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1. Using source A and your own knowledge explain why the D-day was such an important event of World War two?
D-Day was such an important event of World War Two for numerous amounts of reasons. The term ‘D-Day’ actually means ‘The Day’. As said by Major Elson, it is the day where “everyone does something”. Major Elson fought on the Italian front, which is demonstrated on the map. D-Day was to be June 1944 minutes between night turning to morning on the 6th. The Germans had occupied France and France needed Britain, Canada and America to come together to regain the French territory for them. As well as this, Russia was fighting of Germany in the East and needed the Allies to relieve pressure. D-Day was a very important part into ending the war but other factors include the Battle of the Atlantic, the fighting in North Africa and the Battle of Britain.
Arriving at Normandy using the Mulberry harbours, the Allies captured all of the five designated beaches (Omaha, Juno, Gold, Sword and Utah) despite strong German coastal defences. This is mainly due to the opposing armies having no idea to where the Allied forces would be landing because no place in France were called those names. The map shows where the troops entered France and this also clearly enforces the sheer scale of the invasion and its importance into keeping it top secret. Meanwhile, parachutists were flown in nearly 20 minutes after mid-night to capture Pegasus Bridge on the River Orne and Vier. This was important as it prevented German counter attacks from transporting troops to the beaches.
As quick as they could, the Americans advanced all the way up to Cherbourg and captured it. Meanwhile, the British struggled pushing through Norman hedgerows which proved excellent cover for the defending German formations but the Allies succeeded in liberating the city of Caen in the end. This then led to the captivity of the capital of Normandy, Flank Con. However, with the capture of Saint-Lï¿½ and later Avranches in mid-July, the way was open for an Allied breakout into open country, an opportunity seized by General Omar Bradley, commander of the 12th US Army Group, who early in August ordered his forces to advance to the east. Hitler refused to allow the Wehrmacht to abandon Normandy and ordered a German armoured counter-attack against the allied forces near Avranches. On August 7 the German offensive was defeated and they soon found themselves in a trap as Canadian and United States divisions began to close in on both sides.
On August 19th the allied forces had closed the gap at Falaise, trapping about 12 German divisions, who were subjected to merciless air and artillery bombardment. Hitler now ordered his forces in the gap to escape: about 30,000 did so, while 50,000 were captured by the Allies. The Germans were forced back by sheer weight of numbers by the Allies and by August 25th 1944 Paris had been liberated. After this, the Allies advanced too far, too fast to the border of France and Germany and so the Germans were able to push back one area of the line of troops, enforcing a bulge. This was known as The Battle of the Bulge. The Allies overcome this. The Allied advance in the west and south through Italy coupled with the Soviet advance in the east led to the overall defeat of Germany on May 7th 1945 – 11 months after D-Day began.
The map demonstrates all of the above happenings and the names of the commanders in charge show their line of advancement into Germany. This map also, clearly shows us just how much land had been covered and that the Allies weren’t just invading from Normandy but from the Mediterranean, from the east (USSR) and from Italy. However, if it weren’t for the declaration of operation Overlord at Normandy then it is possible to say that attacks elsewhere would not have taken place.
The map helps me explain my theory; you can see an awful lot of troops coming from all directions heading towards Germany but the majority are advancing from Britain. Thus meaning that without the attack from Normandy, it wouldn’t relieve pressure from the eastern front with USSR and in general, the Allies wouldn’t have won the Battle of Normandy. A key factor is that the Battle of Normandy was the beginning of the end. It was a turning point in the war and I can make a judgement from my evidence that the Battle of Normandy was a key factor into the defeat of Germany (Victory in Europe) and possibly to ending the war altogether.
2. Study sources B and C. Compare these judgements on the importance of D-Day in the outcome of the Second World War.
From studying both sources, I can see that they differ considerably. Both sources say the importance of D-day. Source C tells the problem of getting over the river Rhine and the ‘vigorous German counter attacks’. Source B doesn’t have a particular author but it was written for the Telegraph Newspaper marking the 50th anniversary to ‘commemorate D-Day’. There are two key facts to touch upon in this subject area. Firstly, I have recognised that this is a British newspaper and therefore its information would be from a British perspective. By this, I mean that it will say only what the British public wants to hear especially on the anniversary. The anniversary is a celebration of freedom and victory and ‘commemoration’ so for a British newspaper, the British public is not going to want to hear about D-Day’s flaws.
