ideas clear enough and further meetings with him were useless.
Hitler didn’t believe in freedom, but we did.
Note: Canada declared war in 1939, at the same time as Britain, not 1941, after Pearl Harbor. (Dad escaped.)
News: Juno Beach, D-Day — Canada: 1,204 casualties (est), figure that at 1/3 fatalities. “Light” by the standards of Vimy Ridge, April 1917 but stiff indeed. Sword & Gold — British (1,043); Utah & Omaha — American (2197). British Airborne (1,500), US Airborne (2,499). The air campaign, sustained for years, was also brutally costly. As your dad knew personally. A stiff cost on D-Day alone — paid in blood [the currency that lessons of history so often demand], and just the beginning of months of costly fighting. But absent the invasion, Europe would have been left to a division between Nazi Germany and Stalin . . . they would likely have come to uneasy terms. KF
PS: Ike’s most difficult decision — sending in the paratroopers, and what it might have cost. Here.
Vimy Ridge made Canada.
Most people don’t know the story. People said no one could take Vimy Ridge.
The Canadians were holed up in trenches, dying. Finally, they persuaded their commanders: But we are dying anyway.
The commanders agreed and changed the military strategy so that every single Canadian soldier knew exactly why they were advancing.
So every individual solder could have told you the strategy
(None of this “Ignorant armies clash by night” garbage).
They took Vimy Ridge. Casualties awesome, yes.
One of my best friends says only of her father: He went over Vimy Ridge. (He was stone deaf for the rest of his life.)
But we helped end WWI, if you think it is any help.
Denyse: Yes, indeed the ridge is now ceded to Canada by France, forever, in memory for that sacrifice. The first real British assault success . . . first time an arty barrage really worked, and even then the wider campaign was not a real success. It now bears a monument that even Hitler respected. GEM
Very possible, considering that many historians recognize that the main turning point in the European war scene was on the East front. Specifically the defeat of the German assault on Moscow and the bloody battle for Stalingrad. After those events, which occurred before the D-day, many German officers knew they could not win that insane war they had started, because their best armies were badly crushed and humiliated. The rotten human nature was revealed in its entire dimension during those horrendous years.
So much hatred, so much treason, so much deception, so many wrong decisions, so many human errors, hidden agendas, gross miscalculations, underestimations, overestimations, basically everything we could think of that probably made things more difficult and caused more damages and deep suffering.
Many important explicit and implicit lessons for us to learn from that horrible story. Humiliated arrogance. Spiritual darkness. Spiritual blindness. Ultimate consequences of our thoughts and actions. The open rebellion of humans against their Creator, disobeying His central commandments: to love Him with all our heart, all our strength. And to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Check the following links:
It truly was a great invasion and a great success. I don’t agree in this thread to the AFRO AMERICAN verses. Its stuff like this segregation that started the war.
No Afro only american is morally worthy to be noted if I may say so.
indeed President Obama being president is a rejection of the wars causes. namely don’t interfere with peoples right and boundaries. Obama ran and was voted on the principal a african deserved and not a Yank. His fathers were in africa during this war. There you go.
The war was morally right because we were stopping murderers or catching murderers and so we could kill to defend ourselves while doing this.
We deserve all the credit and not the wicked soviet union which was in consent with hItler and crossing boundaries themselves.
They were both evil and reaped what they sowed.
Only we deserve credit and esteem.
they have mine. Great job gentlemen.
Mr Byers: Please re-read that verse. It was penned in 1899 by the first black man to become a lawyer in Florida, one generation after in a bloody civil war, slavery was broken in the USA. It was written by a man labouring under Jim Crow. And it is a recall of the God who stood with the oppressed and a prayer that they be thankful for the light achieved so far and not forget the God who gave that blessing. You need to think again. KF
D: Before the battle of Kursk in 1943 — the last major German offensive push, there was a pause on the E Front, and there were talks between the Germans and the Russians. KF
PS: While the majority of German personnel and casualties were on the East Front, it must be recognised that apart from the Battle of the Atlantic and the air-war campaign of 1942 – 44, the key resources used to build fighters and other aircraft, submarines and anti-aircraft guns, would have been largely available for the East Front. In particular, the 88-mm antiaircraft guns were essentially the same as the antitank ones, and in fact in the early days, the AA guns were simply re-targetted on tanks. The gun line that stopped the counter-attack at Arras in 1940, is a key case in point. The effect on the E Front of those resources and the further resources not taken up in dealing with cumulative damage, would likely have been devastating to the Russians. Similarly, casualty rates on both sides in the Normandy campaign, up to the breakout, were quite comparable to those on the Western Front in WW I; raising the point that horrible attrition is the normal state of modern ground war between fairly matched sides; guaranteed by effective high-volume firepower and the higher protection that defenders have generally. So, we must realise that there was no one decisive campaign or battle in WWII, all the major campaigns directly interacted, with the key technical resources and the underlying economy that provided such as pivotal to victory also. (In the Pacific, there WAS a decisive battle, Midway. Japan did not have the resources to recover from losing 4 carriers and the crews in one go; 3 of them in 5 minutes when the US dive bombers broke though.)
