The D-Day landings were the biggest seaborne invasion ever seen. They not only helped to liberate Europe from the Nazis but were instrumental in changing the world order
On June 6th 1944 Allied troops staged the largest seaborne invasion the world has ever seen. D-Day helped liberate Europe from the Nazis but it was also pivotal in creating a new world order.
This was dominated at first by two superpowers and ultimately by America and her allies But this liberal Western order is now under threat. In 1941 after two years of fighting German armies were still advancing. Having taken Paris in 1940 they invaded Russia and were pushing back the British in North Africa. Later in the Pacific the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour and took Singapore from the British. The world was at war, and the Allies were losing.
But from the middle of 1942 the tables started to turn with wins by the Americans in the Pacific the British in North Africa and the Russians on the eastern front. After a prolonged siege at Stalingrad the Russians cut off and crushed the Germans in February 1943.
Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union’s ruler had long urged the other Allied leaders Winston Churchill and Roosevelt to open up another front against the Nazis in the west, But it wasn’t until November 1943 that they met for the first time and laid plans to invade German-occupied France. The Germans knew the invasion would come they just didn’t know precisely when or where it would take place.
The Allies deceived the Germans into thinking they were going to attack Calais the closest point to England. They created dummy armies in south-east England and disseminated false information to German intelligence. But they surprised the Germans by invading Normandy instead.
On June 6th 1944 over 150,000 American, Canadian, French and British troops landed on beaches codenamed: UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO and SWORD. German forces were spread too thinly along the western coast of Europe and could not contain the Allies. Paris was liberated by August and the Allies pressed into Belgium and Holland and eventually into Germany itself.
As the Russians closed in on Berlin from the East Hitler killed himself and Germany surrendered in May 1945 less than a year after D-Day. After the war Germany and Europe remained divided by the Iron Curtain. Soviet Union controlled the east and America and her allies the west 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO was created to protect western Europe from the growing Soviet threat.
With the backing of America the precursor of the European Union was formed in 1951.
For around 70 years NATO and the EU have formed the pillars of Western security supporting America as the dominant global force the comradeship on display at anniversary celebrations for D-Day.
NATO is fraying. It’s obsolete and a lot of countries aren’t paying us what they should be paying. President Donald Trump has suggested that America may withdraw from NATO altogether. He’s also been critical of the European Union has supported Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
The Western order is also being challenged by an aggressive Russia and the rise of China.
This should be a time for the old Allies to stand together. Instead 75 years after fighting and dying together on the beaches of Normandy they’re becoming more divided