Secondly, this is secondary evidence. This means the writer wasn’t there to actually see what happened- he/she is just going on the basis of what they have heard and researched. However, this is the same for source C so there is no difference in that respect. Regardless, a British historian (Jack Watson) writes source C. Therefore, this man is obviously bound to know his stuff as his career is based around the acknowledgement of history. Thus meaning that he isn’t just purely writing to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day, he is writing it because he is interested in it. Maybe this is why source C is far much more detailed than source B.
From reading source B, it had become clear to me that the way in which the text had been written; it comes across although D-Day was achieved in such little time. This is true but the advancement of the troops from Normandy to Paris did come with a bit of a struggle at some areas (e.g. British troops capturing Caen) and so it wasn’t as straightforward as the writer is making out. I think the writer has done this to give the British public what they want to hear and therefore will sell more copies. Another possibility is that the writer just needed to summarise D-Day and just produce an overview.
Source C explains that it wasn’t just down to Normandy that D-Day took place. Watson says how paratroopers landed in Holland, resistance broken in Italy and fighting in Germany. This means the historian has studied a broader area to the happenings of D-day rather then just focusing on France like source B. I think this is because people, who read his writings, are going to be more inclined to see D-Day from all angles of perspective. I believe people reading Watson’s work would like a less judgmental and less biased view to the events of D-Day.
Source B illustrates a bit more on how important Normandy was and how we commemorate it today. I do think that the writer of source B is somewhat biased and possibly holding back factual information which would probably give us a different perspective on D-Day as he has just wrote it to please, however, this leaves this piece of evidence to some extent, being unreliable. Source C, nevertheless, has more factual evidence and includes as much information about D-Day in as little words as possible for it to be a more reliable source. It takes into account the German resistance and understands the Allies didn’t gain liberation easily.
3. Study sources D and E. Use details from the cartoons and your wider knowledge in your answer. What do these cartoons suggest about the reasons why the allies defeated Germany?
There are many reasons as to why the allies defeated Germany. Source D illustrates one aspect. Source D shows Adolf Hitler ordering troops to invade the USSR but they turn into graves instead. From my own knowledge I know that this occurred on June 22nd 1942. Hitler envisioned it as short decisive war with USSR reaching a spectacular triumph. It started well for the German army who successfully employed the blitzkrieg tactic again. The Germans had a spectacular rate of progress into the USSR with the Panzer tank regiments moving up to twenty miles a day. By September1941 the German army had reached the Ukraine farmlands and had surrounded the city of Leningrad. This was the height of German success from this point onwards the German defeat became more and more probable.
The German forces were unprepared for the extreme Russian winter with temperatures reaching as low as -40 degrees Celsius. The Russians used a huge evacuation policy, which involved evacuating whole armaments factories to the east of the USSR. This ensured that even though they had lost a large amount of territory they still had the means with which to fight back. USSR was well organised because at the time of signing the Nazi-Soviet Pact, they realised they couldn’t possibly fight a war as they weren’t ready. Therefore, this treaty gave USSR time to prepare, and so they did. Consequently, this Soviet cartoon depicts basically how Hitler sent his troops to death.
As well as defeats in the east, there are other areas in which Germany fell. Between the years of 1939 and 1941 the United States of America had played a supposedly neutral role in the war. While not actually declaring war on the Germans the USA was supplying the British with everything they needed to keep the war effort going. The American role in the war changed on the 7th December 1941 when the Japanese attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. The American President Roosevelt used this attack to swing public opinion in favour of declaration of war.
The USA declared war on Japan and three days later Hitler’s Germany declared war on the USA. This declaration of war by Germany was a decisive point in the whole war. It has long been wondered why Hitler chose to declare war on the Americans. His forces were just suffering their first defeats in the USSR and the German army was already stretched on a number of different fronts. This clearly shows that the Germans were failing before they had begun. I believe this relates to the cartoon; the troops in the picture are defeated before they have even begun.