D; The spiritual diagnosis is apt, and it is all too relevant today also. KF
Where of course, Poland paid the worst price in proportion (though the Russians lost far more in absolute terms).
D: Great article, I enjoyed it:
PS: I think the major E front blunder was the southern diversion that cost six crucial weeks. Push through and take Moscow . . . the pivot of the whole Russian state.
Excellent information-rich commentaries! Thank you.
You seem to know much more WWII history than I do. BTW, have you read/heard anything about the US selling fuel to Nazi Germany through Spain, while sending help to CCCP through their northern ports? How much of that is pure fiction?
My mother-in-law grew up in Poland and learned to speak German fluently, because during the Nazi occupation she was not allowed to speak her language outside her home. Then the red army came and other atrocities occurred. Many women were raped in those areas. She has told me many horror stories from those years, some of which I have recorded. In Russian language they say ‘horror show’ to mean ‘good’. This world is sick and has no natural cure 🙁
But we know there’s a supernatural pain killer, though many don’t want to take it. But there’s hope, because I was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see. Amazing grace! How can it be, that our King died for us?
Love the words of the unofficial national anthem. Beautiful words and very meaningful! May we never forget the grace of God that brought us this far.
I disagree, KF. Kursk was the greatest battle in history (although our western commentators like to minimise it to ‘the greatest tank battle’!). The only thing missing was a navy! Incidentally, the stories of the ‘Wild Witches’, the Russian female pilots of old canvas and very slow biplanes, is really something.)
Many more Russians troops died in that battle, alone, than the Allies lost in the whole war. And, I dare say, against the Japanese, too. Of course the Russians lost many civilians too, notably of course in the war as a whole.
But of course you are right in that it was a joint effort. Without American money and materiel (and our arctic convoys), could the Russians have prevailed? Shrewdly, Stalin said that Britain provided time, America provided money, and the Russians provided blood.
So many imponderables in a world war. In the end, it comes down to divine providence.
An elderly German parishioner told me that the Russians used chop the arms and legs of a captured German soldier and leave the head and torso of the man, perhaps still alive, in the middle of the road along which they knew the Germans would be approaching. No wonder a German ‘tankie’ on a cable documentary on the battles of Kursk and Prokhorovka, said that he still had nightmares of fleeing Russia on foot.
Robert, I don’t know. You seem to swallow our own mendacious propaganda unquestioningly, ‘hook, line and sinker’. Bush’s grandfather’s bank helped finance the Nazis, and was prosecuted for it. IBM and some other big US outfits, I believe, were also helping their war effort.
Well, J P Morgan, Dupont and other mammoth corporations corporations had plotted to overthrow Roosevelt, but the ex-marine general, Smedley Butler ‘blew the whistle’ on them, when they tried to co-opt him for PR purposes.
Before WWII, and until our empire seemed threatened, Western countries thought the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler was the best thing ever. And that included Lloyd George and Churchill, himself – at least as regards Mussolini.
In fact, in Britain, Churchill later had a very uphill task in trying to convince the likes of Halifax and many other eminent politicians and statesmen that you couldn’t do deals with Hitler. Being an arch-imperialist himself, albeit relatively benign as imperialists go, he probably understood Hitler’s mindset in that regard better than the others. For all the twaddle about his being a duffer at school, Churchill as a brilliant man.
So, our role as regards WWII was shameful beyond belief, compared to that of the Russians. And why the Russians were not invited to the celebration, though they attended it in any case, beggars belief.
You wrote very wrong things.
Only the allies, us, get the credit for winning the war. By morals, smarts, nerve.
The soviets were evil and simply were attacked by another evil nation.
They were all killers. Stalin attacked/murdered Poland and Finland and everyone within reach. He and Soviets were enemies of God and man.