As if Germany hadn’t enough on their hands and hadn’t taken into account the loss of men in the cold winter months in Russia, they continued and they reached the key industrial and railway centre of Stalingrad in August 1942. A bitter street battle ensued which continued until February 1943. Eventually the Germans were defeated in the Battle of Stalingrad one of the fiercest battles in the whole war. The Russian victory destroyed the invincible reputation of the German army. The defeat also destroyed the German morale because of the large losses of men and because of the fact that the supposed master race had been defeated by a lower race in the Slavs. This obviously didn’t give the Germans the courage to go on. Not to mention, an awful lot of the German army was foreign so they wasn’t as eager to fight as its not their country they are defending. Germany was a country practically on its own. Whereas on the other side there was Canadians, Russian, American and British all fighting on the same team with a greater number of troops.
The Atlantic Ocean was a key battleground in the Second World War because of the large number of allied supplies travelling from the USA to Britain and the USSR. The Germans had had control of the Atlantic since the beginning of the war with the number of U-boats losses being very minimal compared to the number of Allied shipping lost. But by mid 1943 technological advances allowed the Allies to effectively win the Battle of the Atlantic. Some of these advances included better radar detection systems and longer-range aircraft. The victory in the Atlantic meant that Britain was no longer blockaded.
The Germans also lost the war in the air. Over a period of two years between 1942 and 1944 the Allies mounted ever more devastating air attacks on German cites. The Allies were able to drop a far greater tonnage of bombs over German cites than the Luftwaffe could drop over British cites because of the development of a heavy bomber by the allies. The continuing air attacks slowly gained the Allies complete air superiority which was key for the D-Day landings in June 1944.
These are all the events that lead up to June 6th (D-Day) and all of these links in with the effect of D-Day. In conclusion it could be argued that there were a number of different turning points in the war. On the one hand, the declaration of war by the USA, the Soviet victory in Stalingrad the Allies successful completion of Operation Overlord or when Hitler choose to declare war on the USA, could all be considered as the turning points in the war. Overall we believe that the point at which German defeat became inevitable was when Churchill and several great generals including Eisenhower and Montgomery planned the daring invasion of Normandy and put it into action. Sources D and E demonstrate this quite clearly. Source E basically shows that Stalin and a Russian soldier/general could easily ‘roll over’ the Germans without much of a fuss and were defeating them generously. Germany, as illustrated above, suffered many defeats and Normandy just basically hit the nail on the head.
The French were Allies with Britain and Britain was Allies with USSR and Canada and USA. I don’t suppose it benefited the Axis in any way at all with the economic and industrial power of the Allies was now overwhelming. If the Germans had been fighting the British alone the war would have been one of attrition like the First World War because Britain and Germany’s industrial output were equal. So with the addition of the two most industrial powers in the world in the form of the USA and the USSR the Allies could not lose. All of the previous defeats like the fighting in North Africa, the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic and the fighting in the East with USSR etc. are all linked with the effect of the Battle of Normandy.
On the other hand, in my opinion, if it wasn’t actually for the Battle of Normandy which led to the liberation of France and the Falaise gap and so on, then Germany would of carried on capturing countries until the end. It is also possible to say that if Germany hadn’t declared war on USA (for which reason we do not know) then USA might have still stayed out of the war against Germany (and only fought Japan) and also, Germany might have stood a chance of winning. But they still would have had a war on two fronts with USSR, too. Therefore, if they hadn’t declared war on USSR in 1942 then they would have had more troops to give resistance on D-Day.
In general, Germany didn’t stand a chance as the British were sending messages to the French resistance who helped prepare for D-Day and also the British bombed Calais four times as much as they did Normandy to give Hitler the impression they were invading at Calais rather than Normandy. Therefore, Hitler sent more troops to defend Calais and this was completely unnecessary. This then meant, that on the attacks of Normandy, Hitler was unable to send troops to Normandy from Calais because the paratroopers had captured the bridges and railway lines etc. D-day was the largest invasion to be known as of yet and the Germans couldn’t retaliate against 3 countries including 176,000 allied soldiers, alone-not to mention the attacks from the East.
4. Study source F. How reliable is Stalin’s view of the importance of D-Day?
Source F may only say that one thing has been completed successfully and that is the landings on a ‘grandiose scale’. We can infer from the rest of what Stalin says that the beach landings are going quite successful as well, because he says that. I think this is a fairly trustworthy source in that Jopeph Stalin was the leader of USSR at that time. This is primary evidence and was sent only five days after the landings so the goings on was still perfectly clear in Stalin’s mind. Also the date is reliable because this could not have been said before D-Day as the things Stalin mentions hadn’t happened yet. Also he is speaking in the present tense so it is obvious that what he is talking about is currently going on. There are several things that it does not say in the text, perhaps because Stalin does not know this, or perhaps he is holding back. He does not tell us anything about what the opposition is doing or what the planes and ships providing covering fire are doing, which could be very useful information. The bottom part of the text in bold allows us to infer several things.
It tells us he is speaking personally via telegram to Churchill, from this we can infer that as he is writing in the form of a telegram he may not want to mention a few things. He obviously will not criticise Churchill’s operation, as they are allies. Russia needed Britain, USA and Canada to relive pressure from the east and for Stalin to be congratulating Churchill on the success of it must mean that D-Day had relieved pressure and so Stalin’s telegram is of some great significance and importance. At face value it is impossible to judge the importance of the D-Day landings from just studying Source F alone. Inconclusively, by making careful inferences we can think that it was obviously a great success, for Stalin to send a telegram to Churchill congratulating him and saying ‘history will record this deed as an achievement of the highest order’.
It is very difficult to analyse any resistance from the Germans from this source and whether USSR had any part in D-Day or whether D-Day was purely to do with anything else like the fighting in Italy. I know, however, that there was from my own knowledge but this source doesn’t imply anything of the kind-5 days into the D-Day landings and Stalin is congratulating him already, before they have really begun. So in that sense, Stalin’s view isn’t that reliable in the importance of D-day. On the other hand, Stalin wrote it so it has to be reliable-it is first hand evidence. He was there to witness the goings on at the time – you can’t get much closer to it than that and he shows his support to Churchill.
Although Russia signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact with Germany, it was under a mutual understanding and this didn’t make them Allies, it merely kept the peace for a little while. So there would be no reason for this source not to be unreliable as they were Allies. Stalin also proves from the Pact that he wasn’t at all with Germany because he says the ‘hysterical Hitler boasted for two years that he would invade England across the channel but could not even make up his mind even to attempt carrying out the threat’. This means one of a few things. Firstly, Stalin stitched up Hitler to Churchill about Hitler’s ‘threat’ to invade England. Secondly, he criticises him, calling him ‘hysterical’. This clearly states he was never a German ally, he just used the Nazi-Soviet Pact as much as Hitler did. Stalin was Allies with Churchill and Churchill was the prominent figure who arranged D-Day. Therefore, his evidence has to be somewhat reliable and relevant to the importance of D-Day.
5. Study sources G and H. Which of these sources is more useful as evidence in assessing the significance of D-Day?
On the one hand, Source H is obviously written by one of the allies rather than Germany, as it does not say as such. I know this because the way in which Geoffrey Elliot refers to the event is on a positive note. If a German wrote it, I would expect it to be somewhat negative as a pose to praising the significance of D-Day. Additionally, another factor as to why source H is useful to the significance of D-Day is that it recognises the obstacles the Allies faced.
This is because most sources that are written by a member of the Allies’ country normally exclude the difficulties they faced and just note how greatly they succeeded. Members of the Axis countries usually criticise D-Day and find faults on every account in its events. Therefore, this source, in that sense, is exceedingly reliable as it looks at both perspectives. From my own knowledge, this is to some extent unusual. It states ‘that a change in weather could have destroyed’. Meaning that the weather made it harder for the allies to get on the beaches and off load their equipment. Despite this, they did it even though they were forced to cancel out the Mulberry Harbour at Omaha beach due to the weather.
On the other hand, source G was written by a historian and it is obvious that he is bound to know the significance of D-Day thoroughly. The writing in bold at the bottom reads that Taylor has studied English history from 1914-1945. This means that he has studied both of the wars (First World War and the Second World War) and knows all knowledge he can on the subject. He would be able to see how significant D-Day was out of the Second World War in greater detail even if it secondary evidence rather than primary. Furthermore, Source G is less biased on the count that it involves the aid of Russia and America.