I would not agree with them attending Normandy invasion stuff.
Nobody agreed in the Anglo american world with the murderers.
Its all anti patriotic propaganda or very unwise understanding.
We were the good guys ONLY. No soviets were good.
God protected us more then them relative to numbers.
Quite a range of questions and perspectives.
I would first separate common people from power elites in all cases. The leadership (and their minions) of totalitarian states were simply awful. Stalin and Hitler are among the worst mass-killers of all time. Only Mao was worse.
And, yes many thought Fascism with its look-back to Rome’s glory [or should that be gory] was great, until aggressive behaviour began to show it for what it was. Ford literally funded Hitler in his early days, imagining him a man of the people and saviour to be of his nation. Churchill was a rather mixed bag, but that did not prevent him from being the greatest Britisher for centuries and the saviour of civilisation at the hour of crisis.
As for fascism, I think that a sense of being a large victim class looking to or for a saviour figure to rescue us from the unprecedented crisis by using the power of the state, and imagining that such a hero is beyond ordinary rules is far more common than we like to think. As in, let’s go look in a mirror soberly.
With the 2nd World War, I think the issue was that for all its limitations, Germany was a great power with considerable native then conquered resources. Until that base was crippled defeat in an era dominated by firepower and technology, was a challenge. And, I insist, the technical production resources expended in the air war campaign and the battle of the Atlantic, were pivotal. The other place all those 88 mm gun tubes could/would have gone, is Russia. To horrific effect on the Russians’ tanks. The same, with aircraft and the resources put into the submarines would have made a big difference to tank and gun production.
WWII was won on strategic overstretch then draining of resources until the balance of forces tipped decisively across 1942.
Kursk is after the tide had changed, so yes, while it was the biggest armoured clash of all time, it was not decisive. And I think Bagration a year later may have been in aggregate a bigger battle [the fulfillment of the vision of deep battle], but that was again long after the tide turned.
If Hitler had been capable of being a liberator of the Ukraine (instead of intending to finish Stalin’s strategy of starving the Ukraine), the matters would have been ever so different. But then, we would not have had a war like we did. We would have had a Central Europe dominated by Germany and its allies, forming a Fascist belt, a de facto great Germany. With France and Britain increasingly irrelevant in the world.
And, once fission was discovered, nukes were a matter of time.
A nuke armed Fascist belt across middle Europe underwritten by the German economy would have been a formidable continental bloc. Effectively the pre WWI Central Powers bloc reborn, with Italy on the Mediterranean. And Poland would have probably gravitated to it, given what lay to its East. And a Ukraine that had been starved by Stalin would look West for hope.
Ironically, we now have a west-central Europe bloc, underwritten by the German economy, with the clash-point emerging being Ukraine. (And it is Putin’s recent antics there that effectively locked him out in Normandy, the Russians were very present in 1994 and 1984.)
And meanwhile, on the Persian Gulf, Putin’s allies in Tehran are racing towards nukes while sitting on the world’s global trade choke point no 1; the Persian Gulf’s Straits of Hormuz. With Islamist Mahdist radicalism creating seismic shifts across the Middle East, appealing to 1.5 bn Muslims in light of an eschatological vision of the Mahdi emerging at the head of an all conquering black flag army and dominating the Middle East then the world to the E and the W.
Further E, China rises; returning to its former position as the greatest single industrial power in the world.
But also, with the most dynamic Christian movement in the world (though the Iranian church is now the fastest growing . . . estimates suggest now ~ 1 mn Christians there as people turn away from what the Mullahs have shown to be utterly bankrupt).
Prester John II, methinks.
And down south, there has been an un-headlined Southern Christian Reformation ongoing for perhaps a Century, in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and much of Asia. Where, there are also several promising economic powers.
In a wired-wireless world where cheap microprocessors in the GHz class and networks are changing the dynamics of the global economy, with probably gene tech and nano tech looking to feed into a new Kondratiev wave. And with fusion, Thorium fission and other energy possibilities potentially emerging.
So, we see a broad outline of the future emerging.
Yes the people are not the elites and every mans own sin should be on his own head.
Yet for most there was consent to ivade and kill people to get their way in these Axis and soviets. They were all the same. jUst turned against each other.
its a ugly and sad story with only the anglo Saxon nations coming out as moral winners. tHis because we are more moral due to our Evangelical/puritan protestant foundations if i may say so. Its all back to cromwell and Plymouth rock.