This is great considering other evidence written by British historians, that I have studied seems to out-rule the Russian help and sometimes fails to mention about the Canadians and Americans. Conjointly, this source looks at the events leading up to D-Day and not just D-Day itself. For example, it says that ‘Dunkirk was the period when Britain stood alone’. This signifies one of two things. Firstly, Taylor is not just looking at the successes, as being alone isn’t much of a success. Secondly, Dunkirk isn’t part of D-Day. This can be seen as a good or a bad thing. Bad, because he isn’t focusing himself on D-Day and this is what is required for me in order to assess the usefulness of this source to the significance of D-Day.
Good, because he is analysing other factors into the vents leading up to Normandy and other factors that helped the invasion succeed. Source G also gives more precise key names and dates throughout the text. This relevant because this shows the historian knows what he is writing about. To add to this, I know for a fact that it is written by a British person because it says so at the bottom in bold. However, this is can mean that the historian is more inclined to be biased but being a British historian, it is expected. Taylor doesn’t look at D-Day from a German prospective, given that it was published 20 years after the war. Instead, it sees D-Day as a ‘final victory’. They may be his opinion, but it was nearly a year after D-Day that the Germans surrendered so it wasn’t exactly a final victory.
To analyse exactly what source is more useful than the other to the significance of D-Day I must study their flaws. Source H appears to be more of an overview than anything else. This is satisfactory if it’s just for the 50th anniversary but compared with source G, with a lot more detail than itself, it is not good. This brings me on to the fact that it is a commemorative article produced for a magazine on the 50th anniversary. An editor who briefly researched the events of D-day produced this article and probably doesn’t particularly focus on this subject matter. This is my interpretation of what I thought after reading the text. But as a pose to source G, which is written by a historian whose job and interest is to research the wars thoroughly, it doesn’t compare. Therefore, in my opinion, I personally feel that Source G is more useful to the significance of D-Day and the evidence above backs up my theory as a whole.
6. Why do you think sources I and J disagree about the defeat of Germany and the end of World War Two?
When one looks at sources I and J, we can see they are very different when juxtaposed with all the other sources and different compared with themselves. The only point at where they have something in common is that both sources are secondary evidence.
Source I is written by Yves Leccouturier who is from Normandy. I know this because it says so in bold at the bottom of the source. The fact that he is from Normandy is a great factor to his perspective of the attack itself. He isn’t going to be bitter about the landings as the allies came to liberate France, not invade it. Therefore, he is, of course, going to be grateful towards the Allies for pushing the Germans out of France. There is additional evidence that backs up my theory behind this. He describes it as the ‘liberation of Europe and in the outcome of the Second World War’. This clearly indicates just how grateful he is and that the rest of Europe should be grateful, too as the Allies savoured them and without them, V E Day wouldn’t have been achieved (Victory in Europe-of, which I believe Leccouturier is referring to).
Leccouturier also believes that as a result of the landings at Normandy, the war ended (illustrates this in the quote). Both of these examples, would be key factors as to why the source was written in this manner. Another quotation in the text to back up my theory is when Leccouturier says ‘Everyone welcomed the liberator with limitless enthusiasm’. Leccouturier is also a French Historian.
This helps to establish his reasons behind the source because he would know a great deal about the landings from living there and also from being a historian. He would have surely researched a great deal into the subject matter. To add to this, he is writing this source for a guidebook of the Normandy beaches for tourists. In essence, the type of tourists that are likely to visit this area of France would essentially be French, British, American and Canadian. These are the countries that were on the same side as each other and so it would be me probable for them to visit Normandy as a pose to a German citizen. Therefore, it is logical for this source to be biased, in that approach and this is another instance as to why the source is written in this form.
Source J has an immensely different view on the topic. Source J is written by a Soviet historian some years after (1968) and feels very differently juxtaposed with Source I. Source J, from studying the text, appears to be bitter about the Allied troops receiving all the credit for the result and the war ending as a result of that. Source J basically writes it in this way because they don’t feel recognised enough by western Allies for their efforts in the war. The Russians were the ones who requested back up from Britain and Churchill took up the request along with America and Canada. Therefore, I can see why credit goes to the Western Allies as they were the ‘saviours’ but it was Russia who was fighting of German in the East in the first place. The Soviets feel ‘forgotten’ it seems, from the way the source appears, that Russians just want some sort of recognition for their efforts in the outcome.
In conclusion, all of the evidence above makes it clear to why the sources disagree to the defeat of Germany and the end of the Second World War. This is because the Soviet historian wring this text feels that USSR played a key part up to, on and after D-Day and that they haven’t received a sign of gratefulness or not enough of it from the western Allies they helped. Juxtaposed with source I, who boasts about how joyous the Norman’s were when the Allies landed and how the Norman’s ‘welcomed the liberators with limitless enthusiasm.
And ‘liberators’ being the word. It doesn’t mention a word about USSR and their efforts and this source is just another example as to why source I disagrees with the defeat of Germany and the end of the Second World War. Being from Normandy and writing for a Norman guide book, it isn’t likely that he is going to mention the USSR as they didn’t land here, they didn’t capture the beaches, Caen, Cherbourg or Paris, they weren’t anything to do with the Battle of Normandy itself. They were involved with the fighting in the east while the liberators fought in the west. France praised the Western Allies and the Soviets got jealous. All these reasons conclude, in my opinion, to why the sources disagree about the defeat of Germany and the outcome of the Second World War.
7. How far have the sources in this paper convinced you that D-Day and the Normandy invasion was the most significant factor in the defeat of Germany in World War Two? Use all the sources and your wider knowledge
There are numerous sources that reflect that Normandy was the most significant factor in the defeat of Germany in World War Two and sources A, B, C, F, G, H and I are included. On the one hand, Normandy was by far, the largest and most amphibious invasion that has ever been planned, let alone to have succeeded. Source A depicts how much of a large-scale invasion it was because you can see a tremendous amount of troops came in from the English Channel to Normandy at the five beaches. Source B, written for the Telegraph newspaper for 50th anniversary edition, classifies it as ‘the turning point in the Second World War’ and the ‘greatest amphibious operation the world has ever seen’. This is the second source to illustrate how much of significant factor the Normandy landings played to the defeat of Germany and the Second World War. Source C, written by a British historian, delivers another quotation to put to my evidence by writing ‘the Germans were driven back’.
This directly explains that the landings at Normandy advanced to this. I also have primary evidence from Stalin, the leader of Russia. Stalin says, from his first hand knowledge that the landings have ‘succeeded completely’. What the Western Allies wanted to do was liberate France, force the Germans out of France and relieve pressure from Russia. Obviously, for Stalin to send this message in a telegram to Churchill after just five days, it must have been working. Source G, written by a British historian, explains that combined with the Russians, British and American armies ‘brought final victory’. Thus meaning that D-Day achieved its targets of relieving pressure on Russia, liberating France and more importantly, defeating Germany bringing Victory in Europe (V E Day).
Another commemorative magazine on the 50th anniversary, source H, though it is a small article, provides a lot of evidence. To begin with, it refers to the D-Day and the Normandy invasion was ‘a military feat’. This infers that D-Day and the Normandy invasion was an achievement for the Allies. This source also says that D-Day and the Normandy invasions were a ‘plan to smash German power in Europe’. I can say from this that not only was it a plan; it was a plan put into action. Finally, source I, written by a French historian from Normandy wring tourist guidebook, says how the French coastline is marked forever by the ‘first steps towards the liberation of Europe’. By this remark, I assume he is referring to V E Day (Victory in Europe Day). In which case, this source directly shows that D-day and the invasion of Normandy was significant into the defeat of Germany.
On the other hand, whilst D-Day and the Normandy invasion is obviously a prominent factor to the defeat of Germany, there are other factors, too. Source A shows how many troops came via the Channel but it also shows how Allied troops came from Italy, all along the German border of Russia and from the Mediterranean and into France. This demonstrates that Germany wasn’t just being attacked from Normandy.
Source D depicts a cartoon of Hitler ordering troops to invade USSR but instead, they turn into graves. This cartoon clearly states that there was fighting on the eastern front with Russia and that Germany wasn’t benefiting from it and aren’t just suffering defeats in the West. Source E backs that up as it demonstrates Stalin rolling Germans back using a rolling pin and in the stew pots behind him are defeats Germany had already suffered from USSR. It is ironic that the cartoon is named ‘The Chefs Speciality’ as this means the Russian speciality is to roll Germans back and defeat them.