I don’t agree there are attempts to make nukes in iran and thats just false Isrewali propaganda and others. There they go again with accusations to justify killing and invasion.
I don’t mean the host writer here. Just a innocent believer in the press.
anyways it was all about killing people to get ones way.
We alone said don’t murder.
RB: The Anglo-Saxon powers are not without their fair share of blame, for a lot. Don’t ever forget that I bear the name of a man kangaroo courted and hanged at instigation of a British Governor for the crime of speaking up for oppressed and literally starving people [it was famine time] as an elected representative. As for the dismissal of the Iranian thrust to nukes since the 1980’s, that simply speaks to your own challenges. I will say that one of my profs used to run the Iranian research reactor programme in the 70’s, and was living proof of capacity developed under the Shah. The Mahdists took over with rivers of blood flowing. Since mid 1980’s there has been a steady, often concealed pattern of developments and US$ 100’s of millions invested in nuclear materials and bomb related technologies including ballistic missiles. Where there is no question that Islam’s eschatology is about Black Flag armies from the direction of Khorasan [E Iran and E of Iran] subjugating the world under Mahdi. With the Shia twist being that Mahdi is held to be was it the 12th Imam re-emerging from 1,000 years of seclusion. Iran’s revolutionary leadership see their Republic as the vanguard and way-preparer for Mahdi’s army. And it is obvious they intend to have nukes for the Mahdi. Where, FYI, the rule is Saturday first then Sunday. Dismissing this as Israeli propaganda in the face of evidence there for the finding out, if one is serious, does not speak well of you. And just for a corrective, none of what I just summarised comes from Israeli sources, but from my own checking out on Hadith, Quran and the like in response to Islamism. Some of it, from in fact the Iranian propaganda arm’s announcement to the world at was it Xmas 06 or 07. Just tell me, do you know what “black flag army from Khorasan” means and why Al Qaeda and the like use such flags? What the Gharqad tree hadith declares and what its significance is in Clause 7 of the Hamas covenant? What event happened 318 years less one day from the date of the 9/11 attacks, and why this event was memorialised in a constellation in the sky? Unless you know the answers to these and many other points, with all respect, you do not have a sound basis to speak definitively or dismissively. KF
‘Kursk is after the tide had changed, so yes, while it was the biggest armoured clash of all time, it was not decisive.’
I expect we could argue till kingdom come about this, KF, but the expression normally used in reference to Kursk, I believe, is that, at Kursk, the Russians ‘broke the back’ of the German army.
Churchill and Roosevelt had held out until the last minute, before opening up the second front, much to the fury of Stalin, who, of course, could see what they were up to, and threatened to form an alliance with Hitler, if they continued using the Russians as cannon-fodder for the German military.
Axel, the tide turned at Stalingrad with the loss of the 6th army and nearly Army Group South . . . within 17 miles of cutting off the whole group. On the Normandy invasion it is only in the 6 months from Dec 1943 that the German Air Force was sufficiently broken. The critical Landing Ship Tanks were only present in barely adequate numbers in May to June. The margin was so small that when several were lost in the rehearsal shortly before the invasion, it was marginal. And on May 31, Leigh-Mallory warned Eisenhower that glider and parachute troops were looking at 70 – 90% casualties. But they were so critical that he went ahead. A Red Cross worker who gave him a cup of coffee when he went to see the paratroopers off reported his hands were shaking so hard she had to take it back. Some units did suffer on that scale but overall the casualties were much less. He actually wrote a press release for a failed invasion — it was marginal. Then, when they got into the Bocage country the casualty rates were fully comparable to the Western Front in WWI. It was the Falaise pocket trap that allowed the dash across France, then of course as the lack of trucks slowed the advance the war became very costly again. KF
PS: As a measure of how interactive all this is, there were apparently ~ 10,000 88 mm AA guns fighting allied bombers over Germany. If they were not there, they would have been available to be shooting tanks in the E. Likewise resources on aircraft and submarines hampered tank production and availability of a/c for the E.
If it weren’t for the French, where would he allies have landed? Italy!? God was obviously on our side.
Mung, of course the landing in Italy came first and in the end in 1945, having fought through the length of the peninsula, they broke out into Austria. Indeed, ROME WAS TAKEN JUNE 5, 1944. Dragoon, the S France landing of August 1944, was staged from the Med. Italy was no easy fight, as Stalin found out when he sent an officer to check out what was going on. KF