Source G has two sides to it. It does say that the Normandy invasions and D-Day ‘brought final victory’ but it also says that ‘D-Day couldn’t have been launched until German U-boats have been mastered in the summer of 1943’. The reason for this is because the Navy wanted absolute air and sea superiority before they proceed with the invasion. This led to an attack on the Atlantic Ocean named Battle of the Atlantic. Therefore, without the Battle of the Atlantic, D-Day and the Normandy invasion couldn’t take place. Source J expresses how it wasn’t just down to D-Day and the Normandy invasions that Germany was defeated.
Source J, written by a Soviet, believes the Soviets played a role ‘in defeating the Nazi aggressor but has not been fully recognised by the Western Allies’. It continues to add that ‘it was the Soviet people who held back the Nazis in Europe for over two years’ while the Western Allies deliberated and prepared for their invasion. I gather from this text that point this source is trying to get across is that without the Soviet’s aid, Hitler would of put into action his plans of invading Britain (as said by Stalin, Source F). Britain would have been unprepared and the invasion of Normandy and D-Day wouldn’t have taken place at all.
There are factors not included in any of the sources that without their aid, D-Day and the Normandy invasion wouldn’t have been as significant as it was. The Battle of Britain is one of them. Germany was bombing RAF bases in Britain every night for 53 nights before bombing cities. This was a fatal mistake. It gave the RAF time to regroup, repair airfields and train new pilots. Therefore, Germany lost along with a few other reasons. But if Germany had won, Germany would have gained supremacy in the air and Germany would have invaded Britain and probably lost the war as a whole.
Dunkirk was a key element in boosting the British moral and saving 50,000 troops from the coast of France. This is a great feat because if the British public didn’t rescue them then the British troops would have been stuck at Dunkirk and captured by the Germans. They were saved and this meant that Britain still had its troops and could progress onwards. The loss of 50,000 men would have had an effect on their efforts with D-Day and the invasion of Normandy.
The fighting on the Italian front and North Africa played an important role into the significance D-Day and the invasion of Normandy had to the defeat of Germany. This is for the same reasons as the fighting on the eastern front with Russia and the Germans in that if the British had lost this, Germans would have been able to progress onwards through France and would have possibly been more ready for the invasion of Normandy and D-Day.
To add to this, Germany was failing anyway, mainly as a result of all these defeats above. Germany had fewer troops and wasn’t as well prepared as the Allies. The Allies had paratroopers fly in to capture main railway lines and bridges to prevent Germans from bringing in reinforcements. There were also preparations in Britain. Britain had inflatable military equipment, code signals were sent to the French resistance, petrol pumps for military vehicles in Normandy were disguised as ice-cream parlours and they dropped ‘Rupert’ dolls which were counterfeit paratroopers that fired gun shot sounds when they landed.
Furthermore, Britain sent a van around Scotland sending out more false alerts of an invasion from Scotland and they bombed Calias 3-4 times more than Normandy so the Germans would think an attack would be in Calias. They also invented special tanks to overcome German obstacles, they used reflective stripes to confuse German radar systems and they code-named the beaches so the Germans didn’t know where they were going to attack.
This is a drastic amount of preparations to undergo but these kinds of preparations meant that Germany didn’t, in theory, stand a chance of winning. I don’t think Churchill would have organised such a large-scale invasion, involving 4 main countries if he wasn’t assured of a beneficial outcome. I think most of the significance of D-Day and the invasion of Normandy was, on the whole, down to exceedingly good planning and a lot of luck. However, the sources, overall, in this paper and from my own knowledge, have convinced me that D-Day and the invasion of Normandy are the most significant factors to the defeat of Germany in the Second World War. The Invasion of Normandy led to a lot of things. For instance the capture of Cherbourg, Caen and Paris.
The Falaise Gap was a great achievement as it captured 50,000 German troops and from then the Allies progressed fast to the French-German border where the Battle of the Bulge took place. The Allies won this two and then it was just a race with Russia to get to Berlin. Of course there were set backs, like the weather, the struggle at Caen and the capture of Omaha beach, but that’s expected in a large-scale invasion as this. But on the whole, there were a lot of achievements and the invasion accomplished their targets and the invasion was a success. Germany surrendered on the 5th May 1945 and there was victory in Europe at last. Without all the other factors that led up to D-Day and the luck involved, Normandy wouldn’t have either taken place, succeeded or succeeded as well as it did.